Get To Know The American Aberdeen Cattle Breed

An easy-keeping, moderate-sized breed, Aberdeen cattle have gained favor for their excellent and profitable beef when raised on grass.

by Hobby Farms HQ
PHOTO: American Aberdeen Association

American Aberdeen cattle are best known for their easy-keeping, docile nature and moderate frame size. An ideal fit for ranches of any size or youth projects, Aberdeens do particularly well in grass-fed beef operations—whether for family beef or direct-to-market businesses.

Aberdeen beef tastes great, with an excellent texture and tenderness when properly finished on grass or grain.

The breed traces its roots back to 1929, when importers selected and brought championship Angus cattle to New South Wales, Australia. The breeders at the Trangie Research Centre identified the best-of-the-best genetics and selectively bred them to maintain high quality and moderate size.

The result was a pure line of black, polled (free of horns) and efficient cattle. The breed could thrive in harsh environments with minimal supplementation.

Read more: These 5 cattle breeds are great choices for small and hobby farms!

Meat Matters

Cattle producers choose Aberdeen cattle foremost to reduce calving problems and improve livestock disposition. Also, the breed can increase:

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  • beef quality
  • pounds and value of beef raised per acre
  • overall farm profitability

The average Aberdeen cow will weigh between 900 and 1,000 pounds when mature. They offer an exceptional rib eye per 100 pounds of body weight. This translates to high-yielding, high-quality and high-value carcasses.

By comparison, the average registered Angus cow weighs close to 1,500 pounds.

Read more: Get to know the Galloway and Belted Galloway cattle breeds. 

Cost Advantages

A 1,500-pound cow eats about 45 pounds of grass or hay every day. A 1,000-pound cow eats about 33 pounds of grass or hay each day. So whether you are trying to reduce your hay costs or increase the number of cattle you can have on your farm, Aberdeens have an advantage.

When evaluated on a per-acre unit of production, university studies from Texas to North Dakota have shown smaller cattle, primarily Aberdeens, have a 10 percent profit potential advantage over larger cattle.

At the ranch level, efficiency means the value of beef produced per acre, less operating costs—not the same as maximum individual weaning weights.

The American Aberdeen Association is headquartered in Parker, Colorado. But you can find the cattle across the U.S. and beyond.

Registered Aberdeen cattle can be full-bloods or percentage (crossbred). All full-bloods are certified through DNA analysis.

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.

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