The Dexter breed

A hardy, docile breed, the tiny Dexter is often favoured by smallholder farmers.

The Dexter breed
Above: Dexter cattle are small but hardy, and can survive and produce during severe droughts. Photo: FW Archive
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Dexters are the smallest of the European cattle breeds, about half the size of a traditional Hereford. The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) notes, “Its inherent hardiness, together with its foraging ability, lets the Dexter adapt to varied climatic conditions and survive and even produce during severe droughts.” Dexter cows are sought after by owners of smallholdings who use them to supply their households with milk, butter, cheese and meat, adds the SA Studbook.

Their docile nature and the ease with which Dexters can be transported to the bull and handled with limited facilities, contributes to their popularity. Dexters, continues the SA Studbook, “are kept more like pets than for their commercial value. “This may be one of the reasons why performance testing for milk production or beef production (growth under controlled conditions post-weaning) isn’t so popular with Dexter farmers.”

Contact the Dexter Cattle Breeders’ Society of SA on 083 607 3121, or e-mail at [email protected].
Information about the breed can also be accessed through the SA Studbook website:
www.studbook.co.za.
Sources: SA Studbook; Beef Cattle Management (ARC-Animal Production Institute, Irene)

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