British and Continental Cattle Breeds

British and Continental Cattle Breeds

There are many way to categorize cattle breeds—beef and dairy, standard and miniature, commercial and heritage, Bos taurus taurus and Bos taurus indicus. One classification that is frequently used to describe beef breeds is British versus Continental. The names are rather self-explanatory. British breeds come from the United Kingdom, while Continental breeds come from Continental Europe. But there is more here than meets the eye. … Continue reading British and Continental Cattle Breeds

Kansas Ag Connection

Kansas Ag Connection

Looking for a good way to keep up with daily agriculture-related headlines? Give Kansas Ag Connection a try! Subscribers to On the Range, our weekly country living update (read more), may already be familiar with this site as a source for some of our headlines. There’s a reason for that. Kansas Ag Connection is a clutter-free aggregator of news stories and press releases of interest … Continue reading Kansas Ag Connection

How a Milking Machine Works

How a Milking Machine Works

While many small farmers still love to hand-milk their cows, commercial dairying usually employs the milking machine. The modern milking machine looks complex, but the principle on which it operates is actually quite simple. The machine pulls a vacuum on the teats of the cow, causing the milk to flow. Here’s how it works: The cow’s teats are attached to the teat cups. Each teat … Continue reading How a Milking Machine Works

An Introduction to Heritage Breeds

An Introduction to Heritage Breeds

Thinking about starting a farm with heritage breeds? If you are new to this topic, you may enjoy An Introduction to Heritage Breeds: Saving and Raising Rare-Breed Livestock and Poultry by The Livestock Conservancy. This excellent beginner’s resource starts with the basics—defining breeds in general and heritage breeds in particular. It discusses the plight and importance of rare breeds, as well as the necessity to … Continue reading An Introduction to Heritage Breeds

Rottweiler

Rottweiler

As invading Roman armies traveled, they tended to leave a trail of abandoned dogs in their wake, no matter where they went. The dogs were large and mastiff-like, but they were kept to herd sheep and cattle to feed the soldiers. As the livestock was eaten up, surplus dogs were left behind. One area that became the residence of a sizeable population of abandoned Roman … Continue reading Rottweiler

Border Collie

Border Collie

Most of the herding dogs of the British Isles trace back to a common ancestor—the big, black-and-tan mastiffs brought by Julius Caesar around 55 BC to guard and drive livestock to feed the Roman army. Of course, British and Scottish sheepdogs do not look much like mastiffs. This is owing to the influence of small herding spitzes brought by the Vikings after the collapse of … Continue reading Border Collie

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd

It may surprise you, but the Australian Shepherd is actually an American breed, developed in the West in the 19th century. There is an Australian connection, however. Some of the breed’s most influential ancestors were various Basque herding dogs from both Spain and France, including the Pyrenean Shepherd. Basque dogs were originally brought to America by shepherds, some arriving directly on our shores, others coming … Continue reading Australian Shepherd

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog

When Australia was first settled, its system of ranching was very small-scale by modern standards. Cattle farms were clustered around present-day Sidney, close to market. Taking a small herd to town was a simple affair, since the animals were quite used to attention from people and their dogs. The traditional dog used in this role was called the Smithfield, believed to be something like an … Continue reading Australian Cattle Dog