The Diamond H Braunvieh Breeding Program
The Diamond H has a two prong breeding strategy. The majority of our herd is registered. We have a portion of the herd that remains full blood. We use them for both full blood and purebred matings. We AI most every female every year, to bring in the finest genetics available, then turn out the females to the bull we believe will help us reach our goal the quickest. Our main focus is the production of purebred seed stock that will assist the astute commercial cattleman to increase his profit margin per head. The emphasis on the Diamond H is polled, black, and calving ease in a package that will perform in all aspects of the beef business.
Braunvieh Heifer Development
Prior to the drought, we did not feed animals other than protein supplement and heifers headed to the show ring. We believe cattle should perform under the same conditions they will on any ranch. Feeders are not usually in that mix. However, the drought caused us to do some things we had not done prior. One of those things is putting our developing heifers in a grow yard from wean to breeding age. Since we breed at 14 months, we need to give the heifers every opportunity to succeed. Prior to the drought (and today we are still feeling the long term effects of drought that started in 2011), they had to do that on their own with what we had. However, it became clear that our pastures could not deliver the nutrition needed to get these females ready to breed at that age. So, we put the heifers on a conservative development ration to get them to a weight and in condition to breed and be a good momma ASAP
The Diamond H Braunvieh Cow
We have historically had a fall calving program and in 2010 began a spring program as well. I will admit in the beginning, when we first committed to a organized “program”, we made guidelines and we stuck to them….most of the time. Strict performance standards, dictate you will lose cattle, especially in the early years. It is difficult emotionally, and most certainly, financially. We operated with “one foot in, and one foot out” When a 6 year old cow that had produced 4 good calves came open, it was easy to say “aw..she’s been a good cow, lets just move her to the fall program”. I know it happens in lots of programs all the time. Not in this one, not anymore! Our females must meet a lot of standards to be a Diamond H cow.
All cattle are required to breed in a 60 day window and wean a calf at least 50% of her weight. If a cow lands in the last 10 days of the calving window and cannot catch up, she is sold. Cows that have bull calves that are in the bottom 50% of their test groups twice in a row are culled. Females that are not “easy fleshing” are culled. Cattle are also selected based on temperament. Cattle that are culled from our program are sold as such. If it is a birthweight or attitude issue, they go to the packing plant. We don’t sell such problems! Truth is, if you buy one of those females that did not stay in our program, they will perform very well for the vast majority of cattle producers in the country. If you buy an animal that is good enough to stay in our program, you will know that by the price. Truth is, at this point, with all the culling we have done, there are very few cases of non performers. We are selling older cows and keeping new ones. Remember, a 10 year old Braunvieh cow is most likely good for 4 more calves…..the SAME AS THE AVERAGE 5 YEAR OLD ENGLISH COW!
THE DIAMOND H BRAUNVIEH BULL
This yearling bull is typical of what is sold on the ranch.
Bull genetics count! He touches EVERY cow in your program. As you may know, we are proud of our bull program. First, birth weights count. We cut the vast majority of bulls that calve over 95#, unless we see a reason not to. Still, calving issues are always on our mind. Bulls wean a minimum of 600 lbs and weigh 1000 lbs at yearling (that is particularly difficult for fall calves…there is the occasional exception on them) That means we cull males the first time at weaning. Then the intact bulls are sent to test at PX Feeders in Evant, Texas. They are tested against other Braunvieh bulls, as well as usually a dozen or so other breeds. They are put on a low energy, forage based diet and tested for ADG and RFI (efficiency) . The gain test is 115 days and the RFI part of the test lasts only 55 days. PX has the most up to date Grow Safe technology available. At the end of the test they are ultrasounded for REA (ribeye area), and IMF (intramuscular fat) within 60 days of their one year birthday. This testing allows us to analyze our herds performance and you to make an educated bull buying decision. I should mention at this point, we have invested nearly $1000 in the test and THEN if the bull is inferior he is culled and sent to the packser. If they aren’t good, we don’t sell ’em!! Sell your calves at the local market? ADG and perhaps efficiency are your top considerations. Own your calves to the rail? You need to pick a bull that gains efficiently and has great carcass traits! Bottom line? WHEN YOU BUY A PERFORMANCE TESTED BULL, YOU CAN PICK AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE BULL AS YOUR NEEDS DICTATE….YOU ONLY PAY FOR WHAT . YOU NEED!
The result of all this is that we are advancing our program goals of producing fertile cattle that will 1). put a live calf on the ground every 365 days 2). grow that calf to wean at least 50% of the dam’s body weight, and will continue to grow at a rate of 2.5 pounds per day or better 3). grow efficiently with offspring converting feed at a target rate of 6 to 1 or better. We work to raise bulls that that will pass these traits to the herds that buy them.
IN SHORT, WE BELIEVE WE PRODUCE ANIMALS THAT WILL HELP THE ASTUTE CATTLEMAN MAKE MONEY!