Senior Champion Bull
JMVP Mr. Hugo
Our herd sire by Mr. Electric (a Quincy son)
out of an Olmo daughter
Two-Time Piedmontese Association of the United States
National Grand Champion Bull
at the 2001 and 2003 Georgia National Fair
Senior Champion Bull
Houston Livestock Show
National Grand Champion Bull
Georgia State Fair
For more information on Hugo, click here.
Beaver Creek Farm
Beaver Creek Farm is located in northeast Georgia. We acquired our first piedmontese cattle in 1998 as a result of our search for a profitable, green alternative to conventional beef cattle. We love our Piedmotnese. Over the last eleven years I have been successful in establishing a COMMERCIAL herd - cattle that breed in sixty days, calve unassisted, rebreed, and wean a good calf. Our cattle are on a strict schedule to minimize labor and increase value of steers by marketing as a single group at weaning. These are cattle for people who want to breed Piedmontese that perform in the marketplace.
We have a high percentage of Anaborapi (http://www.anaborapi.it ), the Italian stud farm, animals in our pedigrees. Anaborapi is the ONLY source of piedmontese semen with meaningful EPDs - weight gain, muscularity, calving ease, ability of daughters to calve (values are based on 100 as average, greater than 100 means more superior). Our current program is to breed a few animals by AI using Anaborapi semen, then clean up with bulls sired by top Anaborapi bulls out of cows proven to breed and calve easily, with superior performing offspring. Most go back to Hugo and Lewis, animals out of established top performing Anaborapi bloodlines, whose record speaks for itself. We have been fortunate to have some outcross imported Italian cows to incorporate into our pedigrees. We have a program to develop polled fullblood piedmontese but these are NOT currently available. We usually have a few weanling or yearling bulls available as herd bulls, which have been stringently selected and then evaluated as commercial versus fullblood herd sires. We sell two year old confirmed bred heifers and occasionally a few cows to allow us to continually expand our genetics and the quality of our herd.
- Fullblood Piedmontese produce superior low cholesterol low fat high protein low calorie beef. A 100 gram (3.5 oz) steak has 38 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fat, 100 calories.
- Fat is replaced with protein. Meat is tender and flavorful, based on the meat, not on fat. It is rated superior or excellent in Europe.
- Fullblood Piedmontese yield exceptionally high percentages of meat: 72-75% hot hanging weight, 80-85% yield of processed meat*. This is due to light bone, double muscling, long bodies, thinner hides, small heads (i.e., waste is minimized).
- Fullblood Piedmontese are extremely heat, cold and insect tolerant, to the same degree as Brahmas, but without the drawbacks. Fullblood Piedmontese are very feed efficient and environmentally friendly. As a result of the heat tolerance, they do not wallow in creeks and tear up sensitive wetlands.
- Fullblood Piedmontese have excellent temperaments and are very tolerant mothers, sometimes nursing 2 or 3 calves at a time.
- Fullblood Piedmontese are slower to mature than other breeds but "just keep on going" longer than many other breeds of cattle. We have 12-14 year old cows still in production.
- We do not breed until 24 months of age. We have a very low incidence of dystocia (2-10%, based on 20-40+ calves per season).
Piedmontese cross well on all breeds of cattle. Offspring bring a premium in the lean meat market (Montana Range). Beef from crossbred (50%) and purebred single myostatin gene Piedmontese has significantly reduced fat and calories, and higher yields than normal cattle. A continental crossbred (50% piedmontese) steak will have approximately 66 mg cholesterol and 9 grams fat in a 100 g steak*. Skinless chicken breast is 66-68 mg cholesterol and 3 grams of fat. Regular beef is 68-72 mg cholesterol and 26 grams of fat in a 100 g steak*. This animal will typically have a 65-68% hot hanging weight and 68-75% yield as compared to a 58-62% hot hanging weight and 58-62% yield* for regular beef cattle. All animals are extremely heat and insect tolerant.
FALLACIES: Piedmontese crosses are harder to calve. This is NOT true. The meat from a piedmontese cross is low cholesterol. This is NOT true. Unless the animal is two copy myostatin, fat, but not cholesterol, is decreased. Two myostatin copy black cattle are the same as fullblood piedmontese. This is NOT true. Yield is lower due to heavier bone, heavier hides, shorter bodies. These animals are not as heat or insect tolerant as a fullblood piedmontese due to heavier coats and black color. Piedmontese have a higher incidence of dystocia. This is NOT true for the breed as a whole. Dystocia is determined by genetics, age, feeding practice. Piedmontese selected, bred and raised for calving ease have no higher incidence of dystocia than any other breed.
+Dystocia is increased with overfeeding, poor selection of bulls, breeding too young or in poor condition, inadequate selenium and other minerals. *These values are based on a values collected by Beaver Creek Farm and those in the literature; actual values may vary.
comparable to an overinflated balloon so that the muscle cell walls are stretched thin and are therefore easier to cut. This is in contrast to regular beef, which requires fat to be dispersed between the muscle fibers (“marbling”) to allow one to easily cut and separate the muscle fibers. The length, small head, and relatively narrow shoulders are critical to calving ease. The approximately 20-30% bos indicus in the genetic makeup, a carry over from the influx of Asian cattle into Italy from Alexander the Great’s time, yields heat and insect tolerance comparable to the Brahman cattle.
There are certain management issues that result from these unique features.
Note: There are two registries for Piedmontese - the original Piedmontese Association of the US (PAUS) and North American Piedmontese Association (NAPA). PAUS and NAPA both register fullblood 100% piedmontese as fullbloods. PAUS registers high percentage Pieds as purebred piedmontese, both register crossbreeds - PAUS calls them tenderlean or tendercross and NAPA calls them naturalean cattle. All of our cattle are 100% piedmontese fullblood cattle, confirmed by DNA, and registered with PAUS.
BEAVERCREEK FARM GUIDELINES TO PIEDMONTESE HERD MANAGEMENT
By Patrea Pabst (404) 2178471 firstname.lastname@example.org
Back in 1998, when I got my first Piedmontese, I pretty much knew nothing. I got some good advice, a lot of bad advice, and learned a lot the hard way. The following is what works well for us, to maximize profitability, minimize cost, and have the lowest problem calving.
Piedmontese are a unique breed. They are very European, but they are different from the Angus or other British or continental breeds. Accordingly, one needs to accept that they are different, and simply treat them as what they are: Piedmontese. Piedmontese are unique due to the selection for over 100 years for fine bone, thin skin, small heads, great length, and a mutation in the myostatin (Growth differentiation factor 8) protein (a cysteine to threonine amino acid substitution in the carboxyl region that significantly decreases the activity of the protein). The result is extremely high yield of meat (hot hanging weights that can be as high as 72-75%), that is high in protein (26%), low in fat(1%) and cholesterol (32 mg/100g, and very tender. The beef is tender due to the myostatin causing the muscle fibers to be enlarged, comparable to an overinflated balloon so that the muscle cell walls are stretched thin and are therefore easier to cut. This is in contrast to regular beef, which requires fat to be dispersed between the muscle fibers (“marbling”) to allow one to easily cut and separate the muscle fibers. The length, small head, and relatively narrow shoulders are critical to calving ease. The approximately 20-30% bos indicus in the genetic makeup, a carry over from the influx of Asian cattle into Italy from Alexander the Great’s time, yields heat and insect tolerance comparable to the Brahman cattle.
There are certain management issues that result from these unique features.
1. Heifers should not be bred until 20-24 months of age. Delaying not only decreases dystocia, but allows the heifer to mature, increasing longevity (cows often produce until 12-15 years of age). We never crossbreed our heifers and have found no need to since we use only Anaborapi bull semen that is heifer safe (this is referred to as “birth ease” by Anaborapi. We want bulls with an index of 115 or higher - over 120, the resulting heifers will not be as good as replacement heifers, although values of 110-130 work well for us).
2. We very very strongly recommend using the latest Anaborapi semen for artificial insemination (“AI”). Anaborapi (www.anaborapi.it, click on British flag for English) is the Italian bull screening and testing facility that collects semen for distribution and sale throughout the world. There are several reasons and we have found it to be highly cost effective. First, it is the only semen where the bulls have statistically significant EPDs (performance criteria). Second, it can be used to insure a low coefficient of inbreeding (essential for better reproduction and weight gain). Third, these bulls have been intensely selected and tested for excellent conformation, breeding and weight gain/muscularity, so the offspring will reflect these characteristics. We AI breed, then turn out with an AI-sired bull about one week to 10 days later. Since all fullblood Piedmontese must be DNA tested for parentage, there is no problem with determining parentage when bred or exposed to multiple bulls. We have a maximum breeding season of 60 days, allowing for easy management of cows for calving and working all calves as one or two groups. This greatly decreases labor and time associated with calving.
3. Piedmontese were developed in the Italian Alps, a mountainous area with sparse forage. Accordingly, heifers and cows must not be allowed to overgraze or be grained the last trimester of pregnancy. This is critical to calving ease due to the tremendous rate of gain Piedmontese have on good grass. We manage this by (1) calving just before the grass comes in; (2) moving pregnant cows into overgrazed pastures; and (3) using average quality hay as forage in the last trimester. Our “rule of thumb” is that we want to see the outline of the ribs - not too heavy but not too thin.
4. Due to the increased muscling, Piedmontese require high levels of selenium. This is found in the ground and levels vary throughout the country. Where we are located, the levels are low and it is essential for reproductive success that we use a high selenium mineral. The only product that works for us is ADM’s Moorman’s minerals with 38 ppm selenium.
5. Piedmontese bulls mature early. Bull calves must be separated from heifers by about seven months.
6. Piedmontese bulls, like bulls of other cattle breeds, cannot breed and grow without being fed. We strongly recommend feeding bulls under two years of age who are being used to breed. Individual animals vary in weight gain and size. We start using bulls as early as 14-15 months of age, but on only a few cows. A two year old bull can handle 20-240 cows.
We are a grass fed operation and highly dependent on rain (some years too little, some years too much) and see a lot of variation in both weaning and yearling weights based on the amount of available forage. Bulls and heifers can be fed to increase size before using for breeding. Fat animals do not breed well and should be avoided.
7. We dehorn (iron), DNA test, tattoo, and weigh calves at about 6 weeks to three months. We vaccinate all calves at weaning and again 4-5 weeks later with Triangle 10 and Covexin 8. We revaccinate cows with Triangle 10 and Covexin 8 at weaning. Due to increased parasite resistance, we are now worming at least two times per year with two different classes of wormers at the same time, using the recommended dosages. For example, we worm with both Safegard (oral) and Dectomex (topical).
8. We test for AI pregnancy by collecting blood from the tail vein using a syringe emptied into a red topped vacuum tube, then sending to a lab for BioPryn testing. This is a highly cost effective way to test for pregnancy. We pull blood at exactly 28-30 days after AI breeding, since one cannot detect a pregnancy earlier (i.e., if AI did not take, the bull sired pregnancy would not occur until at least 21 days after the AI breeding, and the cow would show as “open” even if in the early stages of pregnancy). We confirm pregnancy using ultrasound at the time of weaning, verifying heartbeat and approximate age of fetus.
9. We cull extensively. We will allow any heifer or cow to be assisted once, especially a younger heifer, a very old cow, twins or a breech calf. A second time is an automatic route to the freezer. No breed of cattle has 100% unassisted calving, but this can be minimized through management. The reputation of the Piedmontese in the US has been seriously damaged by people who bred animals who should be culled, bred animals who were too young, or mismanaged the pregnant animals.
Wishing you great success with your Piedmontese! Always available to “talk cows”
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Ph: (404) 217-8471