We began our purebred Red Angus herd in 1999 with the purchase of a bull and heifer. It is from that nucleus that our herd has been developed. We purchased some cows thereafter, but have maintained a closed cowherd since 2002.

Our initial focus was developing sound cattle, capable of surviving and thriving on the often limited inputs available on the High Plains. Selection pressure was applied to produce cattle with calving ease, low birth weight, and high longevity in the herd – meaning an EPD emphasis favoring high CED, low BW, and high STAY. Although not an early focus of our herd bull selections, we have also long applied pressure on maintenance energy, preferring a low ME EPD. The latter is simply a reflection of the environment in which our cattle live, and conditions to which we subject our cows. For winter rations, our cows forage stock-piled grass until mid-February, and are only fed supplemental hay from that point through calving. (In very rare instances of ice or extremely heavy snowfall, we do feed hay for brief periods before mid-February; however, those precipitation events are not common in our part of the country.) Since 2009, we have also applied selection pressure on the HPG and CEM EPDs, the results of which are now starting to become apparent.

We have emphasized these EPDs because we want a cow that will calve unassisted, forage for a significant portion of her nutritional needs, yet breed back to produce fertile progeny. In the process, we don’t overlook the other genetic traits, but we won’t pursue a high YW EPD, for example, if it were to come at the expense of any of our main areas of focus.

But there is no EPD for the most important trait for which we have selected – disposition. It is no understatement that we have been very meticulous in culling any cows which display aggression. Anyone who has had to weigh a newborn calf with the momma cow in one’s hip pocket will fully appreciate this sentiment. We have also found that quiet cows are just better for any scenario – whether it’s working them, loading them, or simply moving among them. University studies back us up on this. Flighty calves don’t gain as well in the feedlot.

We believe the selection criteria we employ will produce cattle that can survive and thrive on limited inputs.