The hardest work is done! We’ve gotten to the point where we have a sale catalog and videos available. We have had more catalog requests than ever. That being said, I have little doubt we will have several no-sale bulls; we always have. I assume anyone who is interested will be able to get a bull with premier grazing genetics and calving ease for the base price of $2500. Time will tell. We will not go below $2500 for any of the bulls. If they do not sell we will band them, and they will go into either our grass or grain finished beef protocols.
We have had some interest in our transportation options listed in a previous update. I’ve had 2 customers, one in NE Nebraska and one in NC Kansas, let me know that they should be able to transport at least a few cattle on their loads. Our shared loads list will typically grow once we get closer to the sale and especially after the sale when we know what animals need to go where.
I’ve spent the majority of the space in these updates discussing our philosophies/system for raising and running out cattle. I think a seedstock producer MUST have a challenging system in place to pressure cattle so that the gold separates from the dross. If a seedstock producer can sell animals for an average of several thousand dollars, is their motivation to cull hard…or to get as many animals in the sale as they possibly can? I HOPE, someday, we can sell animals for several thousand dollars each, but if we do so, we will not compromise quality for sales. An animal will have to be able to withstand our test in order to make it into our sale. No matter your choice of vehicle, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, there are good ones and ones seemingly filled with problems. The same is true with seedstock. There isn’t a bull that sires a home run with every son. It is a seedstock provider’s responsibility to sort out the problems so that they become food, not seedstock. Feed and supplements do NOT sort, they prop.
With that said I would like to discuss our genetics. I believe, given enough time, most any breed could be tested and culled until good grazing genetics were found. The larger breeds would take longer, but there are probably Simmental, Limousine and Charolaise cattle that are moderate and would do well as grazers; they’ve just never been selected for that. Maybe they’ve been selected for growth and frame for so long that I’m wrong. Regardless, we have found what we believe to be excellent lines of Black and Red Angus, Herefords and Composite cattle that can do what it takes to thrive in a grazing environment.
Hereford: Our Hereford (polled) cattle came from the herd of David Hall, a premier breeder of cattle in southern Missouri. David had several cows with Trask genetics, and we purchased his herd dispersal several years ago. Here is a quote I found regarding Trask cattle: “The Trask cattle were developed by Neil W. Trask in South Carolina beginning in 1934. In 1937 and 1938, he purchased a grandson of Mossy Plato 26, and several granddaughters and great-granddaughters of Prince Domino. These cattle combined with selections from herds of similar breeding were the material he started with. An uncle advised him at the time to, ‘Buy the best you can find to begin with.’ Trask bred them for 60 years with the goal of producing ‘economical, beef making, profit making, grazing animals.’”
Trask cattle were selected to be efficient grazers that are docile and resistant to fescue. We find that they are gentle momma cows that calve easily, take harsh conditions and last a long time. We have been breeding them primarily to Edisto 136 Battle Rupert (Sustainable Genetics) and just recently, through the help of Tim Ohlde and Clyde Mattson, have found some old-line, bulletproof calving ease Hereford bulls. We are excited about the future of ICE Herefords.
Red Angus: Our red angus cows are primarily descendants of cows we used to lease from Pharo Cattle Company. We are using Amazon and Super Pud, PCC bulls raised by Al DeWitt and Steve Reinart, and OCC bulls Easy Red and Red Grazer for our A.I. project. Our red angus lineup may contain our favorite overall grazing genetics.
Black Angus: Our black angus cows are again primarily descendants of cows we leased from PCC. We have mated those females to OCC bulls using semen that Clyde Mattson has recommended. We stress calving ease and fleshing ability and get the added benefits of disposition and udder quality from OCC bulls.
Composites: ICE was the leading provider of composite genetics in terms of quality and volume when we left PCC. Several ICE bulls were used for PCC semen sales. We again started our composite herd by saving heifers from PCC leased composite cows. Our composites consist of Red or Black Angus, Hereford and Tarentaise. We have recently added OCC composite genetics that contain 1/8th Fleckvieh. We currently have a composite bull, Roaring River, that appears to be a calving ease bull. His sire was a Hatfield composite. Many commercial producers desire composites for the hybrid vigor but shy away from them because they can’t use them on heifers due to calving ease. We hope Roaring River changes that.
ICE believes that the system seedstock are produced in is just as important as the genetics themselves. Once premium grazing genetics are identified the system must sort out the individual animals that should rise to the top and become seedstock. With no pressure (generous feed and supplements), poorer quality cattle will be allowed to thrive beside the true “cream.” Have you ever had a bull that looks like an Olympic champion on sale day only to have him fall apart during the growing season? Our bulls will do precisely the opposite, they won’t be as impressive on sale day but will appear as world beaters as they progress through the grazing season.
Grace to you all.