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Growing Really Big Horn
Every Texas Longhorn producer takes pride in big horn. Take a tape measure and look at it, you can see a lot of difference in 35" and 65". As we look at Texas Longhorn bulls, we have world champion bulls with less than 37" tip to tip and to the opposite, we have bulls in the mid 70" range. Obviously the progeny of these bulls are going to consistently measure an equally different horn growth. There are genetic laws that say, "You can't breed a Thoroughbred stallion to a Shetland Pony and produce a Kentucky Derby winner".
Do you plan to raise Texas Longhorns with the really big horn? If big horn is your goal, replace the genetics of smaller horned animals. To be homozygous a sire must be so strong in virtue that nearly every animal sired will have his strong characteristics. Hardly anyone will admit it, but there are still thousands of Texas Longhorn bulls with under 40" horn tip to tip at maturity. Of up to 100,000 Texas Longhorn bulls that have been bred, or registered over the last 30 years, there are only a few that have horns measuring over 70" tip to tip. Therefore, anyone who wants to raise really big horned animals and avoids using the big horned sires extensively in their breeding herd is not really serious.
Some people who use small horn bulls apply the "cop out" excuse, "I am raising traditional cattle." (Many of the old traditional cattle had horns in the 20" and 30" horn range.) Because that was traditional for thousands of Longhorn bulls, who sired thousands of Longhorn cattle, doesn't mean that it will pay the bills in today's market place. Once people can afford to own a 50" or 70" horn cow, it somehow takes all the fun out of 35" horned cows. More and more people are seeing the difference.
All we are talking about is raising really big horn. Granted, there are a number of other very important factors which involve disposition, conformation, gainability, color, size, etc. We are not going to discuss these valuable qualities in this article. It is a fact, the really high selling cattle in this breed have historically had huge horn. Many have had beautiful color and excellent conformation. The magical touch is to identify how to get all three in one animal and lots of it.
Some famous bulls in the Longhorn breed have big horn but also possess a lot of white color, small bodies or even poor dispositions. All of these are a trade off. The prudent producer has to determine where to drop the guard in order to gain a certain degree of quality virtues.
There are approximately 3,000 active Longhorn producers in North America. If we only identify a few over 70" horned bulls, it is obvious all 3,000 people are not getting to use a 70" bull natural service. That means the answer to this whole problem is the tool of artificial insemination. This is the only way to divide a bull into pieces so he can be shared by hundreds of different people in hundreds of different locations. All truly serious Longhorn producers will artificially inseminate in a small or large way.
A Longhorn's measurement of horn tip to tip, is no doubt the most conclusive thing to consider when attempting to produce larger horn. The next prudent step is to research the ancestry to identify if the pedigree is stacked full of really huge horned animals, which would indicate a stronger horn producing capability.
Short pedigrees vs. long pedigrees. What is the difference? A short pedigree is one with minimum depth documentation. For instance the bull Classic, had a registered sire and dam. He has no known registered grandparents in his pedigree any further back. That is what we would refer to as a short pedigree. He may or may not have had big horned ancestors, we don't know. To the opposite, a long pedigree could extend five or more generations and document tremendous horn growth on every animal in the pedigree. A long pedigree could also document short horn growth where numerous cattle possess under 40" or even under 30" horn. A long pedigree of small horned animals could be so homozygous that it would take several generations of breeding mammoth horn to ever get out of the rut. Long pedigrees help a student of genetics calculate consistency. To a business minded producer, consistency is everything.
The Texas Longhorn breed is a very inconsistent breed. Numerous animals are full brothers and sisters and have minimal similarities. As pedigrees get longer, for instance the WR herd, there will be a consistent body trait in every animal. As one evaluates the Wichita Refuge cattle that have been linebred into their own genetics for over 80 years, nearly every animal has strong similarities. Every animal is similar in body type, bone, weight, horn growth, horn shape, disposition and every trait that can be calculated. This is a result of long pedigrees of line bred individuals. This creates tremendous consistency. This line breeding will continue to make every generation consistent as long as these bloodlines are continually mated. Consistency is wonderful, but only if it produces wonderful genetics consistently.
If the really big horn is desired, DCCI offers numerous sires, over 70", available in frozen semen. Many people do not own REALLY, REALLY big horn cattle because they are so expensive to purchase and there aren't enough to go around. However they are not difficult to raise if you use frozen semen from DCCI. Most proven superior horned sires offered by DCCI are priced from $20 to $35 per straw.
The really, really big horned cattle are not expensive to produce when using frozen semen. But, the really, really big horned cattle are very expensive when you try to buy them. Our advice is to buy really big horned bull semen at a low price and sell really big horned cattle that you raise at a high price. Longhorn owners with the really big horns know that they are fun and easy to sell for good prices. Check the ranch site at www.dickinsonlonghorn.net and go to semen sires. Click on the data and there, you have it. For semen orders call 740 758 5050.
Registered Texas Longhorns since 1967
DCCI~~~ Purveyor of “one owner” quality Cattle.
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