Why are Jersey steers not good for meat?

bubba1358

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I don't understand it, but i hear it often. Can anyone explain why? Thanks
 

WildRoseBeef

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bubba1358 said:
I don't understand it, but i hear it often. Can anyone explain why? Thanks
Actually I think you hear it wrong. Jersey steers are most definitely good for meat--several on here can attest to that--its just that they aren't like your classical beef steers for two reasons:

1) Genetics: Because Jerseys are a dairy breed, they are naturally thin and genetically selected to produce milk, not meat. This doesn't mean that they will have muscle mass, it just means they don't have nearly as much muscle mass as other beef breeds like Angus or Simmental.

2) Poor feeding efficiency: feed is to be converted to milk, not meat. They usually don't perform well on high-forage diets (there are exceptions, though), and, as mentioned above, genetics determines where the nutrients they take in actually go. When you want to raise a Jersey for meat, in most cases you better be prepared to grain them like crazy (including forage in the ration you have made for them) in order to get a good finish, high marbling and tender, tasty beef.

This leads to the third issue: Cost. Grain isn't exactly inexpensive feed. When you have to feed a lot of grain a day to get the kind of meat you want from a dairy breed, you will have to be prepared to pay a lot for such feed. By comparison, it costs more (and takes longer) to finish an 18 month old Jersey steer than it does to finish an Angus or Simmental-cross steer if you're wanting to slaughter them at the same time.


Hope that answers your question somewhat. I'm sure others will chime in to add their own answers to your question. :)
 

BHOBCFarms

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They are a diary breed, which means that they are bred for milk production, so they have a boney frame, capable of supporting a large udder and bearing calves, but a metabolism/type that puts feed energy/food stores into milk production, not large muscle production. They just don't grow as fast, put on as much muscle, and have poorer marbling than most beef breeds. A dairy-angus or dairy breed-meat breed cross can produce a decent steer with a better carcass than a pure dairy steer.
 

farmerjan

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I was perusing some of the older threads that show up and found this and HAD to post a rebuttal to BHOBCFarms. You are wrong about the marbling of a jersey. They are actually the second best marbling breed after the Wagyu and that has been proven time and again in most studies. In fact the ratings are #1 Wagyu, #2 Jersey, #3 Guernsey, #4 Angus; and then there are several other beef breeds that follow right along. They do marble very good. The fact is that most people who raise them do not let them get to the maturity that is required to get the meat to marble. The Wagyu is a japanese breed that is RENOWN for it's marbling. The are the foundation of the "KOBE" beef that costs a small fotune and only allowed to be raised in that area of Japan. There are alot of them in Austrailia, and the meat is more "marbling" than meat practically.
An animal has to reach a certain point of maturity in order for the meat to marble. Most Wagyu are 35-40 MONTHS old at slaughter.
I raise several jersey steers for beef every year. I do 99% grassfed animals, with the occasional buyer wanting one that is grain finished. Don't do as many as I used to since I get tired of dealing with the public that wants one then changes their mind or expect all steaks or something dumb.
I seldom kill before 24-26 months and some are closer to 30 months. The feedlots want something that gets fat quicker, eats a ton of feed to convert to meat/fat. There is very little trim on a jersey. But they will be tender due to the marbling.
Due to the BSE and all, they have to have the backbone removed if killed after 27 months, so you can't get t-bones and anything that has a bone from that area so I try to do mine before. I seldom do t-bones anyway, but like the backbones for other things as they will have some good meat on them.
There are other things but I think that the facts of the marbling and the flavor/tenderness needed to be addressed. They will not have that "roly-poly" build of a beef breed, but there is alot of waste in them.
And yes, I have some experience in this. We have a fairly good sized cow/calf operation, I have dairy and dairy/cross animals, and have worked as a milk tester for over 25 years.
 

farmerjan

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Thanks Bruce. I am by far not an expert in anything probably haha. But for someone to come out and say that, just riles me. Then there will be a dozen people who don't know any better , and they will repeat it and then it "BECOMES FACT" ARGH!!!!:rant:rant:he:he:barnie
 

babsbag

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Due to the BSE and all, they have to have the backbone removed if killed after 27 months,

What is BSE? Still thinking about a Jersey calf next year, still waiting on the property so not happening this spring.

You are so right about how something can become "fact". I see it all the time in regards to LGDs that supposedly can't be trusted around livestock until they are 2 years old. That is now the "industry standard" UGH.
 
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