Bestyet Blog

Learn about cattle husbandry, genetics, and more!

Cattle stockmanship for easier handling

Each of these points of stockmanship work together to develop a relationship of trust between our animals and us that make life on the farm that much more pleasant. As these skills are shared with us from experienced stockmen, we can pass them onto others and continue the fulfilling tradition of carefully tending livestock.

Reflections of a second-generation breeder

The cows chose me, you could say. I was born into the family legacy of heritage grazing cattle, and I’ve never known life without them. I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. I’m here to carry on the legacy from the past and bring it forward into the future.

Spring grazing management

Here are the cows in April a couple years ago, gleaning some new green growth in an large paddock that had winter stack manure applied. Spring at last We’ve been thankful for signs of spring at last, but it sure comes in fits and starts this year, doesn’t it? As I...

The bulls we like for heifer calving ease

Calving ease is a feature of our Milking Shorthorn and Dutch Belted bloodlines in general.   Their moderate size, medium-to-small bone, and favorable rump structure result in most of our females calving unassisted.  We do monitor them in case of malpresentation or...

It’s about hearing your stories

The other day a Wisconsin farmer called to place a semen order, and I couldn’t help remembering the first time he called, about 24 years ago, when one of my boys was just learning to write and tried to take the phone message since I was out.  Too shy to explain to the...

Fall grazing—saving the best for last

       As I write this, our cows are happily grazing a stand of frosted turnips, oats, and peas planted in August.  They have no interest in the wheat/red clover clippings we offer in the hay bunk at home—in fact they hardly need to come home to drink.  They have made...

Our cows come with their own hormones

This article I put together a few years ago seems even more applicable today. We gladly stay “behind the times” by breeding our cows on observed heats only and selecting for reproductive efficiency. From what I read in the current dairy magazines, treating cows with...

How does the polled trait work?

Meriville Outstanding-P, one of our polled Milking Shorthorn bulls I will explain here how the polled trait is inherited. I will then go into some technical detail with some diagrams for those who are interested in what is behind it. “Polled” means naturally hornless....

What about line breeding?

Meriville Penelope Anna, a Bass Player daughter whose dam was an Outlaw daughter, demonstrates the quality and consistency produced by years of careful line breeding. Line breeding is sometimes promoted as a good thing. On the other hand, you will also hear cautions...

Haymaking

Since our herd is entirely grass fed, forage quality is very important to us.   In May, June, and July when more grass grows than the cows can graze, we cut and bale the paddocks that are getting ahead for winter feed.  Ideally we like to cut before all the forage is...

Showing our milk cows

“Do you show your milk cows or milk your show cows?” These are perceptive words from a fellow dairy breeder. Those words come to mind often. Our guiding principle is simple. We select for trouble-free, practical cattle that perform well in a low-input, grass-based...