It is my strong belief that if you buy genetics (cow, bull, semen or embryo) from a ranch like ours you should know something more about them than the quality of their cattle or the price of their product. I think a seedstock producer needs to realize that; when you buy genetics you’re making a long term commitment. When a bull breeds a cow, it is (and this is a VERY simple analysis) :
- about 18 months till the calf is sold at market
- about 2 years until a female is old enough to breed, and nearly 3 years until you find if she is a good mother (or not),
- about 5 years until you have the second generation to have any idea of whether or not the results are sustainable and will be passed on
In other words, it’s a LOOOooong time before you know if he or she was a good investment (or not)! Now nothing is for sure in this business, but what I am saying is that, I want to know how the person I am buying my genetics from approaches this business. How long have they been in business is not near as important to me, as to how they make their decisions. If this is important to you, read this, if not, I’d skip this part, it’s long, contains a lot of my personal opinion/feelings and probably more information that you want! 🙂
Me? First, I pray. That will make some of you look for the “X” to close the page, I get that. There are others that will say “oh brother, another one of those guys that puts a fish on their car and uses religion to sell cattle”. That’s not the truth either. Truth is, I believe a Christian is supposed to put Him in the center of ALL their life; not just their Sunday life, but every day, all the time. I am not ashamed of the fact I look to God for direction: for this ranch, and the rest of my life, personal and business. We pray before we consider how to breed, we pray over our semen tank, and we pray before we get started. We pray for our cattle when they are sick (then we treat them). If you think that’s dumb, that’s ok, we don’t.
Now this next statement may bother you as well…… I had no intent of ever getting in the ranching business. I bought my first parcel of land with the intent to fish….alot! God had other plans (I’ve fished about 3 times in two years). He introduced me to one of the best cowmen I know, in the context of a Christian prison ministry. Shortly after that introduction, I began thinking about having a few cattle myself. Not long after, I bought my first small group of bred cows, and SOON after, it was clear that God wanted me in this business! I wanted to be in this business! It was all I could think about. My passion for my other business’ began to be weaken as my drive to build this ranch took me over.
I am always startled when I hear people (I am talking about those that have LOTS invested) say something like “this is just a hobby, I don’t expect to make money” or “I do it for the lifestyle”. Well I agree, it is VERY enjoyable, and if you don’t approach it as a lifestyle, you will go crazy (because you will be doing it from morning to night). My approach? I read alot, I try to learn all the time, and I work as much as my old body will let me. But, I think the most valuable thing we can do is record keeping. We use past results to make selections for our future. We cull/select based on birthweight, weaning weight and yearling weights. We require a cow/bull PROVE themselves. Numbers like birthweights, weaning weights, and yearling weights, and making decisons based on them, are vital for success. Obviously phenotype (looks) is important, but we won’t pick a pretty bull over one that has the performance numbers. So….what are our standards?
A bull must produce thick, growthy calves. If he entered our battery in the last 5 years, he was in the top 10% or better in his test group. His calves had better be in the top 50%, in general, or he will leave the ranch. We are always looking for the next sire that will move our program forward.
If a cow goes open, she is culled, unless there is a compelling reason she should stay. She must wean a calf at least 50% of her body weight. Her offspring had better not end up in the bottom percentage of the weaning calves twice in a row.
For a cow to make it into the donor pen, she has to meet a very high cow standard for at least 4 years….consecutively! Calf in top 10% of wean pen and bull test, have a VERY strong maternal drive, produce easy keepin genetics…the whole enchilada. We don’t flush heifers, because they are not proven cows….I don’t care how great they look!
The result is, that if you buy genetics from us, we believe you are getting pasture proven genetics. If they are out of a heifer, her cow family has earned its spot on the ranch, and she had a good calf. You will know what we think of the genetics you are buying by the price you pay. Still, I believe our lower end genetics will compete very well with other programs.
Why should you buy Registered Cattle….even if you don’t keep them registered or intend to register their prodigy? That is a very good question, and one that any cow man that intends to make money should consider. (you should take the time to read this)
Lots of folks think paying more for registered cattle is, at minimum unnecessary and some think it even….well, stupid. I couldn’t disagree more, unless of course, you don’t want to make money being a cow/calf operator. There are lots of ways to be in the cattle business, but I’m talking to the Cow/Calf operator that wants to be profitable. YES, I KNOW, you CAN make money and not use registered cattle, but there is a strong argument that it is more difficult and here’s a major part of the why:
There are lots of things that hurt profitability, but none more than carrying or having a cow go open. That number of that cost varies, but a good guess would be in the neighborhood of $1300 (calf and carrying cost till next year) each time it happens. When you buy an unregistered cow( at the auction or from your neighbor) , you have NO information about her. How old is she, how many calves has she had, how many years did she NOT have a calf, how have those calves performed (at weaning or yearling), what were their birthweights (or asked differently~did any have to be pulled?). All that, not to mention her personal data such as: where did she come from (sire/dam), what was her BW and how did she grow until weaning. Folks, all that information is CRITICAL to knowing if this cow can make you money or not. What you DO know about that unregistered cow you just bought is this: she looks good/bad, she is pregnant or not, and she has teeth or not. That calf in her belly may be the first one she’s had in 3 years (and maybe her last?). Compare that to the wealth of information available to you on the Braunvieh Association of America (BAA) website. All the cows personal information and DETAILED information about her calving history (or lack there of) including ALL information on every calf she has ever had. THAT will give you the information you need to know if she REALLY IS a good cow or NOT!
So I ask you, is that information worth the premium? You decide for yourself. We think the answer is definitely…..YUP!
There is a LOT of information on this website. Some is my opinion, founded in my experience working with these cattle. Some are just facts about Braunvieh cattle. Some is just about the cattle industry and our philosophy about how to be a successful cow calf operator. Perhaps some of the most interesting (certainly most entertaining) are the videos the BAA produced for the “American Rancher” program. This one includes an interview of 90 year old Harlan Doeschot, the man who originally imported the breed from Switzerland to the U.S. in the early 80’s.
Also highlighted is a successful commercial producer, Art Brownlee, who shares data he has kept for over a decade on the calves he has retained ownership to the rail. His results are impressive, to say the least. AND if you want to read more about how Art and Merry have operated profitably in all markets, check out this article in the “Angus Beef Bulletin“. (can it get any more third party than that?). It is an older article, they are at 50% Braunvieh genetics now. Art says his data shows (among other things) their Braunvieh cross genetics grade 80% high choice to prime, with no 4 or 5 yield grades. An astonishing FACT…he has proven if you add a Braunvieh bull to English cattle, you will automatically increase one yield grade….that’s something that helps profitability!
Many come to our website looking for a bull. Some of you are familiar with Braunvieh cattle, others are not. This website will give you information (if you want it) to aid in making an educated decision. I say this on my bulls for sale page and I say again….A bull purchase is the most important decision you make in this business. Even one year of using the wrong bull can have a very significant impact on your herd and its profitability.
Remember, the very best picture of an animal WILL NEVER represent that animal well. We hope that you will come visit us and see our herd if you are considering adding our genetics to your program. After the girls he bought arrived on the truck, a customer from Montana called and said, “the pictures just did not do these heifers justice”.
Anyway, thanks for spending time with us. Give us a call at 806-six 81-9333 or contact us if you have any questions. We love talking about cattle!
We AI lots of cows to bulls outside our program. Bulls famous for their performance. It is gratifying to know the Ranger 11R bull outperforms them on a regular basis. I have often said, it is a shame that we never acknowledge how truly great our Fathers are until they die. Seems to me, bulls are pretty much the same way. THAT is why serious breeders should use AI in their programs!
We believe Ranger 11R will prove to be a bull to move the Braunvieh breed forward.
He definitely built a legacy on the Diamond H. We buried him 11/16/2013.
He is missed and his absence leaves a hole in our days
We have learned about new technologies that allow us to do a better job of selection. One of those is Leptin. Leptin is a hormone in the fat metabolism pathway that has been shown to affect the amount of fat deposition in beef. A DNA variant alters a critical amino acid which affects the folding of this hormone. The leaner cattle have a “C” and the more marbled cattle a “T” in the critical position. Bottom line, after 250,000 cattle are studied by several different entities, the results confirm that cattle carrying the “T” marker, marble easier, thus needing less days on feed. That makes money and it is an easy thing to test. It is one more thing that we are doing as seed stock breeders to help the commercial producer make more money on the cattle they produce and sell….that is important we think!
Please forgive me if you find something old….it is A LOT of work keeping this website relevant! In fact, if you find something I need to change, please shoot us an email via the contact page.
Some notable facts about our ranch:
- Diamond H Named BAA “2011 Braunvieh Breeder of the Year”
- Ranger 11R is number one Sire of Prodigy Recorded and number two of Prodigy Born (2011)
- Our entire herd has been tested for PI-BVD and been found clean. We continue to quarantine new animals and test all calves to keep it that way!
- We have tested all our black genetics for all potential Angus genetic defects and our genetics are DEFECT FREE!
SO, we invite you to:
Invest in YOUR program….. by investing in OURS