Over the past few years I put the following list of thirty-three things to look for in the selection process .
Things to look for when assessing cattle – Steve Campbell
(Everything else being equal…the following guides hold pretty true)
1. Straight line from the chest, through the belly and back to the hocks. (<i>Most cattle today have a rise in the chest behind the front legs</i>) More meat, very adaptable, better glandular function.
2. Hide should be very loose when shaken at the 13 rib. (<i>Lots of neck folds extending back into the rib cage area is the visual of this.) Tend beef and high butterfat!
3. Small in diameter, short in length cannon bones. (With a very slow taper out to just the width of the ankle. ) This signifies tender meat.
4. Small, round ears are often a correlation to fine bones and tenderness, but larger ears are a structural adaptation to warmer climates.
5. A “Pointed Poll” on a polled animal will be the size of a golf ball. On horned cattle this will be a very narrow ridge between the horns…like a Jersey. Tender beef, more butterfat.
6. Big nostrils and a wide mouth. (A wide mouth signifies ability to “get a mouth full of grass” and is an indicator of how wide the pin bones are…calving ease or difficulty.)
7. Uniform hair coat. (Up North, it can be longer. Down South it will need to be short and shinny.) Good glandular function and well mineralized.
8. Adrenal hair whorl in the shoulder blade area or further forward? The farther forward is an indicator of more butter-fat and intramuscular fat. ( Hairs standing up in the adrenal indicate a female is cycling. Within two months of getting pregnant, these hairs will all lay down.)
9. A “dip” in the middle of the rib bone itself indicates very tender meat in a young animal.
10. A dip in the lower jaw bone, just behind the front teeth indicates tender meat (and CLMS out of Australia use this as an indicator of whether the cow possesses A2 milk.)
11. We don’t want the chine or grow bones along the top line protruding above the spine at the shoulders or hips. Desirable is smooth even muscling covering the entire spine. Signifies poor nutrition somewhere along the way...usually in the womb.
12. A “clean” hock. (No connective tissue in front of the tendon that runs from the hock up into the bottom of the round.)
13. No hair sticking up along the top of the neck or down the backbone. Lack of minerals and glandular function.
14. Choose the animals with fewer flies compared to their herd mates. (A natural immunity to external parasites…healthy sebaceous fluid<.)
15. A “broom” tailed cow is more tender meat and a more fertile cow.
16. Extra teats on the back of the udder equate with more butterfat.
17. A bald udder is the gold standard for more butterfat.
18. The day a calf is born, the size and shape of her Escutcheon will tell you if she will be a good milker. (The Milch Cow by Guenon) Extra teats with a palm sized bald patch indicate more butterfat. Adrenal hair whorl in the shoulder area r further forward is more butterfat and tender meat.
19. Four things make up the heart girth of the animal: 1) Depth, 2) width of shoulders, 3) how full the loin area is behind the shoulder blade, 4) whether the front knee comes out of a mass of muscle. 1" minus = 37 pounds less red meat and visa-verse.
20. Toes pointed out (front or rear) indicate the animal is too narrow on that end to be functionally efficient.
21. A high tail process equals more calving problems.
22. A “peaked” rump when viewed from the back equals more calving difficulties.
23. A correct thurl will be indicated by two things: 1) a pronounced stifle muscle ( The earlier and larger the stifle muscle presents itself the greater the hormonal production.), 2) The hind hoof landing in the same spot the front hoof leaves when the animal is traveling normally.
24. “Thymus” whorl on lower neck needs to be larger for a fully function glandular system.
25. The pineal whorl in the face should be below the level of the eyes and you should not be able to see hide in the center of it. (A whorl that looks like a “gash” indicates lower fertility in both males and females.)
26. Dark, shinny, smooth hooves.
27. Darker hair on front half of bull = more testosterone production.
28. Coarse, Curly hair on poll of bull = more testosterone production.
29. Coarse hair on tail of bull.
30. No nipples on scrotal of bull, only up on the belly.
31. A bull or cow walks straight, does not swing their hind end around to move. The hind hoof should land where the front hoof just left the ground.
32. The earlier and larger the stifle muscle presents itself the greater the hormonal production.
33. Pituitary controls all of the inter-uterine development until the testicles or ovaries take over.