Why Irish Blacks?
This is the question that many have asked us over the years. The first is profitability. Without profit, no ranch is sustainable long-term. Where we’ve seen profitability is in the consistency and uniformity of our calves at weaning. Through backgrounding our own calves in our feedlot, we’ve been able to see first hand how our calves perform on a daily basis.
Profitability is the most essential component of every ranch. The following nine traits contributed to the profitability of Irish Black Cattle. Without profit, no ranch is sustainable long-term.
Prepotency is the ability of a sire to transmit his characteristics onto his offspring. A prepotent bull will pass on his genotype (genetic makeup in DNA) as well as his phenotype (outward physical appearance) onto his offspring with consistency and uniformity. His bull calves should look like him, gain like him, and hang a carcass like him. His heifer calves should also be consistent in their conformation, mothering ability, udder structure, and their disposition, and fleshing ability. Bull calves should look like bulls and heifer calves should look like females. This ability to “stamp” his calves is hard to come by in many of today’s bulls. This is primarily due to producers constantly breeding to an outcross bull to generate more hybrid vigor in the resulting calves. After several generations of “outcrossing”, the advantages of hybrid vigor are lost due to the ever expanding gene pool. Calves lose their consistency from birth weight all the way to carcass traits.
If you want prepotent bulls, you must buy bulls developed in a linebred closed herd manner resulting in a very tight limited gene pool. The Irish Black breed has been developed in this manner and in one generation, you will see uniformity and consistency return to your cattle.
3.) Eating Quality-
The end product of every cattle ranch is to provide nourishment for the consumer. The flavor and tenderness of Irish Black Beef is second to none. Our steaks rival those of 5-Star restaurants, in tenderness and flavor, and is consistently that way. No steak knives around here–butter knives cut our steaks!
The fertility of Irish Black Cattle is unsurpassed. The females reach puberty early. The bulls are noted for large scrotal circumference and high quality semen. It’s not uncommon for one 2-year old Irish Black Bull to be able to cover 70 cows.
Irish Black calves are noted for heavy weaning weights and they continue to perform all the way through the feedlot to slaughter. Feed conversion is where they excel; often converting feed at the rate of less than five pounds per pound of gain in the feed lot. Cows that convert feed this well cost less to maintain, increasing your bottom line.
6.) Carcass Quality-
Irish Black carcasses are known for high percent yield, excellent marbling, large ribeye area, low backfat and superior yield grade.
7.) Calving Ease-
Calving ease is a product of calf birth weight and maternal pelvic area. Irish Black calves are light birth weight (74 pound average in our herd). The cows have a large enough pelvic area that they deliver live calves without problems. As a result, the calves are vigorous at birth, on their feet early, and wanting to suckle.
8.) Environmental Adaptability-
Irish Blacks thrive in every environment from sea level to mountaintop, from North Carolina to California, from Mississippi to Canada, and from semi-arid climates of the southwest to the cold climates of the northern tier of the United States and Canada. The breed is resistant to high-altitude sickness, and won’t succumb to “brisket” disease when turned out on high-altitude rangeland.
9.) Udder Quality-
Irish Blacks have excellent udders with strong suspensory ligaments (no swing bags). With a level floor to the udder and accompanying small teat size, their udders are easily accessible to their newborn calf increasing the survivability of that calf.
Consistency in the Irish Blacks comes from the development of the breed in a linebred, closed herd fashion. By concentrating on economically important traits, the breed is the picture of consistency and uniformity. A uniform set of calves always brings more money at an auction, and Irish Blacks are noted for topping feeder calf sales.
Longevity in a cow herd is one of the most important economic traits. The first three calves produced by a cow are needed to offset her development costs from a heifer calf to a bred heifer. Thereafter, the more calves a cow produces provides more profit to your ranch. It is not uncommon to see a 15-year old purebred cow still going strong.
“I like the breed because the uniformity at weaning and sale time is outstanding. They grow in the feedlot very well without being pushed hard. The replacement heifer out of these bulls look amazing and most of them bred in the first cycle.” Jamie E. — South Dakota