Texas Longhorns take little knowledge to invest in, can require very little involvement on your part, are safe and very endurable. Social economic situations effect them very little and in fact tend to make them a very positive investment. How many investments can you actually say you can have your cake and eat it too? Below is a brief history of the Texas Longhorns and specific reasons why they are a good investment.
History of the Texas Longhorn
The Texas Longhorn traces its origin from Texas to Mexico, to Spain and finally back to Africa. The Moors brought the cattle from Africa to Spain, and explorers from Spain brought them with them to the Caribbean and Mexico. Expeditions, explorers and settlers brought the cattle breed with them from Mexico to Texas, where it played an important role in the history of the "Longhorn State."
Following the Civil War, the Texas Longhorn became the financial salvation of the Southwest. Men returning home from the war soon found that their only source of income was the thousands of Texas Longhorns that wandered freely across the open range. According to historical accounts Longhorns weren't worth a great deal in Texas at that time but the demand for the beef they provided was high in the North. Longhorns were fattened easily on the trail as they were taken north.
In the early part of the 20th Century the Texas Longhorn nearly became extinct. In 1927, the federal government spent $3,000 for the requisition and preservation of a herd of Texas Longhorns. In 1960, there were about 2,500 Texas Longhorns in the United States, and in 1964 the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association was created to preserve the cattle.
The cattle industry began to appreciate the fact that a Texas Longhorn bull was the best of all breeds to use on a virgin heifer. She can be bred at the youngest possible age, will carry the pregnancy to term and will deliver a healthy calf without undue stress or strain caused by the process.
According the breed journals, the offspring will be small and vigorous at birth, but will grow and wean at an adequate weight. The Texas Longhorns live longer than most European breeds, and it is not unusual for Texas Longhorn cows to calve well into their teens.
Unique Characteristics of Texas Longhorns
Longhorn cows are good mothers:They are productive and protective, they milk well, raise calf's efficiently and breed back quickly. In recent years, Texas Longhorn Breeders have sought to enhance the reach of female lines through the process of embryo transfer. Many elite females have responded well to the technique and are helping to strengthen the breed's base of maternal genetics.
Longhorns are hardy and self sufficient: Texas Longhorns will graze on most any ground cover. They are resourceful and make the most of even sparse surroundings to maintain their nutritional requirements and gain muscle. From hot, dry West Texas to the thick humidity of the Gulf Coast and up the cold, wintry trail into Montana and Canada, Texas Longhorns have adapted, evolved and thrived as a beef breed. Longhorns are genetically resistant to certain diseases and parasites. Their durability and hardiness reduces losses and cuts costs for cattle producers.
Easily Handled: Cattle drive stampedes may have made good movie footage but rarely happen in the reality of Longhorn ranching. These cattle are quite gentle and very easily worked on foot. Young people and novice cattle breeders learn from lessons of livestock handling through patient observation of the animals and by using common sense. Careful attention to each distinct personality and calm, quiet movement of groups usually results in successful maneuvering of Texas Longhorns.
Long and Profitable Life: This historic breed boasts individuals who live long and produce for many years for more profit over a lifetime. Unlike many other breeds, cows are at their prime at ten years and often continue to calve every year into their late teens and early twenties. Even when used heavily over many breeding seasons, Texas Longhorn bulls are dependable as sires into their mid-teen years.
Suitable for Crossbreeding: Natural survival traits were developed by Texas Longhorns over generations of adversity. These are the same economic traits commercial cattle producers seek in order to minimize input and maximize output. Most Longhorn traits have proven to be highly heritable. The strength of the breed's unique traits should make it a strong consideration for crossbreeding in today's commercial beef herds.
Longhorn Bulls are strong and sturdy: They can cover great distances and are known for aggressiveness and stamina as breeders. In modern times the breed's top genetics have been propagated through distinct sire lines. Many bulls are available for use through artificial insemination, though most breeders are proud to maintain their own herd sires for natural service.
Naturally Lean Beef: A Texas A&M University study showed that steaks from Texas Longhorn cattle had about 30% less muscle fat and 15% less saturated fat than a steak from a traditional British breed. Marbling, quality, grade and flavor were similar. Both purebred and crossbred Longhorns produce beef within the acceptable fat cover range of 1/4 inch or less. So, history does repeat itself. The natural traits of Texas Longhorns once again are meeting the needs of the beef-consuming public which consists of health and value-conscious consumers.
Diversity of Market: No other breed of livestock has such diversity of marketing segments within its own ranks. Each segment brings with it marketing opportunities which can make any breeding operation a dependable, self-supporting and viable business.
The seed stock market gives serious breeders a reason to keep records and challenge their cattle to perform and progress. Among Longhorn breeders there's a constant trade toward the genetic improvement of purebreds. Breeders also have a ready outlet for their well-bred bulls and females to commercial ranchers. Consumer demand has created awareness that Longhorns can infuse the genetics which naturally produce lean beef.
The recreational market provides a steady stream of customers for Longhorn breeders. Team roping, team-penning and cutting are reaching new highs in popularity all over the United States. Texas Longhorn cattle are perfectly suited to these sports due to body size, disposition and, of course, horns. There is also excellent resale value in these animals after their recreational purposes are completed.
The western nostalgia market may be what brings most breeders into the Texas Longhorn business. Many begin by enjoying their livestock as a weekend hobby and soon learn to "talk cows" as impressively as a top-hand. Some collect a certain set of horns, others look for unique hides. Some find the historic Longhorn family lines or even individual bovine personalities the collectible element. Many others are interested in living the life of a bygone era by preserving this living piece of Americana.