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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




Domestic cattle serve man in three ways, as draught animals and as producers of milk and meat. During the past 150 years selective breeding and improved husbandry have enabled breeders to develop breeds which have a high efficiency for either milk or meat production. The former are the dairy breeds, the latter the beef breeds. Between the two is a third class which produces both milk and beef, but less efficiently than the specialised breeds. These are the dual-purpose breeds. Although this section deals with beef cattle, some notice must be taken both of dual-purpose and of dairy cattle as the former played an important part in the development of beef farming while the latter contributes each year to beef production. Cull dairy cows supply manufacturing beef while surplus calves are slaughtered when a few days old for boneless veal. These are the “bobby” calves.

Beef production in overseas countries is a major farm project. The cattle are reared and fattened on roots, forage, and hay grown on the farm. These bulky foodstuffs are supplemented by concentrate grains (oats, barley, peas, beans) grown on the farm and with bought-in industrial by-products, such as linseed, soya bean, peanut or cotton cakes. Pasture is an unimportant contributor to the feeding programme.


Percival George Stevens, DIP.AGR., formerly Senior Lecturer in Animal Science, Lincoln Agricultural College and Robert Aitken Barton, DIP.AGR.M.A.C., M.INST.M., Senior Lecturer in Sheep Husbandry, Massey University of Manawatu.