Whether it’s for the look or for the meat, the Texas longhorn cattle market is seeing growth.
A horn measuring and auction was held Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre barn with buyers looking for the best animals available. The measuring was part of a North American measuring event with the Texas Longhorn BreedersAssociation of America (TLBAA), explained event organizer Jeff Jespersen of Meridian Longhorns.
Ponoka was the only Canadian measuring event for the TLBAA and for Jespersen and his company it’s all about the length and style of horns. “The more horn, the more money they’re worth.”
“Another aspect is their lean beef … It’s healthier than chicken,” he added.
Texas longhorn beef is generally grass fed, which makes the beef more desirable. Jespersen said there are some people who switch to the longhorn beef in their diet and other customers who want to have them on the farm for looks.
“We’re doing a lot of semen and embryo sales,” said Jespersen.
Coming up from the United States was Bear Davidson to judge the heifer futurity and to help with the horn measuring. He said the challenge for ranchers is marketing longhorn beef, which competes against Angus beef.
One of the reasons he feels longhorn cattle is so desirable is because there has been little human influence on the breed. “Our longhorns are the Spanish cattle,” Jespersen explained.
He said the longevity of the longhorn is higher than other cattle that have been bred over the years.
Clinton Bezan is the president of the Canadian Texas Longhorn Association and he feels the longhorn market will continue to grow. The association has started a triple crown heifer futurity, with MSW Meats of Ponoka winning the top spot with two of the crowns, to garner more interest in the market. He also wants to see a youth program to develop future breeders.
“We’ve got a lot of young people getting involved. The cattle are, in my opinion, extremely underappreciated based on their temperament, longevity and producing ability,” said Bezan.
He feels that buyers are starting to understand the breed, which is creating a need for more breeders.
He added that more youth involvement with judging clinics or other programs could grow the numbers of breeders in Canada.