- Miranda Reiman, Angus Media
The Angus Conversation: Building a Brand and Cattle That Match With Kelly Schaff
“A big bull calf with a white nose.”
When Kelly Schaff’s Grandpa Paul surveyed his pairs on his North Dakota pastures, that’s the criteria the patriarch applied to select his next sires.
“And as simplistic as that might sound, that big bull calf had the performance gene because he was big and heavy, and he had the milk gene because he had milk dripping off his nose,” Kelly Schaff said.
Today the tools are more numerous, but the goal remains the same: to breed for quality calves that produce more pay weight while also producing females that stay in the herd. Schaff was a recent guest on The Angus Conversation, an Angus Journal podcast, where he talked about the advantages of diversity and competition in the breed.
This year’s sale was their second highest in the history of the program, and Schaff credits that to reputation and dependable customer service.
“You’ve got to start by, I think first and foremost, having a really high-quality product and then being disciplined, and making sure that you’re true to what you’re trying to produce and you’re focused,” Schaff said. “You need to be real consistent on what you’re doing so people know what you stand for and what you’re trying to build.”
He’s known for his high level of detail and laser focus on knowing the cows.
“I try to see every calf every day for the first 60 days or so of their life,” Schaff said. “I think when you really like the cattle and know them, you can represent them better. But also, you like to look at good cattle and if you’re around them every day, it gives you incentive to breed better cattle.”
He says their target is a cow that lasts, with a good udder and a frame size that fits the environment. Schaff doesn’t see his ideal female changing, though he knows as breeders they’ll have to be nimble when helping customers addressing rising input costs and other pressures.
Looking ahead, he’s hopeful; and looking back, he’s thankful.
“We’ve been blessed with success beyond what we could have ever imagined, and we’ll certainly credit the good Lord for that.”
To hear the entire episode of The Angus Conversation, search for “Kelly Schaff’s Ideal Angus Cow and the Tools That Create Her” on any major podcast platform, or follow this direct link.