Let’s Talk Cows!

In my first infographic, All About Cows, I added just a few things that are important to know then highlighted what will be talked about in my other infographics. Cows are many raised for milk (dairy products) and beef. Farmers invest a lot of time, money, and resources into their cows. It is important to have prior knowledge on how to raise a cow before purchasing one, it is also important to know what you are going to do with the cows before receiving one. Some people say they want just one cow for milk. This isn’t the best idea. On a small scale, raising cows for milk could be very costly. Kenny Gesford, age 38 of Friendsville PA, is a dairy farmer. I asked Kenny, “About how many dairy cows are worth having to make a profit?”; Kenny replied with a rather lengthy answer to this difficult question; “the mass exodus of farms from the 80/90s until now is depressing and it’s because of no profit…small farms cannot compete with the big farms….some farms have found little niche markets to help in profit or diversified…some have tried selling cows/bulls for genetics, others have stone quarries/ or coal/oil/gas money to support…so not sure exactly how many is profitable, used to be 500 cows was a big farm, now that’s small….If I would have to really guess, you probably need to be over 500 cows.” Dairy cows begin producing milk at two years old, typically when they have their first baby; once the colostrum is passed onto the baby. Selling milk could be a difficult task due to certain rules and regulations made for dairy production. Small dairy farms are not profitable. ” Some states — 13 in total, including Maine, California and Pennsylvania — allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores, while 17 others allow for raw milk-producing farms to sell the product on their premises. Eight states allow the sale of raw milk only through “cowshare agreements,” where cow owners farmers are paid to board, feed and milk their cows.” (Schipani, 2019). It is illegal to sell raw, unpasteurized milk straight for the cow in 20 states.

There are 920 breeds of cows, but the best breed for your farm depends on where you live. Climate plays a large factor on whether or not cows will thrive. Economics in an area can also impact what breed of cow to own due to the cost of feed. When it comes to a cows well being, it is important to know of a large animal veterinarian that can care for cows when they become sick. Another thing about a cows wellbeing is that they need mineral supplements to stay healthy. They also need a steady supply of freshwater. Last but not least, the proper fencing and housing for cows is essential to keep them on the property.

Cows are members of the bovine family. Bovidae, the cattle family, is a widespread group of mammals. This includes goats, sheep, gazelles, antelopes, and goat- antelopes. Out of the 107 species recognized in the family, just 12 are wild cattle. (WebSolutions, 2021)

One of my favorite things about cows is that they are very social animals. Farmers learn what each cow needs by the sound of their moo. When a cow is hungry, hurt, or happy (along with what is on this infographic) it will make a certain noise to resemble what it feels. Cows are really chill animals. Even though they are huge and many humans can see them as scary, must cows are big babies. With that being said, one should not approach a cow without knowing it or knowing how to appropriately be around a cow. Just like a horse, you should not go behind a cow because it can kick you, which could potentially kill you are cause a lot of damage. You also should “egg” a cow on unless you are familiar on the cows behavior, cows will ram you. Sometimes they don’t mean to cause harm but they don’t understand their strength. For an example, I have a jersey cow at my parents house whom we have had since she was 3 months old. She is very friendly and loves to play around but she doesn’t realize that one wrong move around me, a 115 pound girl, could kill me. I used to go sit with her in the pasture but one day she tried to jump on me for fun and I had to think of a quick escape route so I didn’t end up with a concussion or worse. Ever since then I have learned to not kneel down by her because she is unaware of just how large she is.

Beef Farming! This is something I’m try to learn every aspect of since my significant other is a beef farmer. On our farm, we have black angus and will shortly have wagyu’s. Beef is categorized as “red meat”. Red meat is a term used for the meat from mammals. Red meat contains a higher amount of iron than chicken or fish. Beef is typically eaten and bought as roasts, ribs, steaks, ground, or minced. A hamburger is a patty of ground beef. When beef is proceeded into products things like corned beef, beef jerky, and sausages are made.

Beef is primarily protein and fat. Each breed has unique meat. Some are more rich in fat content than others. Alan-Michael Strohl, 22 of Friendsville, PA, is a Beef farmer. When I asked Alan-Michael what makes black angus beef different from other breeds he said, “The fat on a black angus cow’s beef is evenly dispersed, making the meat more tender and juicy”. Each cut of meat taste unique also. Lion is the most tender part of a cow, Brisket is the breast- this tends to be more tough, Shanks are the forearm of a cow- containing very little fat making them tough, Chuck is the shoulder/neck of the cow- since this is used by the cow quite often it tends to be tough yet very flavorful, round is usually used for ground beef, short plates are found under the ribs and are not lean at all, flank is a tough cut of beef, then last but not least- the ribs- if cooked right fall right off the bone. (LoubierGourmet, 2021)

I listed health benefits of beef but there is also dangers to eating beef. Although the results are mixed some say their is a link between red meat and heart disease. There’s studies that detect an increased risk for both processed and unprocessed red meat, a few of the studies showed an increased risk for processed meat only, while others provided no association at all. There are some theories that suggest a link between meat consumption and heart disease, but not all studies prove their is a link between the two. There is proof that high consumption of uncooked meat may increase the risk of several types of cancer. Some other downsides are that beef has been linked to a few adverse health conditions such as beef tapeworm, iron overload.

There is a difference between grain-fed and grass- fed beef. The nutritional values of beef depend on the feed source of the animal. Most of the cattle now a days are grain-fed. Grass-fed beef has the following: a higher antioxidant content, fat that tends to be more yellow in color- indicating higher amounts of carotenoid antioxidants, higher amounts of vitamin E — especially when pasture-raised, lower amounts of fat, a healthier fatty acid profile, higher amounts of ruminant trans fats — such as CLA, higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Put simply, grass-fed beef is a healthier choice than grain-fed. (Healthline, 2021)

Resources:

Healthline Media. (2021). Beef 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/beef

Web Solutions. (2021). Cattle Family (Bovidae). Retrieved from: https://science.jrank.org/pages/1283/Cattle-Family-Bovidae.html

Loubier Gourmet. (2021). What are the most flavorful cuts of beef?. Retrieved from: https://loubiergourmet.com/blogs/blogs/what-are-the-most-flavorful-cut-of-beef

Schipani, S. (June 19, 2021). 12 things to know about raising cows. Retrieved from: https://hellohomestead.com/12-things-to-know-about-raising-cows/

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