Dairy Enthusiasts…
The breed you need

Originally, Tarentaise were selected primarily for milk production when making their breeding decisions. Due to the habitat of this breed, it was naturally selected for muscling, hardiness and adaptability in order for them to live under range conditions in the French Alps, the result is a dual purpose breed.

Today, Tarentaise are primarily a dairy breed in their native France, where test performances show average milk production of 5,500 kilos (12,199 lbs) of milk in a 305 day lactation period. The milk is predominantly used to make Beaufort, a Gruyere-type cheese. They have a lengthy track record when crossed with British breeds, Tarentaise also have unmatched adaptability and longevity traits. Cows are very maternal, with early maturity, high calving ease and excellent milk quality. The breed is well known for being docile and is easy to work with in any operation. Tarentaise are also known for genetically trim back fat and high cutability, high quality meat and feed conversion efficiency. These market traits have made them a star dual purpose breed in their non-native countries.

A Tarentaise cow is universally recognized for her moderate size, early maturity, large volume of milk and ease of calving. The dark pigmentation of the eyes, feet, and udders guard against pinkeye, cancer eye and sunburn.

Statistics

  • Early Puberty
  • Good Pelvic Size
  • Strong Maternal Traits
  • Production Efficiency
  • Higher Fertility
  • Female Efficiency
  • Unassisted calving at two years and on schedule at three years
  • Optimum milk production with udder and teat conformation for easy feeding

Courtesy of Ankenman Ranch

Got Milk?

The dairy industry used the advertising slogan, “Got Milk” for years on posters, advertisements and commercials encour- aging us all to drink more milk. I am always reminded of this slogan when producers are looking for more efficient mom- ma cows and ask them, “You got Tarentaise? They Got Milk!”

Tarentaise is uniquely positioned in the beef industry right now as we have more to offer than ever before.  The genetic traits of the breed have never been a secret: extra milk, sustainability, increased efficiency and meat quality. In the current bearish market, beef producers strive to lower input costs while increasing the production of a high quality product that consumers trust.

It is rare to find cattle with the propensity to accomplish both, but we have the answer with Tarentaise.  I believe the secret lies in the “milk quality” found within the genetic profile of this breed. In my experience as a cattle producer, I have never heard a negative comment about the Tarentaise female’s ability to milk. We all favor a female that can wean off a higher per- cent of her body weight while eating any forage type. Many breeds selected cattle with high milk EPDs during the past 30 years only to discover increased input costs and a large framed, late maturing cow herd.  As the margins tighten for cattle- men, efficiency moves to the front of selection pressure, especially in the cow herd. Milk and maternal ability are significant profit drivers, therefore the female who can convert various forage types within multiple environments into pounds of beef is a win!

No strangers to efficiency, the dairy industry has found the unique secret of Tarentaise milk.  Realizing a 4% butterfat bonus, dairy producers are also capitalizing on the extra heterosis found within our gene pool. The desire to have higher quality milk from a low input cow is huge. The high quality butter fat and the promise of being A2 milk (milk free from carrying the A1 beta casein gene) the future is bright in multiple production scenarios. Dairy producers specializing in A2 milk, will likely be seeking out some genetically tested Tarentaise bull semen as soon as possible. Just today at my local grocery store, a half gallon of whole milk was priced at $2.19 while a carton of A2 milk was $4.99. By utilizing a Tarentaise bull carrying the A2 gene, dairy producers open up an entirely new market sector. If you are unfamiliar with A2 milk, I encourage you to fire up your search engine and dig into milk quality and human health.
Whether you are planning to add Tarentaise to your beef or dairy herd in a cross-breeding system, ask yourself or challenge other cattlemen, “You got Tarentaise?” They Got Milk!” 
By Melisa Bertz, Board Member


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