I wonder if George Grant had any idea when he brought his first four Angus bulls from Scotland that they’d be so popular.
It’s been said that some thought they were strange creatures back then. He had cross-bred two of his bulls with native Texas longhorns, and those crosses wintered better and weighed more in the spring. They proved a hardy bunch, and their good reputation kept growing from there. With their naturally hornless (polled) heads and black color, they stood apart from the rest when Mr. Grant exhibited them at the 1873 Kansas City Livestock Exposition. He was a man ahead of his time.
Today, the Angus breed is one of the largest in the world and is often prized for the distinct traits that made them so different back then. In fact, these cattle have a reputation for being low-maintenance and adaptable, a joy to have on the farm, and good for business. Their calm nature makes them a desirable breed, and the calves are known for low birth weights, a trait that makes calving easier all around.
Another advantage to raising Angus is their versatility. Since they have a solid genetic profile, the Angus’s black color protects against cancer eye and sunburned udders, something other breeds are more likely to have. When ranchers breed an Angus, they factor in a lot of Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), and that means there are a lot of calculations to consider in breeding. EPDs give an idea of what we can expect from the cattle’s offspring–everything from calving ease, birth weight, weaning weight, and yearling weight.
As we grow our herd, we’re focusing more on the Angus breed and paying close attention to the art of improving genetics. They’re wonderful animals, and it’s a new challenge to do justice to Mr. Grant’s legacy.