Dual Purpose Dexters

Dexters are a dual purpose breed and as such should be able to serve as a dairy and beef breed, one should be able to milk them to effect while the calves produced should be such that they can be efficiently finished into quality beef.

Dexters, as a dual purpose, homestead breed should be able to serve as the family milch cow while also providing adequate milk for their calf, setting it off to a good start in the production of delicious Dexter beef.  To provide the household with adequate milk and beef efficiently within the context of homestead equipment and inputs is the functional goal we have established for our Dexters.

The pictorial below, with editorial comment from our precocious Tess, displays the simplicity with which Dexters can serve the milch cow function of a dual purpose, homestead breed.   While additional equipment such as a simple stanchion might be desired and certainly shelter for more inclement weather, we find that with an efficient dairy maid (as pictured below) our home's milk supply can more than be fulfilled in such a fashion.

   "Hey!  Wait a minute! What goes on there?"          "Ahheem, ahhhem!  You do realize that is mine?"


     "May I request you leave a spot for me?"               "Let's keep this proclivity to a minimum. Hey?"

The other half of the dual purpose Dexter is their delicious beef.  Dexters as beef animals are ideally suited for the homestead, the small scale producer, and upscale, niche markets. 

Dexter beef, properly finished, is a superb eating experience - finely grained, good intramuscular marbling (choice and choice +), tender, and excellent flavor.  Excellent beef in a manageable portion size. 

Dexter beef finishes well in either traditional grain-fed or grass-fed production models.  Homozygous normal animals will finish at 18 to 24 months, grass-fed upper end of range.  Typical hanging carcass weight at SMD is in a range from 430 to 500 pounds and upper 50s to lower 60s percent dress out. 

Below are two
SMD Dexter steers.  One at 14 and the other at 20 months.   Both steers were finished at 20 months, continuing on a primarily grass/legume pasture diet/hay, supplemented the final 65 and 75 days  respectively with grain supplement (oat, corn, and a 12% protein sweet feed).   Link to recent SMD beef carcass data.
"Jack" at 14 months
Live weight at 20 months 840 lbs., hanging weight 509 lbs., cut out was 310 lbs (61%).   This steer at 12 months was the ADCA AGM Show, First Place Steer in Springfield, 2006. 
SMD Steer "SMD Dink.1"SMD Steer "SMD Dink"
"Dink" at 20 months.  Live weight at 20 months 800 lbs.