Why Black Angus?

This is a question that I often get both from other farmers and our organic beef customers. As it turns out, there are many reasons why we raise Black Angus cattle. So, in the dead of winter, I thought I would try and summarize my thoughts on why we have selected this breed for our farm.

Just like humans, in the cattle business, we owe much of our success to our mothers. Angus mother cows are no different. They excel in many areas. They are very maternal and protective of their young baby calves. This protective nature ensures that calves get the attention they need from the minute they are born. Angus cows have their calf very easily with a low birth weight that makes it easier on her and promotes a vigorous calf. As mothers, Angus cows can also be very independent preferring to take care of their calf on their own and thus making my job much easier. All I often have to do is get out of the way.

Angus calf

An alert two week old calf grazing on her own.

Once born, Angus calves are notoriously vigorous self-starters. Amazingly enough, they can be on their feet within minutes of birth searching for their mothers milk filled udder. I am still amazed by this every time I see it. It’s a testament to the many Angus breeders who came before us that carefully selected those individuals to carry the breed forward many generations ago.

Angus cattle excel in a grass and forage based operation like ours. As a British breed, Angus cattle are very efficient. They are masters at taking grass and forage and converting it into milk and muscle (beef). They do not need grain such as corn. We have been careful to select only animals that do this well for our herd.

From a consumer’s standpoint, Angus beef also has many characteristics that make it so popular. When the late Henry Gardiner and other Angus ranchers started the Certified Angus Beef brand, they were able to take advantage of the many characteristics of Angus cattle. Angus cattle have excellent marbling. Marbling is what gives beef its flavor. In addition, since Angus cattle are efficient and they are of moderate size. This means, that you get an appropriate sized steak and not one that looks like it came from something the rough dimensions of a dinosaur. Furthermore, because Angus calves grow quickly, they reach market size very quickly and the result is young tender beef that is excellent on your family’s table.

Angus beef cows

Angus cows happily grazing bales of clover and alfalfa outside in the winter.

All of these reasons above lead to the popularity of the breed with both ranchers and consumers and it’s why our pastures are a sea of black when the spring comes…soon hopefully!

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