My Old Girls

Just added to the Ranch Management page is a piece that features some of my oldest Star cows from 12 to 17 years of age. Some of these cows just weaned 10 month-old calves that were at their side this winter and without receiving fed feeds, only minerals. The photo below is a Mashona-sired heifer that was wintered by LR Dusty, an 13 year-old Star cow.


Bulls for Sale in Austin area – SOLD

In 2014, Mark Bearden purchased two weaned STAR bull calves for breeding. His ranch is located in the south Austin area. Originally, his cows were bought at local auctions. Mark’s breeding objective was to save daughters for breeding from his new STAR bulls and his best cows that would be more heat tolerant to upgrade the herd. He says: I have been completely satisfied with them. They are doing a great job for me. I have recently lost some lease pastures and have been thinking about trying to sell these bulls. These bulls are too good to take to an auction barn. The thing I like most about the bulls is the reason I bought them. I have a no hay operation that I learned how to do from reading your articles and also reading articles from other people. This puts the breeding season in the hottest time of the year. I wanted bulls that would have no problem getting cows bred in July and August in Central Texas. I separated the bulls during the breeding season and each bull was turned in with 20 to 30 cows. These bulls had no problems doing that with usually very close to 100% getting bred. I have kept back several heifers. They all made great cows and none of them had any problems calving. The bulls are very gentle and I haven’t had any problems with them at all. Currently they are together, so if someone wants both of them, then that will not be a problem. The best way for a potential buyer to contact me is this other email account.

Mark will accept a reasonable offer for either one or both bulls.

Wintering Time

In 2019, weaned calves were sold as breeding animals or as grass feeders. None were taken to the local sale barn. Replacement heifers and bulls are presently being wintered on their dams. They will not be separated until early March. However, wintered heifers are kept in separate pastures than wintered bulls to prevent early breeding. Dams will continue to nurse their calves until they become dry, and teach them various winter grazing behaviors, while programming their fetuses to switch on genes for poor quality forage digestibility without fed feeds (as well as genes for other vital traits that pertain to adaptability). There is still some green forage and weeds at the base of taller and mature stockpiled forage to ensure that their nutritional needs are being met. Below are several photos: wintered cows and heifer calves and a wintered bull (LR 20-19) including his pictorial pedigree.

New Article on Inbreeding

There are certain traditional myths perceived by breeders on the practice of inbreeding. Like any breeding practice, if the effects of inbreeding are well understood it can become a tool, along with selection and culling, to produce outstanding breeding animals. However, its use also depends on the type of operation. In commercial herds the exploitation of heterosis is a stronger economic incentive with regards to performance, more so than the effects of inbreeding, so the strategy is often to minimize inbreeding when choosing parents for mating. In the September issue of the Stockman Grass Farmer, I wrote an article entitled – Understanding and Managing Inbreeding. For interested readers who breed and sell animals for breeding, here is the link to the article:

Star-sired Bull Calf for Sale – SOLD

One of my neighbors has an exceptional bull calf that is worthy of being sold for breeding rather than to an auction (photo below). The calf was sired by a Star bull (LR Blondie JR (18-2016); second photo taken at 1-1/2 years of age) and is out of a commercial Charolais-cross cow. The bottom photo is of his Star maternal grand-dam. This bull was born last December and he possesses the slick gene. Being fully crossbred, his hybrid vigor level is at the maximum value of 100%, which will benefit traits – especially fertility and disease resistance. He should be ready to breed between 14 and 15 months of age. If interested, please contact the herd manager, Bobby Bennett, at his cell number (361-459-9043). A reasonable offer will be accepted.

New article in Beef Producer

Alan Newport and I co-wrote an article that was published this week in Beef Producer. Alan is the editor of this magazine. The article’s theme is strategies to produce more pounds of beef per acre. It explains how I now use fewer acres per cow (stocking rate): 7.7 acres per animal unit instead of 16 acres 5 years ago, and increased beef yield from 36 to 64 pounds per acre using my African breed-derived, adaptable Composite cattle. For the cow-calf enterprise, beef yield is a function of the number of cows, pregnancy rate (PG), calf survival to weaning (SR), average weaning weight (AWW), and total acreage. For example: 10 cows X .90 PG X .90 SR X 550 (AWW) equals 4,455 total pounds. Divide this number by 100 acres and the beef yield figure comes to 44.55 pounds of beef per acre. Ranchers should have a business focus of producing more beef and increasing profits from the land as opposed to profit per cow or average weaning weight. Here is a link to the article: Link