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Miniature"Panda" Cattle Bring Top Prices

Buyers pay top dollar for a new breed of miniature cattle that have a panda bear's white stripe, says breeder Professor Emeritus Richard Gradwohl who crossed seven other mini breeds over a 35-year period to produce "Rebel," his first "Panda«" miniature bull in 1998. Two years later, "Precious," the first Panda female, was born.
  They have a black body with white "belt", black legs, ears and eyespots with a white face. Red and white Panda Miniature cattle are even more rare. Some of the black stock carry the recessive red gene, and when bred to each other, red Pandas occasionally result.
  There are currently 33 head of belted, registered Panda Miniatures in the U.S.
  To qualify as full miniatures, they must be less than 42 in. at three years of age. Panda calves are generally 20 to 35 lbs. at birth.
  Most non-belted bulls are culled or sold as pet mini steers but non-belted females are registered within the Panda breed as "potential belted progeny," and used as breeding stock because they have a 50 percent chance of possessing the gene for producing belted offspring when bred to a belted bull.
  "Conformation, height and markings are the ingredients that go into pricing," Gradwohl says. "Belted Panda females (black) sell for $15,000 to $20,000 and belted males (black) are valued at $12,000 to $15,000. Non-belted females are less expensive at $8,000 to $12,000 each. We've had two belted red bulls born, which sold for $25,000 and $30,000, respectively. There's only one red Panda heifer in the world so far. I was offered $35,000 for her, but I declined as I elected to keep her."
  Gradwohl has only four Pandas on his 5-acre operation. The rest are sold in a "custom marketing program" which requires buyers to become "contract breeders," signing an after-sale marketing agreement that states that the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry maintains control of any and all breeding decisions and gets a portion of revenue at sale time.
  "For example, the price of a breeding pair would be sold at an agreed discount from the published list prices. When the breeding pair has a progeny, we market that progeny when it is weaned at four months of age. Whatever the selling price for the progeny is, it is shared between the owner of the breeding pair and the registry, using a previously agreed-to formula," Gradwohl says.
  The arrangement also requires that the registry furnish Panda Miniature semen at no charge, provide a free consulting service and carries out and pays for all marketing when selling the animals. Right now, there is a waiting list of several people wanting to purchase Panda Miniature Cattle, he says.
  Gradwohl is the founding director of the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry - an organization that handles the registration of 24 different breeds of mini cattle. It currently has over 7,000 animals on the books. Gradwohl works together with various individual breed registry chairpersons to establish standards for each.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Professor Emeritus Richard Gradwohl, Happy Mountain Farm, 25204 156th Avenue SE, Covington, Wash. 98042 (ph 253 631-1911; email: info@minicattle.com; website: www.pandaminicattle.com).

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2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4