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Illinois Farmer Designs New Breed Of Cattle
Illinois dairy farmer Karl McPeek has spent the last two years developing what he thinks is a fantastic new breed of cattle - "a healthy, robust, disease-resistant, lean meat animal that's got all the best traits of the most exotic cattle in the world."
McPeek, who milks a herd of registered red and white Holsteins near Stockton, M., says he's always been fascinated by animal genetics. "I got the idea for a new breed five or six years ago when I read that the largest steer on record is a Brahma-Swiss cross. I thought I could take those size characte is-tics and combine them with other breeds to make a lean, low-maintenance animal with improved milking ability and the ability to do well on marginal feeds. Weacomplished all that and more. Our new American Royal breed is totally different in size, color and general appearance from any other animal in the world," says McPeek.
He started with a Brown Swiss dairy cow, selected for its milking ability, size, personality, hardiness and mothering ability. It was bred to a white Chianina bull chosen for it's size, hardiness, color, and lean meat potential. The female from this cross was bred to a Gyr bull from Brazil which is actually a 5/8 Brahma and 3/8 Zebu cross. The Brahma breed was chosen for it's browsing ability, color, size, personality, disease resistance, fertility, and calving ease. The Zebu are known for their good browsing ability, disease resistance, hardiness, lean meat potential, fertility, and claying ability.
The calf that resulted from the second cross is what McPeek calls his new American Royal breed. "We've had some real surprises since our first bull and heifer calves were born in October, 1987. At five days the heifer weighed 127 lbs. and the bull 126 lbs. Despite their size, calving was extremely easy because of the narrow wedge-shaped head they inherited from the Brahma and Zebu. The rapid growth of these animals has been amazing. We were also pleased to discover that both calves are polled as well. Probably our biggest surprise has been the almost child-like personality of the calves. Almost at birth they were playful, friendly and very curious. This had been a real concern for us because some of the parent animals were very wild," says McPeek. The color of the calves is a cream reddish brown with occasional pinto patches.
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Karl McPeek, 11488 E. Willow, Stockton, Ill. 61085 (ph 815 947-3728).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #2