Introduction: The Purchase & Importation of the Rotakawa Devon Herd
Read about this in our 1st Newsletter.
Beginning in 2002, Ridge Shinn
evaluated many cattle in a variety of different
environments in North America and other parts of the world. They
found many excellent cows but few good bulls, and few subsets of cattle
that could be profitable in a 100% grass operation. They began to hone
in on the Devon breed -- but still, no excellent bulls. Then Gearld visited
Ken McDowell and the Rotokawa Stud in New Zealand, and discovered a large herd of
Devons with all the qualities needed to thrive on grass, provide consistent
high-quality beef, and turn a profit for the producer. And this herd
included excellent bulls.
Ken worked with Bakewell for eight
years to increase the numbers of
Rotokawa Devons in North America.
Bakewell imported twelve heifers
and, through an exclusive agreement,
sold Rotokawa semen. A number of
small herds were established using
embryo transfer (ET) as the method
of multiplication. Through artificial
insemination (AI), Rotokawa bulls
have bred cattle across the U.S. and
Canada -- and indeed, across the
world, with many progeny in
England, Brazil and Australia.
Calves from Rotokawa sires are
stunningly similar to one another.
They were bred for prepotency -- the
ability of the bulls to consistently
stamp their progeny with their traits.
The quality of this subset of the
Devon breed is reflected even in the
half-blood stock produced by AI.
Here is a photo that illustrates the PREPOTENCY of our bulls. The cow in
the background (Angus x Simmental) was bred to Rotokawa 982 with the
resulting meaty calf.
Very quickly we knew we had the
answer to producing meat that is
consistently tender and tasty. We also
had an easy-fleshing, early-maturing
animal that gives producers a
critical economic advantage.
The Devon breed historically has
been the "Butcher's Breed" because
of the quality of the meat produced
as well as the excellent cut-out
(because of the breed's fine dense
bone). The major reason the Devon
became a rare breed in the United
States in the past 40 to 50 years is
because they don't work on feedlots.
The breed has the "easy-fleshing"
trait and when fed concentrates,
Devons get overly fat, which is not
a desirable trait in the conventional
feedlot-dominated beef business.
Now, with the new excitement
about 100% grass-fed beef, we all
need to return to cattle that are
easy fleshing on grass. Especially
given the evidence that health
problems attributed to eating beef
actually result from eating beef
that has been raised on grain.
It takes a long time to establish a
large population of animals from a
small number of individuals. The
purchase of the entire Rotokawa
herd will have a significant impact
on the production of healthy, 100%
grass-fed beef and therefore will
impact public health and the
future of the rural economy.
This section of our Website will give you all the information about the well-deserved popularity of the Devon Breed.