Bestyet Blog

Learn about cattle husbandry, genetics, and more!

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...

82 years of breeding

        We are family breeders of dual-purpose cattle dating back 82 years to 1936 when the parents of my late husband Kenneth married and started out with a small herd of Milking Shorthorns and a local butter and cream route that the children helped with as they...

Garfield Farm Rare Breeds Show

Hello! This is Martha. We love sharing our heritage cattle with others. Garfield Farm and Inn Museum in Campton Hills, IL provides just that opportunity at their annual Rare Breeds Show held at the end of May. We applaud the organization for their dedication to...

Milking Shorthorn or Dutch Belted—Which breed is best?

Why do we like both of these breeds? We often hear from farmers studying the different breeds available, and they ask us which breed we prefer.  We are partial to both Milking Shorthorns and Dutch Belted, and we do not prefer one over the other, for each have their...

Introducing the family at Bestyet

Bestyet is very much a family venture Winifred, Martha and Miriam are the main “cow people” on our farm.  Winifred is the one you’ll usually reach by phone or e-mail, having been involved in this breeding herd for 37 years.  Martha and Miriam take a lot of...