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Raising Pineywoods cattle

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

Easy to raise

Listen here to the radio mp3

Radio interview source: Jess Brown, president, Pineywoods Cattle Registry and Breeder's Association

Some cattle are so picky. They select only the choicest grass and turn their noses up at everything else.

Pineywoods cattle aren't so fussy. Accustomed to 500 years of the scruffy wooded terrain of the Gulf Coast, this Spanish breed is a small bovine that browses on brush, tree leaves, and twigs, just like goats.

Jess Brown, president of the Pineywoods Cattle Registry and Breeders Association, says the breed is naturally resistant to most diseases and easy to keep.

"Down here in the South we don't have any type of shelter for them," Brown says. "They live like they always have, you know, out in the wild. Probably up North in the cold, you might possibly need shelter where it snows real heavily and they've got several winter months, but down here, you know, they're just out."

Pineys are also called "woods cattle" and "Rakestraw". They are so named because of the way they push pine needles around with their horns to find something to eat. There are many sub-breeds, categorized by the differences in color, shape, and size. Some are larger, and others are smaller-framed. Because of these variables, it's hard to pinpoint a price range, but heifers start at about $650.

Beyond beef

Pineywoods cattle produce lean meat and rich milk, even though they're not considered a dairy breed.

"I was talking with a fella the other day that has one that he milks, and he says that right after he milks it he gets a lot of butterfat content that rises to the top. So we kind of would like to get people interested in the milk or cheese, that kind of aspect that way we could help the breed develop more."

Pineywoods numbers are at a critical point, with about 2,000 cattle alive today. But, enthusiasts are working to strengthen the herd.

Photo: Oklahoma State University

Learn more:

Pineywoods 101: Read a primer on this interesting breed, learn about their history, and more.

Florida Cracker/Pineywoods cattle: See more photos of Pineywoods cattle and learn more about the breed.

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