Cattle that Work Best for Where You Raise Them: Bennett, Henderson Talk Adaptability
It’s a fact, not all Angus cattle work everywhere. Yet, cattlemen in tough environments across the country are breeding cattle that work well, even with Mother Nature’s challenges.
“If we have high expectations of our cow herd to perform in an efficient and regular manner, then we're going to identify the cattle that have adaptability because they're the ones that are going to calve early, breed early, rebreed early, raise a calf that's big enough, and then stay in the cow herds,” says Paul Bennett, Knoll Crest Farm, Red House, Va.
He and James Henderson, Bradley 3 Ranch near Childress, Texas, recently joined The Angus Conversation to talk about their experiences in crafting a cow herd fit for anything from drought to fescue.
Bennett said he’d rather breed problems out herd than manage them out.
“It’s all about working with Mother Nature and letting her help us identify those cattle that’ll work in our fescue environment,” he said, noting tools like foot scoring and the hair shed expected progeny difference (EPD) have allowed him to select from a larger potential genetic pool.
Henderson agrees and notes structure and moderate frame size are among some of the traits he values most in sires that will make long-lasting females.
“Our cows are all in two-section pastures and they’ve got to cover a lot of country. Bulls have got to cover country to get cows bred,” he said. “But they also have to adapt very quickly because our rainfall is not only short but sporadic.”
A quantity issue is made even more difficult by a quality issue.
“We have very high sulfates and nitrates in the water,” Henderson added. “Moving cattle into our environment and especially the summertime, a lot of times we’ll lose the cattle because they just flat won’t drink it.”
Henderson said for his tough environment, he has customers that have it even tougher, so his breeding program must be solid.
To learn how these Angus producers adapt their herds, challenges their customers deal with and how they market bulls for both “right now” and long-term success, search for The Angus Conversation any major podcasts platform, or follow this link: https://www.angusjournal.net/episodes/episode/77ea24e6/bennett-henderson-bad-water-bad-grass-and-creating-cattle-that-work