Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 Selecting the beef steer
 Fitting and care of the beef...
 Training, grooming, and showing...
 Rope halters
 Back Cover

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; no. 421
Title: Selecting, fitting and showing the beef steer
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00015133/00001
 Material Information
Title: Selecting, fitting and showing the beef steer
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 37 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Glasscock, R. S ( Raymond Sylvester ), 1921-
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1946
Subject: Beef cattle -- Showing   ( lcsh )
Beef cattle -- Training   ( lcsh )
Beef cattle -- Grooming   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by R.S. Glasscock.
General Note: Cover title.
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00015133
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000925491
oclc - 18237942
notis - AEN6142

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    Selecting the beef steer
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Fitting and care of the beef steer
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Training, grooming, and showing the steer
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Rope halters
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Back Cover
        Page 38
Full Text

Bulletin 421

March, 1946





J. Thos. Gurney, Chairman, Orlando
N. B. Jordan, Quincy
Thos. W. Bryant, Lakeland
M. L. Mershon, Miami
J. Henson Markham, Jacksonville
J. T. Diamond, Secretary, Tallahassee


John J. Tigert, M.A., LL.D., President of the
H. Harold Hume, D.Sc., Provost for Agricul-
Harold Mowry, M.S.A., Director
L. O. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir., Research
W. M. Fifield, M.S., Asst. Dir., Admin.
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editors
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Associate Editors
Jeffeison Thomas, Assistant Editor3
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Manager3
K. H. Graham, LL.IY., Business Managers
Claranelle Alderman, Accountants



W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist'
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Agronomist'
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Agronomist
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate
Roy E. Blaser, M.S., Associate'
H. C. Harris, Ph.D., Associate
Fred A. Clark, B.S., Assistant


A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., An. Industrialist' a
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman3
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist3
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarians
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist'
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.3
G. K. Davis, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist
R. S. Glasscock, Ph.D., An. Husbandman
T. R. Freeman, Ph.D., Asso. in Dairy Mfg.
D. J. Smith, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.4
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy Husb.'
C. L. Comar, Ph.D., Asso. Biochemist
L. E. Mull, M.S., Asst. in Dairy Tech.
J. E. Pace, B.S., Asst. An. Husbandman'
Katherine Boney, B.S., Asst. Chem.
Ruth Taylor, A.B., Asst. Biochemist
Peggy R. Lockwood, B.S., Asst. in Dairy Mfs.
W. P. Vaughan, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.
W. J. Greene, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.
J. C. Driggers, B.S.A., Asst. Poultry Husb.


C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agri. Economist' 3
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associates
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Associate
Max E. Brunk, M.S., Associate6
D. E. Alleger, M.S., Associate
Wade P. Young, Ph.D., Associate

Orlando, Florida (Cooperative USDA)
G. Norman Rose, B.S., Asso. Agr. Economist
J. C. Townsend, Jr., B.S.A., Agr. Statistician'
J. B. Owens, B.S.A., Agr. Statistician2


Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.1
R. B. French, Ph.D., Biochemist

J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologisti
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Associate3
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant


G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist'
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Truck Hort.
Byron E. Janes, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
R. A. Dinnison, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
R. K. Showalter, M.S., Asso. Hort.
R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
Victor F. Nettles, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
J. Carlton Cain, B.S.A., Asst. Hort.5
F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.2


W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist':
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist and Botanist
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asst. Botanist


F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Chemist1 3
Gaylord M. Volk, M.S., Chemist5
J. R. Henderson, M.S.A., Soil Technologist
J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
L. G. Thompson, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
Nathan Gammon, Jr., Ph.D., Soils Chemist
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
L. H. Rogers, Ph.D., Associate Biochemist4
R. A. Carrigan, B.S., Asso. Biochemist
G. T. Sims, M.S.A., Associate Chemist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
Geo. D. Thornton, M.S., Asst. Microbiologist'
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Asst. Soil Surveyor4
Olaf C. Olson, B.S., Asst. Soil Surveyor4

'Head of Department.
2 In cooperation with U. S.
3 Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
4 In Military Service.
6 On leave.



J. D. Warner, M.S., Vice-Director in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Asso. Agron.
R. C. Bond, M.S.A., Asso. Agronomist
Frank D. Baker, Jr., B.S., Asst. An. Husb.

Mobile Unit, Monticello

R. W. Wallace, B.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Milton

Ralph L. Smith, M.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Marianna

R. W. Lipscomb, M.S., Associate Agronomist

Mobile Unit, Wewahitchka

J. B. White, B.S.A., Associate Agronomist


A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
V. C. Jamison, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
J. B. Redd, Ph.D., Insecticide Chemist
H. C. Beard, Ph.D., Chemist
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Entomologist
J. T. Griffiths, Ph.D., Entomologist
R. F. Suit, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. P. Ducharme, M.S., Plant Pathologist
B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
C. R. Stearns, Jr., B.S.A.,,Asso. Chemist
T. W. Young, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
J. W. Sites, M.S.A., Asso. Horticulturist5
W. W. Lawless, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
H. O. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist


BR. V. Allison, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist'
F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agron.
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Sugarcane
G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
B. S. Clayton, B.S.C.E., Drainage Eng.2
W. D. Wylie, Ph.D., Entomologist
W. T. Forsee, Jr., Ph.D., Asso. Chemist
F. S. Andrews, Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.4
Robt. L. Cassell, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.
T. C. Erwin, Assistant Chemist
R. A. Bair, Ph.D., Asst. Agronomist
Earl L. Felix, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Path.
C. C. Seale, Asst. Agronomist
L. O. Payne, B.S.A., Asst. Agronomist


Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Vice-Director in
P. J. Westgate, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
H. I. Borders, M.S., Asso. Plant Path.


Clement D. Gordon, Ph.D., Asso. Poultry
Geneticist in Charge2


W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., Vice-Director in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Associate Agronomist
Gilbert A. Tucker, B.S.A., Asst. An. Hush.4
D. W. Jones, B.S.A., Asst. An. Hush.
E. R. Felton, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.

G. K. Parris, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge

Plant City
A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist

A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Truck Horticulturist

S. O. Hill, B.S., Asst. Entomologist"
A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asst. Entomologist2

-J. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Horticulturist in
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
A. L. Harrison, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist
E. L. Spencer, Ph.Df., Soils Chemist
Robert 0. Magie, Ph.D., Hort., Glad. Inv.
Arthur J. Pratt, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.

R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Chemist in Charge
A. Alfred Foster, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.
J. C. Russell, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
Ben F. Whitner, Jr., B.S., Asst. Hort.

Warren O. Johnson, Meteorolgist2

1 Head of Department.
2 In cooperation with U. S.
3 Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
4 In Military Service.
SOn leave.


Part I. -SELECTING THE BEEF STEER .............................--..... ---------- 5
Basic Principles of Selecting a Beef Steer .............................. 5
Parts of the Steer .........-..............-- ..... .............. ........ 6
General Beef Cattle Terms .................................................... 6
Terms for Fat Steers .............................................. 11
Explanation of Terms ........... ------ --------............................. 12
Beef Type .....................-- ------.......................... 12
F finish .................................... ............................ ..................... 12
Quality ....- ---........ --............-.. ......................... 13
Balance and Symmetry --............... -----............................ 13
Uniformity of Width and Straightness of Lines ................ 13
Style and Breed Character .....................----............-......... 13
Use of Terms ............:-----...............-........-................. 14
Selecting the Calf ............................................................... 16

Part II. -FITTING AND CARE OF THE BEEF STEER ........................................ 16
Castrating the Calf ...................................................................... 16
Milk for Fitting Show Steers .................................................. 17
Classification of Feeds ................................ .............................. 17
N nutrients ........................................ ............................................ 18
Roughage Feeds ......................---------........--- ..................... 19
Protein Concentrates ........................................ ........................... 19
Carbohydrate Concentrates .................................................... .. 20
F feeding ........................................... ........................... 21
Suggested Feed Mixtures ..................... ............................. 21
Starting the Calf on Feed ........................................................ 21
Care and A attention ............................................. ...................... 22

Part III.-TRAINING, GROOMING AND SHOWING THE STEER ........................ 23
Teaching to Lead .................................................... ..................... 23
T raining ............................................................................................. 24
Training to Stand Properly ........................................ ...... 24
Showing to Best Advantage ............................................... 25
G room ing ..................................................................... .................... 25
Care of the Feet .......................................... ..................... 25
W washing the Steer .................................. ...... .............. 26
Curling the H air ................. ..... ... ... ............... -27
C lipping ....................................... -... ........ ....... 28
Show ing ................................................... .................... 29
Equipment ........................ ........................... 29
Arrival at Show Grounds .....-.............--........ ................ 29
Final Preparation for the Show .......................-............... 29
Show Ring Procedure ...................... ...................... 31

Part IV .- ROPE H ALTERS ............................ ............ .................................... 31
Making the Nose Piece ----............... -----....................... 32
Loop Splice .......... ................... ...- ................. .... 32
Eye Splice ....... ....................................................... 33
Finishing K nots ................................................ .... ............ 34
Crow n K not ............................................. ............. 34
W all K not ..................... ......... .................................................. 35





It is impossible to express in writing all the details regarding
the knowledge which has been obtained from practical experi-
ence in fitting and showing steers. It is impossible to become
a successful feeder and showman merely from the study of
printed material. However, a study of all available literature
is helpful to the beginner. This bulletin is prepared to furnish
to 4-H club members, beginners in animal husbandry, and stu-
dents of vocational agriculture information that will be of value
in their early experiences with livestock and serve as a founda-
tion for those who may choose a career with beef cattle.
Good breeding, feeding and management are the primary
essentials for successful livestock production. To understand
these principles and to carry them out effectively requires not
only years of study but also a strong desire to be responsible
for the welfare of animals. It requires living with livestock
to the extent of being able to understand their likes and dislikes
and to know their language, even though they do not speak.
The reward in money is not great as compared with the pleasure
and satisfaction which is experienced only by those who love

The first consideration in selecting a calf for the prospective
beef steer should be breeding. Good breeding is not absolutely
essential, but most steers with excellent qualifications are well
bred. The selection should be based only partly upon the pedi-
gree of an animal, because some individuals showing poor type
are well bred. It is advisable to study, if possible, both the sire
and dam of the prospective steer, because both parents exert
a tremendous influence upon the way he may develop. The
safest plan is to select a calf upon the basis of both breeding
and conformation. Some excellent crossbred calves have been
produced but the purebred should have first choice, especially
for the beginner. Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

selection, keeping in mind that once a choice is made the chance
for developing a winning steer has been largely determined.
The age and weight limits of the entries in the classes for
a livestock show should be understood thoroughly so that a
calf may be selected that will approach the upper weight limits
of his class. Size in itself is not of importance because beef
sells by the pound, but a steer fattens more readily the nearer
he approaches maturity. It is impossible for light steers to
carry the same degree of finish as heavy steers, and the amount
and quality of finish contribute more to the evaluation of fat
steers than any other single factor.
To select a calf or converse intelligently about cattle, one
must understand the language of cattlemen and know what
constitutes an ideal animal. It is also necessary to become
thoroughly familiar with the parts of a steer and the terms
which are used in describing them. In addition, a good judge
not only must be able to give an accurate description of the
animal under consideration but he must know what denotes
perfect qualities and be able to evaluate them in order of im-
portance. Each individual presents a different problem and
all qualities must be weighed accurately to arrive at a true
The first problem is to become thoroughly familiar with the
parts of a steer. A careful study of Figue 1 in connection with
the live animal is recommended.

Many general terms are common to the vocabulary of cattle-
men. These terms vary somewhat in different sections of the
country; however, most of them are understood generally by
men who know beef cattle. The following list includes most of
the common terms.
Baby beeves-fat cattle 9-15 months old weighing 700-900
pounds, usually of high market grade.
Blocky-deep, wide, low set and compact.
Breed-a group of animals possessing certain well-defined dis-
tinguishing characteristics and which are able to reproduce
these characteristics in their offspring with a reasonable degree
of certainty.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer 7

19 s 37

31- 31-
32 32-

Fig. 1.-Parts of the Steer.
1. Face 11. Shoulder 19. Tailhead 29. Knee
2. Nostril 12. Point of 20. Tail 30. Shank
3. Muzzle shoulder 21. Rump 31. Dewclaw
4. Poll 13. Shoulder 22. Thigh 32. Foot
5. Forehead vein 23. Ribs 33. Switch
6. Neck 14. Crops 24. Cod 34. Hock
7. Dewlap 15. Back 25. Hindflank 35. Forerib
8. Ear 16. Loin 26. Foreflank 36. Twist
9. Eye 17. Loin end 27. Pizzle 37. Top of
10. Brisket 18. Hooks 28. Arm shoulder

Breed character-a combination of masculinity or femininity
with ideal breed type features. The head and color markings
are given considerable attention in sizing up breed character.
Breed type-a particular form, typical of the breed, together
with those special characteristics in head and color markings
which are common to the particular breed.
Bull-the male of cattle generally used for breeding purposes.
Bullock-English term for a fat steer.
Calf-young animal of cattle species; usually under 1 year of
Carcass-the dressed body of a meat animal, the usual items
of offal having been removed.
Cattle-more than 1 of bovine species.
Close breeding-breeding sire to daughter, son to dam, brother
to full sister.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Cod-scrotum of steer with its content of fat.
Condition-degree of fatness in meat animals.
Constitution-general bodily vigor, indicated by rugged bone,
large heart girth and roomy middle.
Cow-mature female of cattle species.
Crops-the part of a beef animal just behind the upper half of
the shoulders. It extends from the top line about half way
down the side.
Crossbred-animal resulting from mating of purebreds of
the same species but of different breeds.
Dewlap-loose skin found on brisket and neck of some cattle.
Dewclaw-rudimentary toes. There are 2 at the rear and
above each pastern joint.
Disposition or temperament-a tendency to act in a certain
Dressing percent-the percentage which the weight of the
chilled carcass is of the live weight.
dressed wt.
X 100 = dressing percent
live wt.
Early maturity-(1) reaches full development at an early age;
(2) reaches market size and finish quickly; (3) tendency to grow
and fatten at the same time.
Fecundity-ability to produce eggs or sperms regularly.
Femininity-possessing well developed secondary female sex
characters, such as refinement of head and neck and udder de-
Fertile-able to reproduce regularly.
Fill-the amount of feed and water in an animal.
Finish-refers to fatness; highly finished means very fat.
Foot-horny box and its contents, not the entire leg.
Freemartin-a sterile heifer twin born with a bull. A few
heifers twinned with bulls are not freemartins; that is, they
are able to reproduce.
Gobby-lumpy in fleshing; extremely poor distribution of fat.
Grade-an animal not eligible for registration but 1 of its
parents may be purebred.
Heifer-a female of the cattle species under 3 years of age;
usually applied to those that have not produced a calf.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

High grade-an animal possessing 871/2 percent or more of
pure breeding but never 100 percent.
Inbreeding-broadly speaking, the mating of related animals.
Most breeders describe the mating of closely related animals
as inbreeding.
Leggy-legs too long, body too high from the ground.
Marbling-distribution of fat in irregular streaks in lean meat.
Gives meat the appearance of marble.
Masculinity-possession of well developed secondary male sex
characters in head, neck, shoulders and crest.
Muley-naturally hornless or polled.
Natural fleshing-lean meat or muscle.
Offal-all organs and tissues removed from the inside of the
carcass in slaughtering.
Open shoulders-shoulder blades too far apart at top and held
Outcross-the introduction, into a herd which is more or less
related, of blood from some outside and unrelated source but
of the same breed.
Patchy-having lumps of exterior fat which prevent the
smooth finish desired.
Paunchy-applied to an animal which carries too much belly.
Pedigree-a written statement giving the record of an ani-
mal's ancestry.
Poll-top of head.
Polled-naturally hornless, a muley.
Prepotency-the ability of an animal to transmit its own
qualities to its offspring.
Prolific-a prolific individual is- one that produces regularly
and numerously.
Purebred-an animal of pure breeding, eligible for registra-
tion in its breed association.
Quality-fineness of texture; freedom from coarseness.
Rangy-too much length of body, associated with too much
length of leg.
Roman nose-the profile of the face as viewed from the side
is convex.
Rugged-big, strong and sturdy.
Scrub-a very inferior animal in breeding and conformation.
Scurs-small, imperfectly formed horns, not attached to the

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Shank-in the live meat animal it is the part of the leg be-
tween the knee and ankle, and between the hock and ankle.
Shoulder vein-the line formed by junction of side of neck
and shoulder.
Spayed heifer-a heifer whose ovaries have been removed by
an operation.
Fig. 2.-Grand champion steer of the 1944 Oklahoma City Club Show.
A steer of ideal type, showing extreme shortness, thickness and depth.
(Photo courtesy American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders Association.)
IMMs is -V -4

suwmflW h It

esni nlo-w A


i"' lJL

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

Stag-a male which was castrated after reaching breeding
age. Secondary sexual characters are more or less developed.
Steer-male of cattle species, castrated at an early age.
Stylish and attractive-possessing a pleasing conformation
coupled with animation and gracefulness of carriage.
Tailtie-a tie on the tailhead caused by the hide adhering
to bone.
Thigh-the outside of the hind leg between the rump and
hock. Should be wide and bulging, carrying down as close to
the hock as possible.
Tie-a depression or dimple on the back of cattle, caused by
adhesion of hide to vertebrae.
Twist.-fleshing between the hind legs; should be full and
Type-the general desired form of an animal which adapts
it for a particular purpose.
Typy-possessing the desired form.
Wasty-applied to a carcass which has too much fat, requires
excessive trimming; may also be applied to paunchy live animals.

The following terms and descriptive statements apply specific-
ally to fat steers. Some statements are used to describe good
qualities while other expressions may be used to criticise an
animal adversely. A study of these statements will be helpful
in building a vocabulary. No effort should be made to memorize,
because each steer requires a different list of terms. Simple,
effective language should be used and no statement should be
made that does not apply accurately to the individual in question.
In judging a fat steer, one should consider-(1) finish, (2)
type, (3) quality, (4) smoothness and (5) dressing qualities.
Descriptive statements include the following:
1. A short, thick, deep-bodied steer that is close to the ground.
2. A little long of leg but nicely balanced and covered evenly.
3. A smooth-shouldered steer of great depth and spread.
4. A steer with a strong top and a thick, firm covering of
flesh over his crops, back, ribs and loin.
5. A steer that carries his width out nicely through his rump,
with a smooth tail setting and a deep, bulging quarter.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

6. A trim-middled steer with more finish than the other
7. A loose-shouldered steer that is easy in his top and heavy
in his middle.
8. Because he is a small-quartered steer that lacks in finish
and is heavy in his middle, he will not dress out as high or hang
up as nice a carcass as the other 3 steers.
9. A typy steer, but he lacks quality, finish and smoothness.
10. The nicest handling steer in the class.
11. A long, shallow-bodied, light-quartered steer that is high
off the ground.
12. Deep in the quarter and full in the twist.
13. He will hang up a nicely balanced carcass.
14. Because he has more finish he will dress out higher and
hang up a more desirable carcass.

A great number of terms are used in describing fat cattle
and no effort will be made to consider many of them in detail.
We are interested in the qualifications of an ideal steer, to under-
stand why such qualities are valuable and to be able to dis-
cuss the good and bad points intelligently. Only the most com-
mon and effective terms are essential and a knowledge of their
proper use permits one to give an accurate picture of an animal
with only a few words.
Beef Type.-Beef type is a combination of characteristics
which makes an animal most useful for beef production. Re-
gardless of breed, all beef animals should be short, thick and
deep. Thickness and depth cannot be over-emphasized and in-
dividuals showing beef type are relatively short and close to
the ground. This means that beef type also requires shortness
of legs. The shortest and lowest-set individuals are not always
the most desirable but these qualities are closely correlated with
thickness and depth. Beef type is not just a show yard re-
quirement. It has been proven that animals possessing beef
type, other things being equal, are superior from the standpoint
of beef production.
Finish.-Finish refers to the amount, quality and distribu-
tion of fat. It is the most important single factor to consider
in determining the value of a steer. It brings out the type of

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

the individual by adding greatly to his thickness and it increases
his depth, especially at the rear flank. Finish is a valuable
factor in increasing the dressing percentage and contributes
greatly to the smoothness and general appearance of the steer
and carcass. Finish increases the value of the meat, improving
its palatability, energy value and keeping qualities. A steer
must be fat to produce meat of superior quality. Finish should
be ample but not excessive, uniform in distribution over the
various parts of the body, and firm, yet springy to the touch.
A steer finished in this manner is referred to as having finish
of high quality.
Quality.-Quality is a factor that is understood by all experi-
enced stockmen but is difficult to express. It is determined by
both sight and touch and even the amateur cannot overlook it.
Quality is closely associated with refinement and smoothness.
It is the opposite of coarseness. It is indicated by smoothness
of joints, and bone of proper size in relation to the size of the
animal. Refinement of head, straightness and smoothness of
outline, soft, thin pliable skin and silkiness of hair coat all de-
note quality. Quality makes an animal have a clean-cut and
stylish appearance.
Balance and Symmetry.-Balance and symmetry refer to the
development of all parts of the body in relation to each other.
A steer that is heavy in front and light behind lacks balance.
All parts must be developed uniformly to make a well-balanced
individual and a nicely-balanced carcass is in much greater de-
mand than one that lacks symmetry.
Uniformity of Width and Straightness of Lines.-When viewed
from the rear it is not desirable for any part of the finished
steer, from his shoulders back, to extend beyond, or recede,
from a straight line. This should hold true for a line at any
given point along the side.
The top line should be straight and level out to the tailhead
and parallel with the bottom line. These qualifications require
trimness of middle as well as uniformity in development, a tight
frame with smoothly laid shoulders, deep well-sprung ribs, and
a lack of prominence at the hooks. A heavy-middled steer is
referred to as "paunchy" and is discriminated against because
his dressing percentage or the proportion of carcass he will
yield in relation to his live weight will be low.
Style and Breed Character.-The value of style and character
cannot be determined in dollars and cents; but they are factors

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

that attract the judge and the buyer. Style is associated with
quality, a short, wide, attractive head, good breeding and perfect
conformation. Not only conformation with regard to beef type
but straight legs squarely placed under the body and good sound
feet are required to permit the steer to move with grace and
to have poise when not in motion. Style is the opposite of
sluggishness, coarseness and lack of quality. A stylish steer
is always alert, yet he should be submissive and well-mannered.
The steer with a fine "personality" has a decided advantage.
It is also an advantage for a steer to show breed character,
especially about his head and in his color markings. All his
characteristics should be typical of the breed which he repre-
Use of Terms.-There are certain terms that should be used
in describing a grand champion steer. The following description
is suggested. "He is a typy, well-balanced steer, trim in his
middle, with plenty of finish, quality and smoothness." The
entire picture is framed in this one sentence, which is satis-
factory in a general way. However, all top animals possess these
qualities and it is necessary to distinguish between individuals
that vary only in minor points. It must be remembered that
the above sentence may mean little to one not thoroughly familiar
with beef cattle terms.
The description may be expanded as follows:
"He is a short, thick, deep-bodied steer that is close to the
ground, showing a lot of finish, type, quality and smoothness.
He has a deep, full chest and a short neck blending smoothly
into his shoulders. His shoulders are smooth and he has deep,
well-sprung ribs and a straight top line. He has a lot of spread
and is uniform in width through the shoulders, back and loin.
He is a steer that carries his width out nicely through his rump,
with a smooth tail setting and a deep bulging quarter. He is
deeply fleshed with a firm, uniform covering over his shoulders,
crops, back, ribs and loin. He is trim in his middle and straight
in his underline. A steer with the above qualifications will dress
out high and hang up a well-balanced carcass that will show
plenty of quality and smoothness. Such carcasses bring top
prices on the market."
It requires the understanding and usage of a large vocabu-
lary to be able to describe, compare and contrast all the vari-
ations which occur in different animals. No attempt has been

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

made to complete such a study in this publication. All efforts
have been confined primarily to the desirable qualities of a beef
steer so that one will be able to recognize and appreciate out-
standing individuals, and to understand why such qualities are
in demand. It is this knowledge that will prove most valuable
in selecting the show calf.

Fig. 3.-This steer shows the extreme thickness, finish and quality
essential for the production of high grade carcasses. Notice the straight-
ness of top and underlines and trimness of middle. (Photo courtesy Ameri-
can Hereford Association.)

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

In selecting the calf it should be remembered that he is the
foundation of the finished product. Only size and finish can be
added. Finish will bring out his good points but his type cannot
be changed. A good prospect must have beef type, straight-
ness of lines, smoothness and quality, and above all he must
be well-balanced. One should select a growth calf that is a
good feeder; however, a coarse-boned calf that will mature into
a large animal is not desirable because most of his gains will
be in growth and it will be difficult to get him fat enough to
show. Neither should one select the extremely fine-boned calf
that will not have the ability to make satisfactory gains.


The proper development of a calf into a finished steer depends
upon the understanding and application of good feeding and
management practices. It requires time, study and effort to
bring out the best in the individual, and no one can surpass the
inherited possibilities possessed by the calf. If the selection
has been good the possibilities are almost unlimited. Fortun-
ately, if a determined effort is put forth, the value derived by
the experience of fitting and showing a calf of medium quality
may be just as valuable as from the development of a winner.
One of the greatest assets a boy or girl can have is to know
how to lose gracefully, even though he or she has done a perfect
job. The valuable experience gained in the process of fitting
and showing a steer can never be lost.

Care should be exercised with regard to the age of the calf
when he is castrated. If castrated before a month of age, a
steer will appear too feminine. If allowed to go over 6 months
of age he may become staggy. Most calves become more robust
and even superior in conformation if not castrated until they
are 4 or 5 months of age, but the time required to develop to
the proper point varies with each individual.
The burdizzo is used for castration most often in this section
of the country, and is satisfactory if the operation is done
properly. If a knife is used, the incisions should be made on
the front side of the scrotum so the scars will not show.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

It is desirable for the calf to nurse during the greater part
of the fitting process. If the mother is a poor milker, an addi-
tional cow or a good nurse cow should be used. If the calf
must be weaned from its mother, a good nurse cow should be
used. Competitors will be encountered who have used a liberal
supply of milk in feeding their show animals; therefore, ani-
mals that have not received an abundant supply of milk will be
shown at a disadvantage. Many will have nurse cows at the
show but this is not always best. Some calves will get too
heavy in the middle if allowed to nurse until show time. Calves
with nurse cows are often difficult to show properly because
they will be fretting and bawling for the cow. However, if the
calf has not been weaned, it will make matters worse to leave
the cow at home. It is good practice to wean the calf before
show time. Some shows have regulations requiring calves to
be weaned at 8 or 10 months of age.
The calf should not run with the cow but should be allowed
to nurse after the morning and evening grain feedings. Always
feed and nurse at a regular time. Grain also should be fed
at noon.
To do a good job of feeding, it is necessary to have a general
knowledge of the feeds used. Feeds are classified into 2 groups:
roughages and concentrates.
Roughages are feeds high in fiber and relatively low in total
digestible nutrients. They include the various hays, grasses,
silages, straws, stovers and some by-products. Since they are
lower in available nutrients than concentrates, it requires large
quantities of such feeds to support animal life.
Cattle are adapted for the utilization of roughages and have
a complex digestive system consisting of a stomach with 4
compartments. They swallow such feeds with very little chew-
ing and regurgitate later for mastication. This process is called
rumination and the animals are known as ruminants. Cattle
belong to this classification and they require some roughage
even when on a full feed of grain.
Concentrates are feeds low in fiber and high in total digest-
ible nutrients. They include the grains and many by-product
feeds. The finishing of cattle is based on reducing the amount
of roughage they consume and increasing the amount of con-

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

centrates. This gives a consumption of nutrients far above
their requirements for maintenance and the excess is utilized
for growth and storage of fat.
The nutrients contained in feeds may be classified as proteins,
carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins. These nutrients
must be furnished in adequate amounts, and an efficient or
well-balanced ration must supply them in accordance with the
requirements of the animal.
Protein is necessary for growth and repair of body tissues.
The younger animal grows at a more rapid rate; therefore, the
percentage of protein in his ration should be higher than for
an older animal. Protein may be supplied in legume hays,
pasture grasses, linseed meal, peanut meal, soybean meal, cot-
tonseed meal or cake and wheat. bran. Corn gluten meal or
velvet beans may be used to supply a part of the protein if
desired. Milk is high in protein.
Carbohydrates and fats furnish heat and energy for the body.
Any excess above these requirements is converted into fat and
stored for future use. This is the primary function which
must be accomplished in fattening cattle, but growth occurs
at the same time which requires protein. Corn, barley, oats
and wheat are concentrate feeds that furnish carbohydrates
and some fat. Fats are also present in the protein supplements.
Blackstrap molasses supplies carbohydrates but no fats.
Minerals are used for storage in the skeleton and tissues and
in the functioning of body processes. Common salt should be
available for the calf at all times. Steamed bone meal or de-
fluorinated superphosphate may be added to the grain ration
to the extent of 2 pounds per 100 pounds of feed until the calf
is consuming around 12 pounds of grain daily; then the mineral
may be reduced to 1 pound per 100 pounds of feed. This gives
a good source of calcium and phosphorus when the calf is weaned
but is not necessary while the calf is nursing.
On certain soil types where all the roughages are grown
locally it may be desirable to give the calf access to the regular
"salt sick" mineral which is available at many feed stores.
Vitamins are not likely to be deficient in the ration except
for vitamins A and D. The calf should have access to some
green feed because grains and poor quality hay are low in vita-
mins A and D.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

Western prairie hay is probably the best roughage known for
fitting show cattle. Good legume hays are satisfactory and
offer the advantage of furnishing extra protein and minerals,
but care is required in feeding. However, any hay may be used
with good success if it is palatable, well cured and free from
mold and dirt. Good silage may be used to replace a part of
the hay early in the feeding period but it should be used with
caution. Poor quality silage or improper feeding of good silage
may cause digestive disorders and paunchiness.
Alfalfa hay is one of the most valuable roughages obtainable
when in the hands of an experienced feeder. It is difficult to
buy high quality alfalfa hay in Florida.
High quality cowpea hay is excellent, especially if some grass
or prairie hay can be fed with it. Alyce clover, kudzu and
timothy are satisfactory hays. Roughages are used to furnish
bulk. They also furnish some minerals, vitamins, protein and
energy, but most of the nutrients come from the concentrate
part of the ration. It is necessary to have some palatable rough-
age, the choice being based upon price and availability. Pasture
grasses or some green feed should be used as a part of the

Linseed meal is one of. the most valuable protein supplements
for show cattle. It is not higher in feeding value than the other
supplements but it has a laxative effect, helps in making a
smooth finish, and is superior in giving bloom to the hair coat.
Linseed meal should be fed in limited quantities because it may
cause too much looseness of the bowels. Its advantages may
be had when used to the extent of 5 percent of the grain ration.
Linseed meal should be fed in the pea size if available but is
satisfactory in the form of meal.
Peanut meal, soybean meal and cottonseed meal are excellent
sources for making up the remainder of the protein supplement
to be fed. A mixture will supply protein of higher quality than
single supplements, but it is not essential to have all of these
Peanut meal must be fed fresh for good results, since it does
not keep well. Soybean meal is probably the least palatable
of these supplements but it will prove satisfactory in a mixed

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

feed. Cottonseed meal is an excellent source of protein and is
usually available on Florida markets.

Corn is the ideal carbohydrate concentrate for finishing cat-
tle. It is unexcelled in palatability and as a source of energy,
but it is deficient in protein, minerals and vitamins. Ground
snapped corn is the most common form used locally and is satis-
factory for about the first half of the feeding period. It should
be ground coarsely and not pulverized, as practiced by most
feed concerns. In bringing the calf to full feed for the last half
of the feeding period the ground snapped corn should be replaced
gradually by adding a fraction of a pound daily of coarsely
cracked shelled corn, or the feedings can be increased with
cracked corn.
Barley, when ground coarsely or rolled, is excellent for add-
ing variety to the feed. It is not satisfactory for cattle when
ground finely. Barley gives a firm, smooth finish and is used
extensively for fattening cattle in regions where it is grown.
Boiled barley is relished by cattle and is used effectively in
many show herds. It may prove valuable in helping to keep
the calf on full feed.
Shallu or any of the grain sorghums may be used for a part
of the grain ration. Their feeding value will be from 10 to 20
percent less than shelled corn. Such grains should be cracked.
Oats are higher in protein and minerals than corn or barley and
are exceptionally good for starting calves on feed. They are
palatable and add bulk, which insures against over-eating. For
feeding, oats should be ground coarsely, crimped or rolled.
Wheat may be used as a part of the grain ration if absolutely
necessary. It should be cracked and introduced as only a small
part of the ration. In large quantities it may cause calves to
bloat and go off feed. It requires an experienced feeder to use
wheat with success.
Blackstrap molasses has approximately the same value as corn
per unit of weight. It is too laxative to be used in large amounts
for show cattle. Molasses is used most effectively as an ap-
petizer. One-fourth to 1/2 pound diluted with enough water to
dampen the feed is excellent as an inducement to keep calves
on full feed.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer


Suggested Feed Mixtures.-Some of the above feeds may not
be available at all times. It is not necessary to have a wide
variety of feeds to fit a steer for showing. Any of the protein
supplements will replace the linseed meal with good results, but
it is desirable to use linseed meal if available. The following
is an effective ration:
Ground snapped or ground shelled corn ........ 50 pounds
Coarsely ground oats ....- ............. ..-... 15 pounds
Coarsely ground barley ........... ......... ........ 15 pounds
W heat bran ...................... .................. 10 pounds
Cottonseed, peanut or soybean meal .............. 5 pounds
Linseed meal ...... ......................... ... 5 pounds

If wheat bran is not available use 20 pounds df oats and 20
pounds of barley, instead of 15, or 40 pounds of oats if barley
is not available. This will furnish ample protein even if legume
hay is not available, provided the calf is nursing. When the
calf is weaned use 15 pounds of protein supplement. Be sure
that all feeds used are fresh and free from mold. Always ob-
serve the appetite of the calf and the condition of the manure.
The droppings should be soft but not watery. It may be of
advantage in the latter part of the feeding period (depending
upon the condition and appetite of the steer) to moisten the
feed with a pint to a quart of blackstrap molasses that has
been diluted with an equal volume of water. Cane syrup or
brown sugar may be used if molasses is not available. Increase
gradually the ground shelled corn to make up about 70 percent
of the ration and reduce the oats or barley and oats combination
to about 20 percent and the protein supplement to 10 percent.
A steer should consume almost 2 percent of his weight daily
of this feed. Recommendations for the use of mineral supple-
ments are given on page 18.
Starting the Calf on Feed.-Start the calf by giving only
about 1/2 pound of grain at a feeding. Feed 3 times daily and
at regular intervals. After 1 hour carefully remove any feed
that is left and clean the box. Stale feed will cause trouble.
Increase the amount of feed about 14 pound daily when the
calf appears anxious for more. It will take 3 or 4 weeks to get
him on full feed if he has not been fed grain previously. Each
calf is a different problem, but on the average a calf will consume
about 2 pounds of grain for each 100 pounds of body weight.
A 400-pound calf should eat 8 pounds of concentrates daily to

22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

make satisfactory gains. Roughage should be fed only after
the grain ration has been consumed. He will need only about
3 pounds of hay daily when on full feed.

Every effort should be made to see that the calf is comfort-
able. Plenty of fresh clean water should be provided at all
times, and during hot weather he should be kept in a cool
darkened stall to avoid flies and sunshine. Show calves must
be kept out of the hot sun. A clean well-bedded stall with
burlap sacks hung in the openings is ideal. The sacks will make
it dark enough to keep out the flies but will let the air pass
through to keep the stall cool. Turn the steer into a small lot

Fig. 4.-An extremely low-set and compact Shorthorn steer. Notice
that the head is not clipped-horned breeds generally are shown without
having their heads clipped. (Photo courtesy Shorthorn World.)

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

at night for grass and exercise. If allowed to fill up on grass
during the day, the feeding program will be disrupted. The
wet grass will help keep his feet in excellent condition.
If the calf is wild, feed should quiet him down considerably
within a few days. Put a gentle calf with him if possible. He
will eat more readily if he has some competition and it is good
practice to feed another calf with him or next to him. He
should not be disturbed more than necessary. When a calf
has gained a little confidence in his master, brushing will do
much to make him gentle. Continued brushing will cause him
to gain complete confidence and to look to his master for feed
and grooming. Response to feed will be much better after this

In addition to fitting and proper care, a number of details
must be carried out if the steer is to be shown to best advant-
age. These details require time, patience and practice, but
there is no use to begin a project unless one is willing to devote
the time that is required to complete these details. This part
of the procedure will be of most value to a boy or girl in later
years, provided a determined effort is put forth. One becomes
successful and more capable only by overcoming obstacles, and
the more completely this job is carried out the greater will be
the benefit derived by the experience. It is not necessary to
win a prize to profit from the experience which may be gained
from fitting and showing a steer. A boy or girl with the best
steer in the show may not win, unless the steer is presented
properly, and if a steer is not trained and shown properly the
owner does not deserve to win anything. Many judges will not
consider a calf that is not well shown and most shows bar the
entry of animals that are not halter-broken.

When the calf becomes perfectly gentle he should be taught
to wear a halter. No attempt should be made to lead him until
he no longer greatly objects to being altered.
The next part of the training program is teaching him to
stand tied. At grooming time he should be tied with about 2
feet of rope at least as high as the level of his head so that

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

it will be impossible for him to get a front foot over the rope.
He will struggle to get loose but brushing will help to keep him
quiet. He should not be allowed to exert himself until he be-
comes tired. A few minutes of such training each day will soon
have him enjoying this part of the program. Standing tied
teaches a calf respect for a halter.
After the above training, it should be an easy job to teach
the calf to lead. One should walk closely by his left side and
let the calf move first if necessary. It is advisable to have
someone follow behind to encourage him to move forward. A
gentle cow led by his side or in front of him may be helpful.
One should be firm in the treatment of a calf but should not
abuse or rush him during any part of the training program.
If handled properly, he will have every confidence in his master
and look to him for fair treatment. If this confidence is de-
stroyed, much time will be lost and bad habits may be developed
that will be regretted even to the day of the show. The proper
training of a calf requires time, patience and kindness.

Training to Stand Properly.-One of the most difficult jobs
is teaching the calf to stand properly. His feet should be placed
squarely under him and well apart. A light stick about 4 feet
long with a blunt nail driven crosswise through the end is
necessary in this part of the training program.
When possible, one should show or "set-up" the steer with
his front feet on higher ground than his rear feet. As soon as
the steer is brought to a standing position, one should lift at
the lead strap and "square up" his front feet by using a foot
to place the steer's front feet in position. Press on the front
of his foot to make him move it back, or lift on his dewclaw
with the toe if it is desired to have him move it forward. When
the front feet are in proper position the rear feet may be placed
in the desired position by the use of the stick that has just
been described. The point of the stick may be pressed high
between the' toes if it is wished to have him move his foot back.
The nail may be hooked back of a dewclaw and a slight pull
will cause him to step forward. With repeated efforts he will
understand what is desired and it will be possible to make him
pose properly with very little effort. He should be taught to
keep his head up in an alert position.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

Showing to Best Advantage.-It may be necessary to use some
variations in order to show the steer at his best. A low-backed
steer can sometimes be shown to better advantage with his
feet on one side a little closer together than the other two. A
high loin may be pulled in line by placing the hind feet slightly
back. A high loin and a low rump may be improved by pinching
or poking over the loin. With a low back the rear feet should
be brought slightly forward. A low back may be lined out by
pressing the nail in the end of the show stick against his belly
or by grasping a handful of hair in his fore flank and pulling
upward. He should not be allowed to get in the habit of com-
pletely relaxing. Even though he is a pet he should be made
to realize that this part of his training is serious business. This
is no time to scratch or pet him except for a stroke or two
when he responds favorably. He should be kept alert. A steer
usually will be more tense and make a better appearance in the
show ring if not too many strangers have handled him. He
should be taught to stand at attention for at least 10 minutes
at a time. It will likely require much longer in the show ring.
A steer should not be worn out from excessive training, and
excessive punching and prodding will make him resent this part
of the program. Patience and gentleness are essentials.


Care of the Feet.-The feet are the first thing to consider in
the way of grooming. When the hoofs have grown too long they
are unsightly and it is impossible for the steer to walk correctly.
In addition, his legs may develop improperly. A steer that car-
ries himself perfectly and stands squarely on all 4 feet is shown
to a decided advantage. Some steers have feet that require
very little attention but others must be checked every 2 or 3
months. This is sometimes a difficult job if regular cattle stocks
are not available. To do a good job it is almost necessary to
turn the foot back and strap it to a solid object so the trimming
can be done from the bottom. The feet can be trimmed with
less difficulty early in the morning while they are wet with dew.
The sole of the foot should not be trimmed to any great ex-
tent. Sometimes it is necessary to square it up slightly but
very little cutting is required. With a pair of hoof "nippers"
clip the horny wall of the foot so that it extends just a little
beyond the sole. Continue all the way around the end and

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

inside the toe. If the toes curl in, correct this by trimming
inside so they will point straight forward. Rasp smooth and
level. If the outside walls are rough, work them down smooth
with sandpaper and emery cloth. Steel wool or a broken piece
of glass may be used effectively. Any injuries should be dis-
infected. Neatsfoot oil applied to the hoof wall helps to keep it
soft and in a healthy condition.
Some calves can be trained so that their feet can be held up
and trimmed, but some will have to be thrown if proper equip-
ment is not available. To throw the calf, have a man hold him
by the halter. Tie a long rope around his neck so that it will
not slip. With this same rope throw a half-hitch around his
body just back of his fore legs and then another just in front
of his hip bones. By pulling straight backward on the long
rope he can be laid down very gently. This should be done on
soft ground or in a place where no injury can occur.
Washing the Steer.-If the hair coat is not in good condition
it is advisable to wash thoroughly once or twice to, remove dirt,
dead hair and dandruff. If there is any evidence of a skin dis-
ease, or lice, the use of dip is advisable. Any of the coal tar
preparations used according to directions usually will prove ef-
fective. The dip solution should be applied after washing.
Tar soap is one of the best cleansing agents for washing
steers. The animal should be wet thoroughly and the soap rubbed
over him until a good lather results. A good brush should be
used and all parts should be scrubbed, including his head, tail
and legs. Care should be taken to rinse all the soap out of his
hair, and water should not be allowed to get into his ears.
Excess water may be removed with a scraper made from a thin
piece of wood or by using the back of a Scotch comb. A steer
should not be washed in cold weather, but it is unnecessary to
warm the water. Cool water helps promote hair growth but
the washing should be done at a time so that he can dry in the
sunny part of the day. The steer should not be washed when
he is hot.
Once the coat is in good condition, brushing is all that is
necessary until about 5 weeks before the show. Brushing thor-
oughly all over at least once a day will keep his coat in excellent
condition. He should be washed thoroughly once each week
beginning 4 or 5 weeks before the show. A weak chlorine solu-
tion may be used to bleach white spots and white switches. A
weak bluing solution also is good.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

Curling the Hair.-Curling is done to improve the appearance
of the steer. Slight variations are required with different steers
to make them appear at their best, but all breeds of steers
usually are shown with the hair curled all over the body. There
are different types of curls used in breeding classes but it makes
no difference which is used in fat steer classes because the
hair is brushed up until it takes on a soft, fluffy appearance and
the original curl is no longer apparent. The parallel curl is the
simplest type and is recommended for beginners.
A solution is made of 1/4 cup of coal tar dip in 3 gallons of
water. With the use of a brush, the hair is made wet with the
above solution and brushed down smoothly. A Scotch comb is
used to part the hair down the back from the neck to the tail-
head. The hair is combed straight out the full width of the
top line to emphasize spread and thickness. The width is made
to appear as uniform from front to rear as possible. With the
use of a "lining comb" or an ordinary straight curry comb that
has had every other row of teeth removed or crushed down,

Fig. 5.-This steer shows a good job of grooming. Notice the fluffiness
of the hair coat and the manner in which the head is clipped to bring out
breed character and quality. (Photo courtesy American Aberdeen-Angus
Breeders Association.)

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

parallel lines are made about 1 inch apart all along the sides.
The top line should be at the outer border of the back where
it begins to curve downward. The comb is pulled sidewise
against the hair from the rear of the thigh to the head. Lines
are made all the way down to the knees and hocks. The hair
should dry some in this position to set the crimp and then be
brushed upward with light strokes just enough to turn the ends
of the hair. The parallel curl is then produced by combing
directly upward with a Scotch comb.
This is the first step in producing the "fluffy" type coat.
After each daily brushing if all the hair is brushed directly
upward, the original lines will not show and the hair coat will
have a more natural appearance. See Figure 5.
The switch should be kept combed free of tangles, being
careful not to break or pull out any of the hairs. The evening
before the show it should be washed thoroughly with soap and
water and bleached if necessary. A tablespoonful of alum
added to about 2 gallons of rinse water will cut the soap and
make the hair fluffy. The switch is braided into about 6 3-
strand braids while the hair is still damp. The first 2 or 3
plaits are left rather loose. Braiding should be under instead
of over. All the braids are tied together at the bottom and
left until the next morning. Before the show the braids are
removed and the switch is combed out. The tail is held up by
the end and brushed against the hair to make the switch fluffy.
When complete, brushing downward will prevent the fluffiness
from being exaggerated.
Clipping.-The common practice is to clip the heads of Aber-
deen-Angus and usually other polled breeds. Steers with horns
are shown unclipped. About 5 or 6 days before the show the
head should be clipped to a point just behind the jaw and far
enough behind the ears and poll to clear the halter line. Care
should be taken not to clip the eyelashes and the hair should
be left on the muzzle. Polled Herefords usually are shown with
their ears clipped but this is seldom practiced with Angus steers.
The base of the ear is clipped enough to give a distinct setting
on the head. The back of the ear may be slightly dressed down
if the hair is extremely long, but the hair on the inside should
not be disturbed. Proper clipping gives a clean-cut appearance
and brings out breed character.
The tails of all beef breeds should be clipped. The tail should
not be clipped down to the switch. Clipping should extend only

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

to the point where the fullness of the twist begins to give way.
If clipped below this point, the twist will appear deficient. Clip-
ping should extend up to the tailhead and then taper off smoothly.
The hair on the median line at the rear of the thighs should not
be clipped but combed outward to exaggerate the width of the
hind quarters.
Equipment.-Care should be taken to include all the equip-
ment needed for showing. This equipment should include rope
halters, show halters, Scotch combs, brushes for washing and
grooming, lining combs, woolen rub rags, grooming oil, soap,
water and feed buckets and forks. It may be necessary to include
a hose if not furnished by the show management.
Arrival at the Show Grounds.-One should plan to be located
at the show grounds at least 11/2 days before the show begins.
The first thing to do is to get the stall clean and bedded so that
the steer can rest. The stall should be kept clean and well
bedded. All the equipment should be well arranged and as neat
and orderly as possible. The alleys should be clear for the con-
venience of visitors. Feeding should be done at the usual time,
but the grain ration should be reduced about one-fourth. It is
important to control the fill of the steer. He should not appear
paunchy, neither should he appear gaunt. The steer should
be taken for a walk early in the morning before feeding in order
to give him exercise.
Washing and curling should be done the evening before the
show and the switch should be braided. Most herdsmen do not
water their animals early in the morning the day of the show
but allow them to take on the proper fill just before entering
the ring. A steer may refuse to drink when offered water that
is different from what he has had in the past. Under such con-
ditions it is impossible to show a steer at his best. Some herds-
men take along a supply of water to avoid a change. A steer
may be taught to drink water that has been sweetened slightly
with molasses. This practice keeps the steer from knowing
that the water is from a different source.
Final Preparation for the Show.-Before the final curling
the hair should be rubbed thoroughly all over with a woolen rag
that has been moistened with some kind of grooming oil. Two
parts of olive oil and 1 part of alcohol to which has been added
1 teaspoonful of kerosene to the pint is excellent. Many com-



Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

mercial preparations are satisfactory. Just enough oil should
be added to the rag to make the hair glisten. The hair should
be rubbed briskly in all directions. Lampblack worked into
the rag will prove helpful in bringing out the color of Angus
steers. The feet may be polished with the same rag. By rub-
bing with a dry rag the excess oil may be removed. The hair
is now ready to dress for the show. All this work should be
done well in advance.
The steer should be altered and ready to go into the show
ring before the class is called. A show stick and a brush or
Scotch comb will be needed for grooming while showing. A
Fig. 6.-Champion Shorthorn club steer at Fort Worth in 1942. Notice
the position and alertness of the showman. (Photo courtesy Shorthorn

" '- "b.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

good showman is patient, thoughtful and deliberate in all actions.
He walks close to the left shoulder of his steer, with the lead
strap coiled neatly in his hand. He shows the steer just as he
has in the past because he knows any variation may cause the
steer to become suspicious. Other animals and the crowd of
people will have a tendency to excite the steer but if he has been
trained properly he will have confidence in his showman. The
position in line makes no difference but the steer should be led
squarely in line and "set up" for the judges' inspection.
Show Ring Procedure.-Showing is an important and particu-
lar job. Neatness in personal appearance of the showman is
helpful. Attention must always be centered on the steer and
the judge. To be successful one must concentrate to the extent
that nothing else will distract attention. A good showman is
always ready to move aside so the judge will have a better
opportunity to inspect the steer. When the judge is handling
the steer, the fleshing will appear thicker and the skin more
mellow if the steer's head is moved slightly toward the judge.
In large classes it may be possible to let the steer relax when
the judge is not going to inspect him for awhile.
When the judge gives the signal to move into a new position,
the steer should be moved out of line to the rear and taken
to the new position from behind the line. A good showman
never gets in a hurry and is prepared to accept graciously any
award that may be earned. The judge has a difficult job, too,
and will make every effort to place the steers in their correct
order. Much may be learned by paying strict attention to the
judge as he gives his reasons for placing the class. Remember
that winning or losing is of little importance as compared with
the experience derived from fitting and showing a steer.


Attractive leather halters with lead straps and chains are
ideal for showing steers. However, they are rather expensive
and are not essential. Rope halters are much more practical
for everyday use and, if neatly made, are quite attractive in the
show ring.
It requires approximately 13 feet of 3-ply rope to make a
halter for a show steer. One-half inch rope should be used to
make halters for calves over 6 months of age. Calves under
6 months show better with halters made of 8/8-inch rope.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station


Loop Splice.-The first step is to make the loop splice as
shown in Figure 7.
Lift 2 strands of the rope about 30 inches from one end and
pass the short end through. The short end of. the rope will

F I h 5 T

5 T.E

N Ot P i CE

.5 E CoN0D 5 T E P



I 1 I D ST E P
Fig. 7.-Steps in making the nosepiece for the double-loop rope halter.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

form the nose piece as labeled in Figure 7 and will be the only
permanent dimension of the halter. Measure the steer across
his nose so as to have the nose piece of the proper length. It will
be about 15 inches, so there will be plenty of rope for splicing.
Pull the loop down to a size so the rope will just pass through
it easily. The loop in Figure 7 is only an illustration for pro-
cedure and is entirely too large for a halter. If the loop is
drawn too closely it will bind when the halter gets wet. If the
loop and eye splices are formed firmly around a metal Honda,
they will not tighten when the halter gets wet. This makes
an ideal halter to be used when washing cattle. (See Figure 11.)
Now lift 2 strands in the nose piece as shown in the second step
of Figure 7, and pass the lead (or long) end of the rope through.
Pull the lead end snug and the loop splice is complete as shown
in the third step of Figure 7.
Eye Splice.-Figure 7 also shows the position of the rope to
begin the eye splice. Unlay 5 or more turns in strands A, B and
C. An attractive nose piece can be made by tucking all the way
to the loop splice but it requires unlaying the strands for a much
greater length. Hold the loop in the left hand and insert strand
C under one strand in the standing line in the direction shown
and pull down tightly, being careful to make the loop in the eye
splice of the proper size. This is determined by the point of
insertion of strand C. Make 1/% rotation counter-clockwise and
insert B under the first strand behind and to the right of the
strand under which C was inserted. Make another /3 rotation
counter-clockwise and insert A under the next strand following
back toward the eye. Strand C is in front, B on top and A
behind the standing line. Pull strands A, B and C down firmly.
They should be equal distances apart, under different but con-
secutive strands and point straight down the line.
The rule for tucking is, each strand passes over 1 and under
1 straight down the line, removing 1 or more yarns of the strand
at each tuck after the first, according to the taper desired.
(See Figure 8.) If tucking is continued to the loop splice, no
tapering is desired except to blend the ends into the loop splice.
When complete, barely moisten it and roll the splice on the
floor, using the foot.
Except for a finishing knot, or an end splice in the lead end,
this completes the double-loop rope halter. The lead end passes
over the top of the head, down through the eye splice, across
under the jaw and through the loop splice. See Figure 10.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Crown Knot.-Unlay the rope for 5 to 7 turns, depending upon
the length of finish desired. Follow the illustrations shown
in Figure 8. (1) Throw up a bight in C between A and B and
lock with the forefinger. (2) Pull A over C and lock with the
thumb. (3) Pass B over A and linewards through bight C.
(4) Hold the formation in the tips of the fingers and set by
pulling on A, B and C in turn until they are uniformly snug.

Am Vib tb

F I h 5l 5T TEP

F I N 15 I L D



S1l1 IrD 5 1 E P


Fig. 8.-Steps in making the crown knot and tucking to make the end splice.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

In tucking, each strand passes over 1 strand and under 1
strand, straight down the line, removing 1 or more yarns of
the strand at each tuck after the first, according to the taper
desired. When complete, barely moisten it and roll the splice
under the foot.
Wall Knot.-Unlay the rope from 5 to 7 turns and follow steps
shown in Figue 9. (1) Throw down a bight in C and lock with
the thumb. (2) Throw a bight in B around C and lock under

TU \V A LL K-I--KI 0 T
it, A

F Ihz T 5 iC 0x o .


S T n P F I 1 5U LD
9.-Steps in tying the wall knot.

h 9 0

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

the first finger. (3) Throw a bight in A around B, extending
the end through the bight in C. Hold in the tips of the fingers
and set by pulling alternately on each strand until they are uni-
formly snug.

Fig. 10.-Two types of rope halters. The metal Honda shown between the
halters is used to insert in the eye and loop splices.

If larger knots are desired, tie a crown knot and then overlay
it with a wall knot or use a double wall knot. There are other
types of finishing knots but those given above are used more
commonly, and are excellent for halters.
Another type of rope halter is shown at the right in Figure
10. This halter is the same as the double-loop halter at the left
except for the eye splice.
When the length of the nose piece has been determined and
the loop splice complete, clamp the short end of the rope by
wrapping a nail around it. Cut off the head and clamp firmly
in a vise or a heavy pair of pliers. Pick up 3 consecutive strands
as shown in Figure 11 and give them a half turn to make the
loops. This will be clockwise when using a rope with a right
hand wind. The lead end is forced down through the 3 loops.

Selecting, Fitting and Showing the Beef Steer

The loops always fit snugly and this type of halter keeps its
The author is grateful to Dr. M. W. Emmel for the photographs of
rope halters in Part IV of this bulletin.
The author also wishes to express his appreciation to J. C. Bennett
for the pen sketches of knots and splices.
To J. E. Pace, who gave generously of his time in helping to outline
subject material, the writer is indebted. After being called to serve in
the military service of his country, it was impossible for him to continue
work on this bulletin, and it is regretted that his name does not appear
as co-author.
The cover picture is through the courtesy of the American Hereford

Fig. 11.-To make the splice shown here, hold the end of the rope in
the left hand; lift 3 consecutive strands and give them a half turn to the
right. The lead end of the rope in the top illustration extends to the left
and the headpiece to the right of the splice.

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