We operate a smaller framed, later calving herd. Believing that we must fit the animal to the resource, our cows calve in May and June, on green grass. They are tough, hardy cows who produce similar calves and fit either the conventional market or the grass fed beef niche. Our commercial cattle are expected to work for us, and make us money. Our goal with the cattle are to fit the larger, taller grass component of our range. We have used the techniques of fence line weaning, as well as late weaning to boost profitability and push our cows.
We practice low stress animal handling techniques perfected by Bud
Williams. Our belief is that “slower is faster” and that cattle handled correctly will
outperform other livestock every time, and in every trait. We believe our job on this
earth is to steward the cattle, and provide green grass and clean water for them, with
minor locally adapted mineral packages and salt, so they can do their job. Their job is to
convert solar energy into high quality animal protein, and use non-arable land to do it.
Our cattle are expected to do more with less, and produce more pounds per acre than
other cattle. We practice Management Intensive Grazing and use pasture subdivision,
both temporary and semi-permanent electric fences, to manage our cattle second, and
our land first. Our cattle should perform naturally in any environment.
Cattle that are over 1 year old are Yearlings, or Stocker Cattle. Both heifers
and steers may be kept to 1 year old and older, and sold in the second summer/fall of
their lives. These cattle are a risk management tool for a rancher. Stocker cattle tend to
be less volatile for a cattleman to produce, and have less price fluctuation. They also fit
nicely with our later calving, which yields generally lightweight calves in the fall. Even
our heifer stockers, who may be spayed, bred, or sold open and intact, are a livestock
class that fits our range well. All yearlings have less total body mass and are easier on
the land than a larger, production class cow. Each have their place, both a combination
cow/calf/stocker operation has made the most sense for us.