What We Do
It is our goal to raise the best beef cattle that we can while improving the health of the range. Our diverse backgrounds may have stressed our marriage but they have been of a great benefit in achieving our goal. Carl's family raised Hereford cattle for generations. Barb's Dad decided that Aberdeen Angus was a better breed and switched to Angus in the 1960's back when your could hardly give black calves away. Barb majored in animal husbandry while Carl majored in agronomy. She is left handed and he is right.
Our herd started out as commercial Angus with one token Hereford. Then Barb decided that she would like to try a few British Whites for the simple reason that they were "cute". Raising cows because they are cute was not one of the areas that we agreed on. However, we did agree on how to manage and work cows. Both of us work quietly and calmly while keeping an eye on the body language of the cows. Our commercial Angus were tame in the pasture but when we gathered them in the corral they became nervous. Bent gates, frayed nerves and stressed humans was the usual result. The British Whites were always mentioned as being calm. We figured that was because as a semi-rare breed they were used to a lot of attention.
We had placed our first British White bull in with the cows for a period of time before we put the mature Angus bulls in with the cows. The British White bull appeared to be a bull in name only as he was just a calf. However, that calf bred some 30 plus cows as evidenced by all the little white calves that started dropping come February. The black bulls were relegated to clean up duty. When we gathered the cows for branding we noticed a great difference in the herd. The black cows were still nervous with their heads up high and their eyes big as big can be. The white cows were watching the commotion and wondering what the matter was. The big change was the calves, they were also just calmly watching the show their mothers were putting on. The next big change was at weaning time when the cross bred calves were much larger than the black calves.
In addition to improving our herd we also tried to improve our range. We cross fenced, spot sprayed weeds, rotated our pastures and in general tried to be good stewards of the land. The payoff came, not in money but in a remark a neighboring rancher made. He had just sold over 100 calves of various weights and he commented on how good the price was for a certain weight of calves. He said of course that he had not had any calves that big. The weight mentioned was our cull cutoff weight. We expected all of our calves to be bigger than his biggest calf!