Commercial Cattle

5 Factors that Determine the Best Types of Commercial Cattle for Sale

Commercial Cattle

When it comes time to find the best commercial cattle for sale, ranches and ranch managers have no shortage of factors to consider.

It can be hard to isolate the top commercial cattle in these instances and that’s why this guide is here.

The following factors are the most important considerations that need to be made before any final decision is made.

By taking the time to take them into account, ranchers and ranch managers can avoid the typical pitfalls that take place.

Coat Color

While coat color is not necessarily indicative of the performance of commercial cattle, that does not mean that ranchers and ranch managers do not heavily consider it.

Aesthetic appeal is still important to buyers, regardless.

Coat color should not be the primary trait that is considered during the selection process, but uniformity is still indicative of the breeding process.

An entire herd of purebred cattle is usually more uniform in color than a crossbred herd.

Weaning/Market Weight

This is a factor that is influenced by a number of additional factors. Genetics play a significant role here, as does the brood cow’s level of milk production.

Is there a sizable amount of pasture available to the commercial cattle? This plays a pivotal role in their development, too.

The environmental conditions that the cattle exist in must be taken into close consideration as well.

The best cattle producers will work towards calving 30 to 60 days before their prime forage seasons.

Since the production of cow milk declines within three months, cattle must be provided with high-quality forage.

Otherwise, the herd is going to be slow to grow and heavy milking is not made possible. Optimum productivity will fall by the wayside.

Studies have been conducted when it comes to the living environments of cattle.

The researchers used varying percentages of European/British and beef/dairy crossbred cows as their jumping-off point.

They found that the calves’ growth potential was heavily affected by the amount of milk production that was available, in addition to forage quality.

Even if milk supply is abundant, the herd will not grow unless the forage quality is also taken care of.

Genetic/Environmental Interaction

This is a crucial phenomenon when it comes to selecting breeds of cattle or individual cattle within that breed.

It’s a simple term that is designed to address the fact that ranchers and ranch managers have to consider their individual environment.

The performance of cattle in a different location is not always indicative of their performance in the rancher’s current environment.

Florida researchers have already conducted studies on this matter, finding that cattle that were moved from Montana to Florida (and vice versa) performed best in their original location.

Too many ranch managers fall into the trap of believing that they can import cattle from various locations and enjoy the same performance after the move.

This is an all-too-common fallacy.


To build on the previous point, most cattle are going to perform better in northern climates.

When it comes to production traits, heat and humidity are not the best factors and this can adversely affect various aspects of the equation.

Reports indicate that calves that are residing in northern climates will gain weight at a faster rate than their southern counterparts, by at least a pound per day.

As mentioned, moving the animals between climates is not typically recommended.

Let’s say that northern cattle that are accustomed to having access to free choice corn silage during the winter months are moved to the south.

They are not going to thrive when they have to subsist on stockpiled fescue and trace mineral salt each winter.

Production and Profitability

This is obviously a key consideration for ranchers and ranch managers.

If the breed or breeds that are selected are not something that the ranch manager will feel comfortable marketing, this is a sure sign to make a different choice.

Can the operation in question manage these animals?

This is something that ranch managers are going to have to be honest with themselves about.

There are also certain specialty breeds that may be enticing to ranch managers.

Are these cattle being selected because of traits that are not related to beef production?

If so, there are additional considerations to consider.

Yes, the higher prices that can be negotiated for specialty breeds are fun to think about but the market for these prices is often limited.

Some may decide to choose breed types that are always going to be available.

This is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking to replenish their herd more easily over the long haul.

Meanwhile, there are others who will benefit from offering a less widely available breed, to serve as a viable alternative option to local breeders.

Do the necessary research on the realities of the local marketplace before making any rash decisions.

A Closer Look at The Top Cattle Breeds and the Traits They Possess

There are over 70 cattle breeds that are currently recognized within the United States.

Ranchers and ranch managers can understandably struggle when it is time to narrow down their choices.

The time has come for a closer look at the five most popular breeds and the traits that they have to offer.

Black Angus

As the most common cattle breed in the United States, there are a number of reasons for its continued popularity.

Their carcass characteristics are the primary motivator for many ranches and ranch managers, though.

Those who are in search of flavorful, marbled beef will choose Black Angus cattle in most instances.

Best of all, they also require very little maintenance during calving season.

These feed-efficient cattle make for great mothers, too.


The introduction of the Charolais has thrown the entire United States cattle production industry into a state of flux.

This is because they have filled a very distinct need. Breeders were in search of a breed that is heavier, with a larger frame.

The traditional cattle breeds simply could not provide the desired size, and this has created a window for the Charolais to become very popular.


While this cattle breed initially gained popularity in England, it was not long before they began to become more well-known on this side of the pond.

When it comes to commercial cattle, the fattening ability and early maturity of the Hereford are sure to be attractive.

The Hereford cattle is an excellent choice for a wide range of reasons, including their docile nature and their quality milking.


Of all breeds of cattle in the world, this is one of the most widely distributed and one of the oldest.

Their presence has been a positive influence on the beef community ever since their initial introduction.

Their large body frames are a plus and they do not require very much additional maintenance during the calving process.

Their weight-gaining potential also puts them at the head of the pack when it comes time to make a final decision.

Red Angus

The Red Angus is not as popular as the Black Angus but that does not make it any less valuable to the ranch managers out there.

The increased marbling and flavor that is present in the Black Angus carcass can also be found with the Red Angus.

They are a docile breed with great mothering traits, too.

To find out more about the best commercial cattle and the traits that are most important to the selection process, be sure to contact the good folks at Harrer’s Lost Lake Ranch.

Their experts will lay out all of the factors that go into choosing the best types of commercial cattle so that ranchers and ranch managers are able to simplify their decision-making.