you investigate Tarentaise history and read some of the early promotional
material, you ponder as to how these cattle have a potential fit
into the livestock industry. As time marches on, from the 1970s,
through the 80s, into the 90s and beyond, the more there is the
need for Tarentaise influence.
literature in the early 70s reveals why cattlemen
traveled to France in search of a new breed in the hope of improving
North American genetics.
cattle originated in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps where
the country is rough and harsh. The ancient breeding stock that
developed into this unique breed required the ruggedness equal to
the country. Understanding the production potential of the Tarentaise
breed is at times as illusive as the harsh country side from which
they evolved. When you eventually see Tarentaise, there is no doubt
they are unique. The development of Tarentaise cattle has produced
exceptional characteristics of ruggedness, adaptability and beauty.
They developed a respiratory system that accepts damp wet barns
and still allows lung capacity for mountain climbing during the
1000 pound reddish colored cows have milk production equal to and
sometimes exceeding most of the larger European imports. Their local
environment forced consistent yearly calving so as to accommodate
movement up and down the mountains. Over the years only those that
could fit the country survived. Now, virtually all cows of the breed
not only have 365 day calving intervals but many have 8, 10, 12
and 15 consecutive calves. Longevity can be accredited to strong
teat and udder structure, correct feet and leg structure as well
as pigmentation of eyes, udders and body orifices. Bringing Tarentaise
to North America makes possible a geneticists dream. Finding cattle
uniquely different, so different that crosses show an improvement
of a maternal edge that surpasses the normal advantages of heterosis
is a critical success factor for cost effective beef production.
80s , promotional material emphasized the
aspects of Tarentaise production and efficiency. Continued improvement
relies on traits that contribute to monitary yield and carcass desirability;
both of which are of major economic importance in the beef cattle
industry. Frequently these traits are referred to as "performance
traits", and they are: fertility, calving ease, mothering ability,
rate of gain, efficiency of gain, longevity, and carcass merit.
of the 80s paid attention to net returns measured in dollars in
the bank. The keyword was efficiency. Labour was an ever increasing
cost to cattlemen. An appropriate breeding program can address problems
of weak calves at birth, calves unable to suck because of large
teats, pink eye, cancer eye, and foot and leg infirmities.
less labour costs + fewer deaths + reduced culling costs = greater
efficiency = more profit.
traits of fertility, calving ease, longevity, and mothering ability
have all been demonstrated and unsurpassed within Tarentaise crossbred
females. The ability of a medium sized cow to wean out a large calf
on a reasonable intake of feed surely spells EFFICIENCY. In addition,
Crossbred Tarentaise steers were found to perform well in the feed
lot. High rates of gain are desirable as long as they are efficient
rates of gain. Data from Clay Center, Nebraska, establish that Tarentaise
crosses gain and yield significantly better than domestic British
90s, the breed developed and adapted well
to North American standards. "Maternal plus Muscle" became
the slogan. Tarentaise MEATS the CHALLENGE. Without sacrificing
the maternal aspects of the breed and maintaining strong feet and
legs, correct teat and udder structure, milk production, hardiness,
more fleshing ability and muscling have been incorporated into the
Tarentaise influence. When Tarentaise were first introduced to North
America one of the predominant traits depicted by young bull calves
was the distinct masculine look and that of the female calves was
definitely the feminine appearance- SO IT IS IN THE 90s. The strong
WILL to LIVE still remains.
Millenium - what is to come with Tarentaise?
over the last 25 to 30 years of Tarentaise in North America, they
have been a breed ahead of their time. Tarentaise continues to contribute
many valuable traits of great benefit to the commercial cattlemen
in this country. Although Terentaise have been under-rated and over-looked
time and again, we have the opportunity to show the beef industry
our strong potential. This we look forward to doing so in the New