Beef and dairy cattle are showing up in the same livestock

The number of dairy-beef cattle on the market is growing. It is something researchers at Oklahoma State University Extension are watching closely, and they say 100 percent dairy steers are not holding a lot of value.

“A 100 percent dairy steer is very low in value, so the dairies have treated those like they’re a byproduct or just a kind of a waste. There has been a change in some reproductive technologies that our dairies are taking advantage of where they can use sex semen to produce heifer calves out of only their best cows to make their replacements. Then they’re opened up to the freedom of using a beef-type bull on their other mediocre cows because they need a pregnancy just to restart lactation.”

Beck says beef-dairy crosses are grabbing the attention of livestock producers, and the industry is taking interest.

“That has given us a large availability of some beef-dairy crosses that are very superior to a 100 percent dairy animal and in beef production, performance, efficiency, and they’re keeping a lot of the high-quality meat characteristics that we would see with a dairy calf. So, the industry is very interested in the right management of these cattle and how to best utilize those in beef production systems.”

Beck says he and his team will continue research on those crosses and the best way to utilize them.

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