Our overall goal as a cattle breeder is to produce uniformly consistent cattle that are maternally efficient grass based animals that perform well in the feed lot. We started with line bred genetics and plan to line breed creating cows that are all similar in style and size. We want to have consistent performing cattle that have a phenotype that fits our operational needs. We have predominantly raised horned Herefords but recently introduce Neil Trask Herefordblood lines into our herd which are polled genetics. The top qualities we want in our cattle are docility, Udder/Teat quality, Grass efficiency, and Longevity.
The number one trait we look for is good tempered cattle. Jake works with the cattle by himself much of the time. By having docile cattle moving them, working them, and visually inspecting them makes cattle farming a much more enjoyable occupation and a much safer one.
Ultimately, we would like all of our cows to have perfect udders/teats, however, the reality is it takes a life time of culling and selection to get there. We have a good start. Several of our cow lines have good udders. We were fortune to find Gene Meitler who spent his life time working toward a linebred Bonsma style herd of good udder cows. We have used his bulls as a way to improve our herds udder quality.
We believe in order to have low maintenance/high production cattle we have to have grassed based cow genetics. Our cows graze on some type of forage year around. They have to grow a calf and wean a calf on it too. Our Neil Trask bull from Kim Prestwood (Prestwood Plato X314 H7) embodies the fescue tolerance and fleshing ease to produce grass based genetics. I know we may not have “curve bending” weaning weights but we would like to think our cows are efficiently growing calves on grass without supplemental feed (i.e., creep feed).
We hope to have our cows in our herd for 10 to 15 years or more. Simply put the more years the cow stays in the herd the more profitable she is.
One item to note is our cows are registered, but do NOT have expected progeny differences (EPD). We feel that EPD’s do not reflect the interaction of the animal’s genotype with the actual environmental conditions nor do they provide an objective visual evaluation of the animal’s production consistency and functionality.