This year another 4-H year has almost past again. Even though I haven’t been a member of 4-H my entire life, it has been a large part in my upbringing. Our motto is “Learn to do by doing”, which is exactly what we did this year. Being a fairly busy person this winter and spring, it was hard to find time to work on steers this year. We are nearing our achievement day and fair time and we are almost ready.
1. Our journey began with “I wanted a pig but got a steer“. I explained what a steer was, the importance of an ear tag, and what a show steer requires for attention. I also added a quick video of a Grand champion steer selling in Fort Worth, Texas in 2013.
2. Breed and cost of your animal is a huge deciding factor of if your going to raise a show animal or not. Many people are large breeders of a show animals and look for a certain cross in an animal to get the exact show steer they want to go into the ring with. “I still have a steer” explains the breed of our animals, and the cost, and profit of raising our steers. These numbers were from last years club season and the rate of the dollar for steers. This year will differ due to buyers interest, the change in market, and having a different steer, which leads to different weights.
3. The progress of our steers this year has been emence since this time last year. “I’ve given up on the pig” shows the difference in time management and the small improvements and tasks that we base our progress off of.
4. Blowing! You either hate it or love it. In the beginning of blowing an animal I love it, but by the end, I hate it. Recomondation: if you have a bad shoulder, back, or arm, DO NOT blow. This will result in you being sore for 3 days after the task. The video in “Pigs are overrated… Goats are the new cool thing” explains the proper technique of blowing. Hair that can be fit is the main focus for show cattle, so the proper way to blow is NECASSARY! Just incase you didn’t know. Remember that being neat and tidy is the aim to the game, even if it does take you 2 extra people and 3 hours!
5. “My mom said no to a goat” is one of the most important blog posts to a competitive showman. Clipping is the one thing that is always on your mind is you are raising a show animal. The act of clipping can turn your animal into a completely different animal in front of you. Just by getting rid of hair! There are many different types of clippers, blades, and even ways and opinions to how to clip your animal. Kirk Steirwalt is one of the most known cattle men in North America. He has product line of aerosols for grooming, a series of movies explaining clipping and grooming, and he does work shops all over Canada and the United States. He explains in 2 videos in my post about common mistakes made while clipping, and blades that are to be used while clipping.
6. Clipping your animals is a must in the show business. Usually you will clip your animal multiple times during the season and that is perfectly fine considering that the hair will continue to grow after you clip. I clipped our steers first in April, and just this past weekend again in May. We will clip our animals another 2 or 3 times before July and then will clip them again at fair.”I’ve become attached to the steer now” explains how I clipped our animals in april and includes pictures of Zane’s steer after his neck was trimmed.
7. Fitting is a large part of showing. This is what brings your animal together completely before going into the ring. Your main focus while fitting is legs and the tail/ tail head. I have included 3 videos in my post “I guess Rufus and I have become friends now” that show how to fit legs and the tail. Fitting takes great attention and practice. Sometimes if your animal isn’t fit properly it can cost you a higher placing in your class.
8. The entire reason we raise show animals is so they can be shown and judged. Judging a steer is very different from judging a cow or bull. There are different parts of a steer that you look for and compare to others in your class to see which will come out on top. In “I’m still begging for a pig” judging is outlined for everyone and shows the way most judges chose their top and bottom animals. The overall package of your steer will be what holds the most appeal and is what will give you the upper hand compared to certain things in each steer that the judge looks for. The buyer and judge want the most appealing and satisfying animal.
9. Our sale say is a whirlwind of emotions. Sometimes your happy to see your animal go and sometimes not. It is truly based off the connection, time, and energy spent with your animal. Our animals are sold per pound, whereas some animals, at bigger shows, are sold for the entire animal. For example, Rufus will be sold for let’s say $3.15, if he weighs 1400 pounds, he would sell for $4,410 all together. The steer at the Fort Worth Show was auctioned off for a total of $200 thousand all together. “It’s not looking like I’m gonna get it” has 2 videos of high priced steers being auctioned at the Forth Worth Stock Show from previous years.
10. Steer sales are huge in the States, mostly in the southern states. “I’m still stuck on the pig” gives you a list of the top ten steer sales in the past 15 years. The top seller holds a record of $600,001 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2002.
11. To be able to sell your steer for such good money you would have to show them at large shows. Most of the top shows in North America are in the states, though one is in Canada. “Rufus is better than a pig or goat” shows a list of some of the top livestock shows in our country and our neighboring country. Many people who devote their lives to showing market steers attend these shows. These are great places to get your name and business out in the open and interest the cattle world.
The past few months have been very time consuming, rushing past me in a flash. I’m excited and saddened that this is my last year as a 4-H member, but am very happy with my experiences in Milestone. 4-H and my steers will always give me memories and hold a special place in my heart. I hope you have enjoyed my experience with Rufus and what the cattle world consists of. I also hope this was an educational blog series to help you learn about what is so thrilling about cattle.
Before we go,
Here is an interesting story about a steer from the states that was blind but was able to be shown by his owner. Oatmeal the steer was quite the famous animal this fall.
Environmental Science Questions