2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6, Page #40[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Want A Family Milk Cow?
“Dexters are a naturally small breed of cattle, but they are not small on benefits. They provide quality milk in manageable quantities. Dexters may not feed the world, but they will easily feed your family.”
Dexters originated in Ireland as a small, thrifty “house” cow, and are still considered to be the hardiest of all the British cattle breeds. Although Dexter cattle were introduced in the U.S. in the early 1900’s they are still considered a rare heritage breed, according to the Livestock Conservancy. But the number of North American breeders continues to grow.
Producers appreciate the breed’s small size and mild temperament that makes them easy to handle. They require only about half the feed of standard size breeds, and will thrive on poor forage. Cows typically range from 38 to 42 in. tall and weigh about 750 lbs. Bulls are 38 to 44 in. tall and weigh about 1,000 lbs.
Dexters deliver family-sized quantities of milk. You can separate the mother and calf at night, milk in the morning, and let the calf take the rest during the day.
“It’s a beautiful milk, with a light, fresh quality to it and even better, much of the 4 percent butterfat stays homogenized in the milk, making it perfect for cheese-making. The 1 to 2-gal. of milk from one milking is a good daily quantity for most families.”
In addition, Dexter beef is known for its flavor, marbling, and tenderness. Christofk notes that Dexter beef recently won the grass-fed beef division at the 2019 American Royal Steak Competition in Kansas City, beating out Angus, Beefalo and even Wagyu.
Dexter cattle come in black, dun and red colors as well as horned or polled. Weaned steers and heifers typically sell for $500 to $1,200. Christofk recommends buying from a registered breeder.
You can find a list of breeders at the association’s website.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America, 500 Westover Dr., Suite 13489, Sanford, N.C. 27330 (ph 844 732-2669; www.dexterstoday.com; PDCANOW@gmail.com).
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