At the 2023 Cattlemen’s Congress, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, got the chance to catch up with the Executive Vice President of the American Maine Anjou Association, Blake Nelson. Hays and Nelson talk about today’s Maine Anjou breed across the United States.
“The Maine Anjou breed originated in France,” Nelson said. “They were first imported to Canada and then brought down there in the late 60s to the U.S.”
Initially, Nelson said, a full-blood Maine Anjou was red and white.
“We still have full bloods today, like a lot of the continentals, our breeders turned them black, which is the primary color of the breed today,” Nelson said.
The Maine Anjou breed, Nelson said, is one of the best breeds at converting forages to quality beef.
“That is something our cattle can do,” Nelson said. “We are kind of known as the ‘power cross,’ if you are wanting to put the muscle and beef back in your cow herd, Maine Anjou can do that as quickly in one generation as any breed out there.”
Nelson also talked about the MaineTainer Program.
“We require a quarter-blood Maine Anjou breed for them to be registrable, and then that from a showing standpoint, from a quarter blood up to 75 percent qualifies a MaineTainer,” Nelson said. “Then, after 75 (percent) we show those as high Maines.”
The Maine-Angus breed has also been developed, Nelson said, which adds the Maine Anjou’s growth and power to the maternal and functionality traits of Angus cattle.
“Those two breeds work extremely well,” Nelson said.
The Maine-Angus breed, Nelson said, is being geared more toward a commercial standpoint, and many producers have been impressed with the genetics.
“You are getting a lot of the same traits you see in some of those British breeds with just a little more punch to them,” Nelson said. “Particularly those calves, when they go to market, they will push down the scales and really do what they are supposed to do for our cattlemen.”
While many may think of the Maine Anjou breed as a ‘muscle breed’ or a ‘show breed,’ Nelson said, Maine Anjou has great maternal traits as well.
“Most of our cattle are really good-uddered, and have some longevity from that standpoint,” Nelson said. “In today’s world, feet are so critical in terms of foot shape, and hoof, and longevity. That is one place we are really strong.”
Like many other breeds in the beef industry, utilizing EPDs plays an important role in marketing Maine Anjou cattle to commercial breeders. Because the Maine Anjou breed is crossed frequently with the Angus breed, Nelson said Angus Genetics Incorporated genetically evaluates the Maine Anjou breed’s data.
“We feel like that is one of the strongest programs in the country and they do a great job getting our EPDs as accurate as possible so we can have those predictions and more information for our customers when they are thinking about the impact our cattle will make on their herds,” Nelson said.
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