Maine-Anjou - The Complete Breed
Maine-Anjou cattle offer a balance of important traits to the commercial industry to increase profits. Maine-Anjou is a complete breed which contributes maternal and growth traits, as well as a desirable colour, skin pigmentation and docility.
The Maine-Anjou Breed was founded in 1839 when the French Mancelle was crossed with the Durham - the purpose was to provide better Beef production. The French Mancelle provided hardiness, vigour and excellent milking-ability even under sparse feed conditions. The Durham provided quality carcase and rapid growth. In 1908 the success of the breed was assured so the Breeders formed a Society and named the cross Maine-Anjou. The name was derived from the two French Valleys where the new breed was flourishing. The Maine-Anjou excelled in their ability to grow and milk with only forage, and soon they were the most popular breed in that region. The combination of growth, milking ability and docility impressed practical cattlemen from Canada and the United States who saw the breed in France and this lead to the first Maine-Anjou importation into North America in 1969.
Maine-Anjou was introduced into Australia in 1973. Now in all States Maine-Anjou has distinguished itself by remarkable records in carcase evaluation tests, steer competitions and in Ausmeat Beef Trials. Beef lot buyers are delighted with their growth factor and docility. Well muscled in the correct places with a minimum layer of evenly distributed fat makes Maine-Anjou popular with butchers for their high yield and gourmets for their tenderness and flavour. Today the breed is world wide. Maine-Anjou International reports "Maine-Anjou has carved a niche for itself in the commercial beef industry of the world. Tests have found Maine-Anjou crossbreds to rank higher than most imported breeds in rate of growth and feed conversion".
Maine-Anjou and Shorthorns have similar ancestry - The Durham Shorthorn. Our breeds have many similar characteristics - high fertility, excellent milking ability, ease of calving and red or red and white based coat colouring. Our breeds have the same excellent temperament and longevity features.
Why then is there a difference?
The French Maine-Anjou Society was probably the first cattle association to introduce compulsory performance recording for milk and growth rates in cattle. This was linked with an animal classification system, whereby all animals are scored out of 100 points against the ideal standard. These standards continue today in France where half the Maine-Anjou female population is milk recorded by Government officials, whilst the other half rear the calves. The next year the roles are reversed. Performance for growth rates is also supervised by the French Government.
The Main-Anjou Cattle Society were the first to introduce genetic screening. All Maine-Anjou cattle exported from France have been genetic screened (karotyped) and the breed is recognised as one of the most genetically sound of tested breeds.
Today we find Maine-Anjou with a mature average weight of males around 1400 kgs and females around 800 kgs.
We believe our breed has a lot to offer Australian Cattle Breeders, their advantages are many. Today, there is a shortage of purebred Maine-Anjou cattle in Australia, and the demand for both pure and part breed is ever increasing.
Maine-Anjou offer breeders of red cattle an opportunity to introduce new blood lines, hybrid vigour and improved growth rates without altering their animals coat colour, feedlot operators are finding them the most efficient food converters producing dense carcases with a moderated fat cover and excellent marbling.