Nothing perks up Irish Black® and Irish Red® cattle fans than hearing that the animal goes back to “The Meat Wagon.” Officially registered with the Irish Black Cattle Association (IBCA) as Double Polled Turepo 1359, he was also designated as IB-1, the first to be recognized as a foundation seedstock bull for the breed.
Known for his mild disposition and medium-build, but extremely muscular frame, The Meat Wagon forms the base for stockmen seeking those traits from the breed, including Long Pines Land and Livestock.
Sired by Double Polled Ali 1315 (Polled Ali Performer J33P x Polled Miss Dividend M24P) out of Polled Miss Dividend P24W (Turepo King Adema x Polled Miss Dividend M24P), IB-1 is considered the epitome of the Irish Black® goal of easy fleshing and excellent carcass traits. So much so, that breed founder Maurice Boney himself dubbed him The Meat Wagon.
The Irish Black® and Irish Red® breeds were developed to meet the demand of the American market. They are known for their concentration of desirable breeding and production traits and the ability to thrive in sometimes harsh environments. “They can handle different altitudes and environments,” says Deb Brown, Long Pines owner. “There are Irish Blacks® coast to coast and from the Northern Plains all the way down to Mississippi. We have found they adapt well wherever they go. In fact, the breed has genetic resilience to brisket disease so raising them in high altitudes is no problem.”
The Meat Wagon was an instrumental sire in getting Irish Black® cattle where they are today.
Boney was raising cattle in Northwest Iowa when he saw a need for a variation on the traditional beef animal. He had attended Iowa State University as a young man, where he was introduced to the teachings of notorious geneticist Dr. Jay Lush, who believed in line breeding.
The overall goal of line breeding is maintaining the genetics from outstanding individuals through a calculated breeding program of related animals, therefore increasing predictability. Boney worried that too much cross breeding in the American herd would bring about inconsistent and reduced quality meat.
In the 1960s, Boney set out to create a new, closed breed using American bred commercial females, many tracing to 1920s and 1930s Aberdeen-Angus “Revolution” lines. He utilized in line breeding principles to create females he could count on. He then imported three Friesian bulls from Ireland.
The results were genetic stability and consistently superior beef quality. He also gained a mild disposition, exceptional maternal traits, vigorous and growthy calves, and the ability of a bull to breed an exceptional number of cows in a short period of time.
But Boney not only wanted carcass, disposition and fertility, he wanted polled animals. He bred polled to polled stock until his breed sires were double polled. The first bull Boney raised who was polled and black-hided was Polled Ali Performer J33P, the son of Friesen bull Troys Castle Ali 2 1315. His dam was Miss Dividend 33J, a daughter of Fresian bull Troys Castle Gymnast 68.
When bred to Polled Miss Dividend M24P, Ali Performer J33P produced Double Polled Ali 1315. He, with Polled Miss Dividend P24W. then produced Double Polled Turepo 1359 (IB-1) – The Meat Wagon.
It didn’t take Long Pines Land and Livestock long to realize the benefits of this powerful sire.
LP Mr. Irish Turepo 20Z, LP Irish Royalty BE11Y and LP Irish Turepo 21Z are perfect examples. And so is Double Turepo IB31, owned by Diamond H Livestock in Montana, who weighed 2030 lbs. at 9 years of age. IB31 was a prolific breeder for many years with one of the most solid, well-muscled conformations of any bull, yet moderately sized. His son, Irish Red Diamond 531C, came from Diamond H Livestock to Long Pines in 2019.
Another son, Irish Perfect Balance, considered a premiere bull by Boney, sired donor cow 555R, the dam of Long Pines’ calving-ease bull extraordinaire Smart Choice 55Z. “Our 55Z bull is incredible for calving ease, maternal traits and carcass quality,” says Brown. “He tends to sire bulls that are herd-sire quality.”
Herd sires that are grandsons of The Meat Wagon include LP Smart Beginnings 530C, LP Journey 644D, LP Smart Dividend 607D, LP Payday 653D, LP Great Destiny 606D, LP Perfect Turepo 743E, LP Double Time 746E and LP Extra Dividend 630D.
“This breed scores extremely high for carcass traits, particularly tenderness and marbling,” says Brown. The Meat Wagon is a major reason for that success. Along with pedigrees, Long Pines is glad to provide ultrasound and genetic testing data that confirms consistent real-world performance and great beef eating experiences.
“We are proud of these herd sires, and we are looking forward to the new levels they take both purebred and commercial cattle,” says Brown.
The Meat Wagon’s progeny have been fulfilling their destiny in purebred and commercial herds for decades, as well as taking their place on dinner plates around the country. With great genetics and sound breeding, Long Pines Land and Livestock looks to continue that trend for many years to come.