Our crossbred herd ranges from the stately Queenie to the gormless but lovely No. 100. Each have their own merits, from producing smashing calves, size and build, to a good nature, or occasionally they're just a cow to which we're very attached. Whatever they may claim, every decent farm has one or two of these. We do not keep a bull on the farm (Thistle, a substantially built cow, is often mistaken for one from afar), but instead, browse the Genus Beef Directory to choose a sire for our calves. When choosing a bull the most important factors for us are high calving ease, strong growth rates and calf quality. We do this by looking at the Beef Sire Index which compares the individual bull to the breed average. Smaller calves that grow fast are ideal in our system, although recently we've produced some monsters!
Currently, we use two bulls: the mighty Hereford, Solpoll 1 Ferrari, and the lively Aberdeen Angus, Nightingale Ploughman. Ploughman has reached the 'legendary' status of 'Diamond Sire' with over 100,000 calves in his beef sires proof. He's a busy bull.
I favour giant, dopey Herefords; Dad favours Angus' - you have to watch him when he's by the AI flask or else we'd have 100% Angus calves. To celebrate our latest batch, and to see if you think Dad got his way, it's Game Time! Put your observation skills to the test in our "simple" matching challenge:
Answers below. And for those who need a helping hand: the mothers include two heifers, a giant, a "slow to regain her figure" cow, and a brown one who likes to kick. No need to thank me. A pat on the back if you scored 5-out-of 5 - or a kick in the case of Crispin (E).
Answers: Hereford: A (wingnut ears - dead giveaway!), B, E. Angus: C, D