Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Mexican Bull

El Toro Mexicano- The Mexican Bull. I don't call this bull that name because he is from Mexico, he has that name because he is not my bull-he is my neighbors, who is Hispanic. My neighbor owns a 20 acre tract of pasture. On it he has three horses, four bulls, a five cows. That is a little heavy on the bull to cow ratio. This red Brahman bull has been on our place since fall. Ironically, my big Gelbvieh bull Cletus got very ill about the same time. Cletus is now gone, so I am in no hurry for my neighbor to get his bull.
The first bull I can remember on the K-Bar was a big Red Brahman like this. His name was Raspberry. We have always understood genetics. My family and I have also understood that the quickest way to alter your herd was by the bulls, since they provide half the genetic makeup up the calves while the mama cow provides the other half. The difference is the bull fathers 20-25 calves a year. The cow has one.
Because of this we always had good, solid, tested bulls. The first wave of genetic improvement of the East Texas cattle herds were Brahmans. The big reason was because they tolerated the heat and humidity. They also did better with insects, flies and tics. We soon began to upgrade into British breeds, (Angus and Hereford,) to build better carcasses and make better beef. They were also polled, (hornless,) and that helped in the handling. Eventually we introduced the larger continental breeds, (Simmental, Gelbvieh,) to build larger frames. We were educated, profit driven producers. We were doing the right thing-we thought.
Funny thing about genetics and cattle. Cattle with genetics to do well in the mid west and in Europe don't always do well in East Texas. We spent over fifty years developing cattle that would do well on the high plains but were miserable in Angelina County. My cows need to survive on grass and browse, I do not raise corn. Now I am looking back at Longhorns and Brahmans as seed stock, and the cows are doing better. They are fitting what I need them to do. They don't bring as much per pound in the sale ring as Black Angus, but the cows breed back better and don't take near as much extra feed. In the long run, we make more money. Maybe Papa wasn't so stupid after all raising Brahmans.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, great article, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly, thank you!