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Our Story

Raising cattle responsibly since the 1950s

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(Continued from "Home...")

In 2016, Alf gifted us with valuable semen from 5 of his herd sires. We had not weighed and measured cattle for several years, but because of Alf’s generosity, we felt compelled to enroll our cattle in an across-breed data base and compile meaningful information on these rather unique cattle we were assembling. We chose the American Simmental Association’s (ASA) Herdbook Services because we were impressed with its commitment to discovering valuable bovine germ plasm wherever it may be found.

We believe that the two most important factors affecting profitability in a cow-calf operation are fertility and stocking rate. Our selection criteria center around early puberty, especially considering our Bos Indicus component, calving ease, docility, stayability, and moderate mature size. 

At this writing (2021), if you mate the average of an English breed with an average Brahman you will have mature cows averaging 1400 to 1600 lbs. here in Florida. It is very difficult here to supply adequate nutrition economically to maintain cows that size. Additionally, the market rewards lighter calves. Running more moderate sized cows per acre will produce more pounds per acre at a higher price per pound if sold at weaning. 

Our crunch time here is late winter through a normally DRY spring. In our first Boran/CBV calves submitted to ASA from our 2017 calf crop, many yearling weights were kicked back because their yearling weights were less than their weaning weights (2018 was a tough spring!). Yet 60% of these heifers calved at 2 years old and 85% of these calved again as 3.

We call ourselves having a Bos Indicus composite herd, with the main herd mostly around 50 to 75% Bos Indicus. We agree with one of our industry leaders who has stated, “I have long thought we need to move toward composites, as have our protein competitors; however, our industry has been slow on the uptake.” Although we would prefer half of the Bos Indicus breeding to come from each CBV and Boran, but we don’t have strict percentages of any breed. 

On the Bos Taurus or English breed component, we suspect that, because of the popularity of certain bulls and the large influence of AI and Embryo Transfer (both of which we have used) in many breeds, the genetic base within these breeds is narrowing. To avoid this narrowing, particularly in a small herd such as ours, we regard all Bos Taurus breeds as the same breed and feel free to use any breed or individual within a breed we choose. 

We admittedly pay more attention to the Bos Indicus, but have the same selection on all, hoping to additionally obtain from the Bos Taurus, a wide genetic base (both the CBV and Boran semen must be imported from Australia), early maturity, polledness, and marbling. Recently we have started using SimAngus because the availability of bulls we think are a good fit for us and to perhaps make our data coming from ASA more accurate sooner. We do maintain small top-crossed units of the CBVs, Borans and the English breed components as we hope to go to more natural service as we go forward.

Our cattle graze mostly unfertilized Pensacola Bahia grass pastures. We occasionally fertilize when we need more grass, but generally, we deal with an abundance of grass in the summer and fall with slim pickings in winter and spring. We try to avoid farming for our cattle, but recently we have begun providing winter grazing for our weaned yearlings. We do not want to routinely have yearling weights less than weaning weights, but we do believe that cattle that respond, produce, and reproduce under less-than-ideal conditions are the cattle we value highly. Our management, or perhaps some would say lack of management, deals with the reality of our conditions at hand, not adding inputs to avoid facing those conditions.

A Few Photos from the Farm

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