NOTES FROM THE PASTURE – Nutrition
Our nutrition program for our cows and calves is not very complicated. In the Spring, Summer and into late Fall, they eat grass. In the dead of Winter, they get hay every other day, while on brown grass. No lick tubs, no silage, no grain, no creep feeders or supplemental fat. This is done to simplify being able to tell if we are making progress with our grassland genetics.
We don’t want to play the Angus game of “Follow the feeder”. We prefer to keep things simple because it’s far too expensive to own a cowherd that has a “feed bunk addiction”.
We have chosen to follow a different path than most of the registered Angus world. Rather than let the Angus Journal and the big A.I. companies pick our bulls, from the Bull of the Month Club, we have chosen to secure proven grassland genetics from lesser known “Great Breeders” of true grassland, forage loving cows. As you view our bull battery and our cowherd, three herds have had a major impact here. Ohlde OCC; Cole Creek and Sinclair N Bar.
We are constantly reminded by health professionals that it is not good to be too fat. Why then, are seed stock producers and university bull test stations determined to feed breeding stock cattle to the finished fat steer look? This can cause a multitude of problems over the life of the bull resulting in bad feet, fat in their testicles, poor semen quality, etc. Having a yearling bull that weighs 1400 pounds is like going down to the coffee shop with the boys and bragging about your 10 year old son that weighs 325 pounds. You know there are health problems ahead.
The feed program for our bulls is designed to grow the bulls, not finish them. Our average daily gains from weaning are substantially less than most feed lot Angus bull sales. We do that for good reasons. It is not in our best interest, or yours, to overfeed our bulls, but let them run on grass with limited hand fed, no starch ration. The main goal here is to produce bulls that you will be able to use for 5 years or more. That is why we don’t try to make our bulls look like a finished steer that will lose weight everyday he is out breeding cows.
We extend a grateful thank you to all the people from several states who have purchased bulls from us. It is very pleasing to have you place your trust in our cattle.
We especially appreciate the fact that there are cattle breeders who realize that Angus cattle do not have to be the same frame score as a Giraffe, or fed into the same body condition score as a Sumo Wrestler.
We don’t want to present our cattle or management as perfect, but it certainly reduces the chances of you having a problem. Our bulls are developed on grass to breed cows, not lay under a shade tree, trying to catch their breath, too fat and lazy to follow the cows and get them bred, and losing 300 pounds or more in the process.
Our customers tell us our bulls will hold their own and even gain weight on good grass, while getting their cows bred.
Thank you for buying our cattle!
NEWS FROM THE BUNK HOUSE – Summer 2015
After one of the coldest and wettest winters on record it is now as hot as blazes and dry as a bone. We just completed preg checking the Fall bred cows and for the first time in recent memory we had a 100% breed-up. The vet kept waiting for that open cow, but she never came.
The Fall calves are weaned, had their second round of shots and have adjusted to life without Mama. Our weaning weights were a little off, due to the cold wet Spring and the grass being very washy.
All our cow work and moving pastures is done after daybreak, due to the cattle wanting to shade up early due to the extreme heat and humidity. Trying to move them out of the trees and brush in the heat of the day is a problem for a good horse, plus you spend the rest of the day picking off ticks from your TORSO! After having a round with Rocky Mountain Fever (from ticks) a few Summers past, I seem to hate them little critters.
We had a good breed up on our Fall bred heifers and the limited amount open got a new zip code for the food chain. Culling is the proven way to build a great cow herd. When you start making excuses for your cattle, they invariably come back to bite you in the bottom. We make no excuses, they either breed and adapt to our environment on 100% grass management, or they are culled. No exceptions.
Thanks to Isaac Belew, our herdsman, who I might say is a good cowman, we are able to slip off on occasion and work on our ‘bucket list’. We had a great time in Ireland with Glynnie’s family and friends and saw first hand, a beautiful country and met some warm and wonderful people.
Also thanks to Eric Barns, our part time support for the summer and the added benefits he brings to the table on the projects we are trying to complete.
We will be pulling six bulls away from the Spring bred cows soon, after a limited breeding season. It is exciting waiting for the next calf crop and see the results of the breeding (mating) decisions.
We welcome your visit and will try to keep you informed with our progress.
Have a great Summer and Happy Trails !
NEWS FROM THE BUNK HOUSE – Fall 2014
Shelby Cattle Company