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First Beefmaster Genetics Arrive in Istanbul, Turkey

 

By: M. Doyle Sanders; International Committee Vice Chair for Europe & Asia

DBL D BAR Beefmaster Ranch of Industry/ New Ulm, Texas has successfully completed EU permit approval and shipped 67 Beefmaster embryos from our ranch genetics to Kafkas University in Kars, Turkey.  The tank of embryos arrived in Istanbul Airport on January 15, 2021.  The Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture, & Livestock (MinFAL) granted final import permit approval under European Union regulations.  This will allow a new Beefmaster project to proceed under the guidance of Dr. Yavuz Ozturkler- Professor of the Veterinary & Animal Science Department at Kafkas University in the Kars Province of Eastern Turkey.  The embryos will be used to develop the foundation Turkish Beefmaster herd for cross breeding with other native cattle such as European Limousin, Charolais, Simmental and Dairy Cattle.

This project has taken four years from the first introduction into Turkey with the dedicated assistance of the Ankara Office of the USDA FAS & US Embassy Ag Attache.  USLGE has assisted BBU in funding articles and presentations to educate the Turkish beef industry on American beef genetics.  This has included focus missions to Texas for senior MinFAL officials and key Veterinary Geneticists.  These missions included a delegation to the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course, visits to feedlots, packing plants, and genetic collection centers in Texas.  Other European Beefmaster breeders helped with field days near Rome, Italy to show key Turkish breeders live Beefmasters and discuss the potential benefits for Turkey.  Dr. Robert Wells of Noble Foundation and Dr. Joe Paschal of Texas Agrilife served as lecturers at the Rome field days and helped host during the Turkish visits to Texas.

For several years, Turkey has been the largest importing country in the world for feeder cattle with annual imports exceeding 600,000 head from Europe and South America.  In 2018, the Turkish Red Meat Producers Association Board of Directors recommended that Beefmasters become the national beef breed of choice for Turkey.  The Annual Association Meeting membership along with the Turkish Minister of Agriculture accepted this recommendation for the cattle industry’s future with Beefmasters.  With the official introduction and Ministry approval procedures for accepting Beefmasters into the Turkish national herd, Kafkas University stepped in to manage the project of establishing the foundation herd in Kars.

The Kars Province in Eastern Turkey is known as “Cattle Country” in Turkey.  As the foundation herd develops at Kafkas University, their genetics will become distributed to other parts of Turkey to demonstrate adaptability to severely harsh environments and to educate the farmers on the expected benefits of this unique breed.  USDA FAS Ankara will monitor and report project progress as an example of the American Agriculture industry reaching out to help international friends and neighbors.  DBL D BAR Beefmaster Ranch and BBU will continue to support this important project for our friends and international neighbors in Turkey and the surrounding regions of Europe and Asia.

Special thanks to Dr. Anne Bea Kulp of Kulp Genetics in Manheim, Pennsylvania, who supervised the collection and processing of these EU qualified embryos at OvaGenix ET Lab and completed the documentation for export to strict Turkish ET requirements.  The genetics import firm of Anadolu Hayvancilik in Istanbul coordinated with the Turkish MinFAL and managed the tank import procedures through final customs clearance and delivery to Kafkas University.  Sinem Duyum, USDA FAS Ankara office, helped clear the final hurdles for final customs acceptance of the USDA health certificates to allow first time entry of this new breed to Turkey. We look forward to seeing some Beefmasters on the ground by the end of 2021.

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New Year, New Goals!

 

By: Lance Bauer, Director of Breed Improvement

2020 was a year to remember, or forget, if you would like. Items like toilet paper and meat disappeared from store shelves amid the COVID 19 pandemic. People learned to work from home, and most learned how to use Zoom for teleconference meetings, albeit some are better at it than others. Personally, I am excited that we are in a new year and hopefully we will be able to slowly get back to normal in 2021. One thing that 2020 did show us is how strong and resilient the cattle industry is. Producers kept producing through tough times and sales brought us together during the year. I hope everyone keeps a positive outlook and sets goals for this new year. When making your resolution to go to the gym, or to get organized and drink less; don’t forget your cattle operation. Make sure that you are planning for the year and trying to make this your best year in the cattle industry. I encourage you to make goals to keep better and/or more records, while also using everything you measured to improve your herd.

This year when you are weaning calves try to collect mature cow weights and body condition scores, as well as the weaning weights of the calves. A mature cow weight with a body condition score will allow the breed to develop a mature cow weight EPD, which will strengthen our maternal index ($M). Mature cow weight is part of cow efficiency and sustainability. It is a measure that other breeds have been using for a while. We are the premier maternal breed in the industry, and we need to do everything we can to continue to prove it. Commercial producers use Beefmaster bulls to produce replacement females, so it is the job of seedstock producers to do everything they can to produce what the buyer needs.

Also, when planning for this new year it is a good idea to make sure you keep up with the latest news and advancements from across the beef cattle industry. Sign up for daily newsletters that cover the beef industry and start your day off with this information. Hopefully this year we will be able to have more conventions and field days that people can attend and learn in person. In 2020, there were various webinars presented to all who wanted to attend, and they were packed with great information. The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) posts facts and information on Facebook every Wednesday that is educational and at the front end of the industry. Keeping up with the industry is important, so that you can make the best decisions possible.

2020 has ended and I am glad to see it go, it was a crazy year, but we persevered and made it through. The cattle industry is resilient and will continue to provide high quality protein to consumers for years to come. I hope that everyone has a great start to 2021 and will make some new year resolutions for your cattle, as well as for yourself. I encourage you to always strive to make your cattle better and keep yourself educated on the happenings in the industry. Our job is to produce cattle for the commercial cattle producer, so that they can produce the best beef possible. Let’s keep pushing forward as a breed and keep making the best momma cow in the industry better, as well as keep ourselves up to date on industry happenings. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year.

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Cowart’s Cows

 

Third-generation Florida ranch builds better cows with Beefmaster genetics

Story and photos by Laura Conaway

 

A Beefmaster believer, Walton Cowart needs no convincing.

The third-generation cattleman, near Bunnell, Fla., has seen breed trends come and go; even tried a few himself. Now, with five years of Beefmaster bulls under his belt, he’s found the breed to keep.

The soft-spoken rancher isn’t one to push his opinion on another, though. In a room of opportunity, by choice his voice won’t carry.

“I think riding out here, looking at them says a lot more than I can say,” Cowart says, placing the burden of proof on the cows that graze his land. “Take a look and you’ll see what they [Beefmasters] can do in a cowherd.”

A June afternoon spent doing so reveals the rancher’s modest nature. In the house he designed by hand, overlooking the land he’s managed well, he prefers his successes show off without him.

Under a canopy of oaks, where crickets and cicadas sing their song, you’ll find Cowart’s cows. Roaming 1,700 acres of pastureland, timberland and swampland, to scan the scene is to get a snapshot of native Florida, untouched. It’s just about 25 miles from some of the world’s most famous beaches, yet the cows pay no mind to that, content to graze the blankets of white clover and breathe in the ocean breeze.

“We’ll have mild winters, then cold winters, dry springs and wet summers,” Cowart explains, “but one thing that’s always consistent is the heat and the humidity through the mid-summer, into the fall.”

And if rain so happens to pour, the grass will surely grow.

It’s nice to have good Beefmaster cows to graze it when it does, Cowart’s brother, David, adds.

The men were born into the business their grandfather dreamed into fruition. Their father kick-started their passion by gifting each child their very own heifer calf to start a herd. Decades past, no matter the pressures of regulations or urbanization, the Cowarts have long set their sights on seeing more dreams come alive on that coveted land. Perhaps through the watchful eyes of grandsons already on the ground.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been a bed of roses,” David says. “Ranching teaches you there’s going to be highs and lows, but you’ve just got to maintain and do the best you can. You’ll make it through.”

Because when the dust settles, despite the ebbs and flows that seem to be the only constant of the modern cattle producer, it’s cattle, like the commercial pairs that roam the Cowart Ranch, that remain the steady pulse of operations near and far.

“It’s always important to have a good, dependable cow around,” Walton says. The good, dependable ones are the ones that are going to make you money in the long run, despite the market situation.

“If they’ll consistently reproduce and have a good calf every year, that’s the name of the game right there. These Beefmaster cows are doing that for us.”

The Cowart’s journey to the complementary breed wasn’t always so defined, though. In 2015 they were looking to increase mothering capabilities by adding outside genetics to their closed herd of Angus and Brangus cows.

“We wanted to improve our females,” Cowart says. “We had good cattle but felt like, if we’re going to stay in this business, then we needed to make our females even better.”

While taking stock of some older cows on the ranch, the brothers noted some 18- and 19-year-old cows that were offspring of Beefmaster bulls used in the 80s. With longevity and fertility topping their list, they headed to Savannah, Tenn., and drove south with two Beefmaster bulls in tow.

“We put those bulls on an isolated herd, and at weaning time the following year, the calves weighed heavier than all the rest,” David says.

Almost 50 lbs. heavier to be exact, Walton recounts.

“We sold our first crop of Beefmaster calves in 2016 and they were the heaviest set of calves that we had weaned, ever,” he says.

Thick, growthy calves at weaning became custom from that point forward. Feedlots kept coming back for more steer calves, while their heifer mates fit seamlessly into the Florida herd as replacements.

“We’ve had what we felt like were good cows all along,” Walton says, “but I firmly believe that if you don’t buy bulls that are better than what cows you’ve got, then you’re not making any improvements at that point.”

Beefmasters have made all the difference.

“They’re just good momma cows when you get right down to it,” Walton says. His comment doesn’t come off as surprised, rather, he’s still taken aback by what Beefmasters bring to the table all these years later.

The goal is to have something to either take to market or put back into the herd. A cow that raises good calves that wean heavy; one that’ll breed back every year.

A cow you can depend on is money in your pocket. A cow you can build on, like the Beefmaster, is a guaranteed pay day.

“If you’re going to stay in this business, you want the very best that does the best for you,” David says.

Honing in on adaptability and the maternal traits synonymous with the breed, the ranchers seem satisfied with the choices they’ve made as their proof grazes the morning dew.

Nestled along the tree line of towering Pines, a young calf rests near a patch of overgrown palmettos, cool and just out of reach. Riding through the herd, looking at cows with hearty calves by their side, that’s the life the Cowarts have known since birth, the passion shared by many just like them.

“It puts a smile on my face to see that we are making progress and we have a goal for the future,” David says.

He looks out at those Beefmaster females, young and thriving. “As long as we’re going forward and not encountering setbacks, then I feel like we’re achieving something.”

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LIVE OAK BBA Bull Development Program: 2021-2022

 

The 2021-2022 Live Oak BBA Bull Development Program to be conducted at: LANDAIR, INC., 2050 Brown Ranch Lane – Beeville, Texas  78102

It is highly recommended that anyone planning to consign bulls to the 2022 LOBBA Bull Sale participate in this program.

Mission:   Provide a bull development program for LOBBA members.

Will include the following:

  • grow and condition yearling Beemaster bulls on a silage based ration
  • record average daily rate of gain (100-120 days test)
  • obtain weight per day of age
  • collect scan data and scrotal measurement
  • collect yearling weights
  • maintain growing period through summer months
  • conditioning and preparation for LOBBA Bull Sale 2022 -acquire rate of gain during conditioning period
  • present a uniform, quality set of bulls to meet customer demand

Bull eligibility:  Ages September 15, 2019 through April 30, 2020

(Fall group: 9-15-19 through 12-31-2019;  Spring group: 1-1-20 through 4-30-20)

Requirements:

  • Current LOBBA membership
  • LOBBA entry nomination fee of $50.00 per bull will be included on first Landair, Inc. billing statement
  • Signed contract/agreement with Landair, Inc.

When arriving at LANDAIR (Brown Ranch):

  • Copy of BBU registration certificate
  • Legible, permanent holding brand and ID (brand or tattoo) . All ear tags will be removed at arrival and replaced with LOBBA tag and an EID tag.
  • Suggested health vaccination and protocol (see LANDAIR contract)
  1. Modified Live (ML) viral vaccine such as Pyramid 5
  2. 7 or 8 way blackleg
  3. Deworm
  4. Pasturella vaccine
  5. Weaned minimum of 45 days
  • All bulls will be given a booster vaccine on arrival (Pyramid 5) at consignors expense – approximately $3.00

Arrival Time/Dates

  • Bulls may begin arriving at Landair after December 15, 2020
  • All bulls must be in place by January 25, 2021

Contact at Landair, Inc.:  Must contact Austin Brown III prior to delivery of your bulls for entry to the property.  His number is 361-597-0373.  Entry gates are locked for security.  Visitors are welcome with proper notification.

Additional Information

  • Gain test will start February 1, 2021 for a 120 day feeding period.
  • First evaluation of bulls at conclusion of gain test – last week of May, 2021
  • Scan data, yearling weights and scrotal measurements will be done at appropriate times for Fall and Spring groups.
  • Fall bulls that have not been scanned prior to arrival at Landair, Inc. will be scanned on  January 29, 2020 to fit within the 500 day requirement.  Spring bulls will be scanned April 6, 2021.
  • Bulls will be maintained at a growing rate of gain through the summer.
  • A second evaluation of the bulls will occur prior to the finishing, conditioning segment of the program.
  • Conditioning phase will be September through January.  Gain will be recorded.
  • Bulls will be tagged, clipped, videoed and tested at the end of November or the first week of December.
  • Hauling, fitting, testing will be done at consignors’ expense at a group rate.

 

For information & nomination contact:

  • Melvin Scherer, Jr.: 361-877-2577  melvinscherer@yahoo.com
  • Anthony Mihalski: 210-415-0888  aj1mihalski@aol.com

 

Bull delivery at LANDAIR (Brown Ranch): Austin Brown III

361-597-0373

361-358-6161

aebrown70@gmail.com

 

DOWNLOAD Bull Feeding Contract 2021

 

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SFA Bull Development Program Spring 2021

 

SFA Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce that they will host a Spring Bull Development Program. The bull development program is scheduled to begin January 2021. Reserve your spot today. Bulls will be charged $0.90/d for yardage + feed costs. Bulls will be fed from January 15 through November 30. Additional details in the attached packet here.

There is still time to deliver your heifers also. Producers needing to deliver cattle at an earlier date may do so by contacting farm manager Cobey Hendry.

For more information contact Cobey Hendry (985) 514-3516  or Dr. Erin Brown (936) 468-4433.

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Carcass Quality

 

By: Lance Bauer, Director of Breed Improvement

This has been a year of new experiences for everyone and has really shown the resilience of the agriculture industry. The year started calm and then COVID-19 happened, and we saw shortages of all sorts of products from toilet paper to meat. One thing that never had a shortage was fake meat, which proved that consumers want good old-fashioned beef. As cattle producers it is our job to make sure that we help put the highest quality safest product on the table of consumers. In the US beef industry, there are different quality grades of meat and those higher quality grades demand a premium price. The grades are Prime, Choice, Select and Standard, with Prime being the highest quality grade.  These grades are based on marbling and age, marbling is the intramuscular fat. Because of this premium and demand for higher quality beef, it is important that Beefmaster breeders keep this in mind while making breeding decisions.

As a breed we have come a long way in the past few years in terms of carcass quality. More and more breeders are scanning cattle and using that information to help in breeding and culling decisions. As a breed we have increased the average rib-eye area (REA) by a good amount, however we have not made near as much improvement on intramuscular fat (IMF). This means that there needs to be some focus on IMF moving forward and we should focus on increasing it. While our focus should be making the best females in the industry, we can not neglect the final product and sacrifice quality. Continuing to use the IMF EPD, as well as scan data, it is easy to make quick progress in this area because it is a highly heritable trait. We need to make sure that the steers that our customers produce will grade and demand a premium.

Over the past few years there has been data collected on finished Beefmaster cross steers and it looks good for our breed. Many of the cattle are grading choice or better and have good yield grades too. One set of steers recently did extremely well. Seventy-one steers sired by Beefmaster bulls were harvested and graded 96% Choice or better and 6% graded Prime. The average yield grade was 3.37, which means on average there was no deduction for a higher yield grade. These steers did extremely well and brought a $48 premium per head. This is promising data for the breed and shows that we are moving in the right direction, but we need to keep pushing forward and making improvements.

As a breed we are taking steps in the right direction in terms of carcass quality, but we still have improvements to be made. It is an extremely important aspect because it is the final product that consumers have on their plate, so it must always be on our mind as a breed. Being able to produce a high-quality carcass allows customers to have the opportunity to put more money in their pockets by making a premium on their cattle. We are a maternal breed first, but we must not lose sight of the rest of the industry and we need to constantly make improvements on Beefmaster carcass quality.

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New Rules Start January 2021

 

AS OF JANUARY 1, 2021 –

EMBRYOS:

  • EVERY EMBRYO CALF MUST BE GENOTYPED PRIOR TO RECEIVING A C# (CERTIFICATE)
    • FIRST YOU MUST GET A P# ON THE EMBRYO CALF
    • THEN YOU MUST SUBMIT A SAMPLE ON THE CALF (AN ULTRA LOW-DENSITY WILL WORK) FOR GENOTYPE
    • ONCE THE ULD GENOTYPE IS BACK AND RECORDED ON THE P# YOU CAN PROCEED TO COMPLETE THE REGISTRATION OF THE EMBRYO CALF
  • EVERY EMBRYO CALF REGISTERED
    • WILL REQUIRE AN AI CERTIFICATE IN YOUR AI INVENTORY AT BBU FOR THE SIRE
    • OR REQUIRE YOU HAVE AN EMBRYO RECORDED IN YOUR EMBRYO INVENTORY AT BBU

 

AI CERTIFICATES:

  • ONLY THE CURRENT/LAST RECORDED OWNER OF A BULL MAY PURCHASE AI CERTIFICATES ON THAT BULL AS OF JANUARY 1, 2021.
  • IF YOU COLLECTED BULLS YOU ONCE OWNED BUT HAVE SINCE SOLD, BE SURE YOU RECORD AI CERTS ON HIM AT BBU, PRIOR TO THE DATE YOU SOLD HIM (SUBMIT AN AI CERTIFICATE PURCHASE/TRANSFER FORM WITH TOP HALF COMPLETED PUTTING THE QUANITY YOU ARE “PURCHASING” – FEE IS $5 FOR EACH AI CERTIFICATE PURCHASED). NOTE: YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO BACK DATE AI CERTIFICATE PURCHASES AS OF JANUARY 1, 2021. IF YOU NEED ADDITIONAL AI CERTS, YOU WILL HAVE TO CONTACT THE CURRENT/LAST RECORDED OWNER OF THE BULL TO GET THEM
  • TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL AI CERTIFICATES TO REGISTER EMBRYO CALVES AND/OR AI CALVES, YOU WILL NEED TO CONTACT THE PERSON YOU PURCHASED THE SEMEN FROM. IF THEY CANNOT SUPPLY THE ADDITIONAL AI CERTS NEEDED THEN CONTACT THE CURRENT/LAST RECORDED OWNER OF THE BULL AND GET AI CERTS FROM THEM.

 

 

SOME RULES DIDN’T CHANGE…..

  • EMBRYO DONOR (NOT IN USE – MEANING WITH A RECORDED EMB CALF OR EBOS PROCESSED – AS A DONOR BEFORE AUGUST 1, 2016) MUST BE HIGH DENSITY GENOTYPED AND PARENT VERIFIED
  • AI SIRE (NOT IN USE – MEANING WITH RECORDED AI PROGENY OR AI CERTS RECORDED – BEFORE AUGUST 1, 2016) MUST BE HIGH DENSITY GENOTYPED AND PARENT VERIFIED

 

 

 

HOW TO GET A P# ON AN ANIMAL

  • WHEN REGISTERING ONLINE – DO NOT CLICK THE REGISTER BOX AND YOU WILL RECEIVE A P# INSTEAD OF A C#
  • WHEN MAILING INTO THE OFFICE – MARK THE COLUMN THAT SAYS REGISTER NOW? AS “NO”
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Producing Commercial Females through Value Added Programs

 

By Jeralyn Novak, Communications Coordinator

Value-added programs are on the rise in the beef industry as input costs increase and margins remain tight. Enterprising beef producers are exploring new ways to improve their return on investment and open doors to new marketing avenues. Beefmaster Breeders United offers a value-added program through the Beefmaster E6 Commercial Female. The BBU Essential Commercial Female Program is a prime example of expanding the market for Beefmaster cattle. The program, referred to as the E6 program, focuses attention on the strong maternal traits of Beefmaster cattle and helps commercial cattlemen develop stronger markets and greater value for their Beefmaster and Beefmaster cross heifers. The word “essential” is included in the name because of the six essentials upon which the breed was founded – weight, conformation, milk production, fertility, disposition and hardiness.

While attractive, hearty bulls are often known to steal the spotlight, the modest hero of this legendary breed is without a doubt the essential Beefmaster female. She’s universal – in tropical climates of the South, high altitude or sparse sections of the West. Throughout the Fescue Belt and stretching into the High Plains, the Beefmaster female remains constant.

What is an E6 Certified Female?

The E6 program is a commercial Beefmaster female. This female was labeled as an E6 based off the essential six traits that were used to develop the Beefmaster breed. This program has been around now for about 20 plus years. The National E6 Sale in Columbus, Texas, and others like it throughout the Plains and Florida, ensure there’s verified and top-quality females available for purchase. The National E6 Sale as been held for 15 years plus.

Commercial breeders from all over the country are constantly looking to restock their pastures with Beefmaster cross females.

“They are needing that genetics and they realize that in hot and humid and tropical regions they need cattle that can go out there and eat really low quality forage, that has high water content, fight mosquitoes, fight pests and go out make money for them in a hostile climate situation,” said Trey Scherer, a Beefmaster breeder from Brenham, Texas and a consignor to the National E6 Sale.

The essential Beefmaster cross, there’s no better cow. In today’s beef cattle industry, branded programs are the main topic of discussion. The Beefmaster E6 Program is a branded program for those highly sought-after replacement females. This program also gives the buyer assurance that these cattle are at least 50% Beefmaster and that they have been inspected for quality. The program serves as a marketing tool for the cattle producer.

“When you get around trying to kind these kinds of cattle, they’re hard to find. They are popular,” said Anthony Mihalski, a long-time auctioneer and sale manager for the Beefmaster industry.

The advantage of these commercial Beefmaster female sales is that each sale has specific consignors that are committed to producing these types of cattle and holding them for these value-added sales.

“These sales give us one place where buyers can come to and get a pretty large offering,” said Mihalski.

When buyers purchase cattle from the commercial Beefmaster females from these sales they know the ranch that the cattle are coming from.

“You know that these cattle are at least half registered Beefmaster genetics. They give that producer that secure feeling that I am going to get that longevity. We know that these cattle are home raised cattle and coming out of vaccination programs,” said Scherer.

If you are a commercial cattleman, you simply can’t afford NOT to be crossbreeding. The benefits of a crossbred cow to any commercial herd are undeniable and highly documented.

Scherer is a true believer in Beefmaster genetics and the advantages of crossbreeding to produce a commercial Beefmaster female. “There’s no more versatile cow out there in the industry than a Beefmaster cow.”

Crossbreeding leads to hybrid vigor or heterosis. Simply put, crossbred calves, on the average, are better performers than their straight bred parents. More vigorous at birth, faster growing calves perform better for almost every trait and make more money.

“The beautiful part about a Beefmaster based cow and or just Beefmaster genetics is that you can put them on anything. You can fit them to whatever program serves your ranch the best. You can add Beefmaster genetics to it to get the longevity, the structure, to get the efficiency and it’s going to work within the first year,” said Larry Meacham, a Beefmaster breeder and commercial cattlemen.

Crossbred cows improve calving rates, calf survivability, more calves born and weaned, more pounds of calf and more calves produced over the cow’s lifetime. With good management, Maternal Heterosis will make a rancher more money than anything else he can do.

Meacham adds, “she’s [Beefmaster cow] known for her maternal traits. She’s known for her longevity, along with her efficiency in the pasture when converting grass into pounds. There’s no better female than a Beefmaster based cow.”

That’s the Certified E6 Beefmaster Female. With longevity and sustainability at her core, she’s the cow that can do it all. Her versatility compliments any program and brings cattle producers more dollars at the end of the day.

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Inspired By the Land

 

Story and Photos By Tahlia Warrick

reprinted with permission from Glades Electric Cooperative

 

Fisheating Creek winds through wetlands, prairies, hammocks and woodlands as it makes its way through Highlands and Glades counties to reach Lake Okeechobee in south central Florida. It is the last natural tributary to the lake.

Through the years, the creek has inspired recreation, conservation, art and adventure. Most recently, the creek and its surrounding lands inspired a new author.

Dr. Richard Karlson, a Glades Electric Cooperative member from Lake Placid, published his first book this summer. “Impossible Quest: One Man’s Journey for Adventure on the Last Frontier” details accounts from Richard’s life as a conservationist, hunter and rancher along the creek’s basin outside Venus.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Richard moved to Pompano Beach as a young man to open an orthodontic practice. An avid hunter and pilot, he frequently took to the skies in search of new places to hunt. He soon realized most of the wild lands surrounding Pompano Beach would be lost to development.

“It was getting so built up,” Richard says. “I used to go quail hunting with a friend of mine west of Pompano Beach. Pretty soon, the concrete jungle started going over everything, and we had no place left to hunt.”

In search of a new place to land, Richard searched from the air, spotting the parcel of land along Fisheating Creek he would later buy and work to preserve.

“The original purchase was 200 acres,” Richard says. “Now it’s over 500 acres. I kept adding on over the years.”

Richard initially bought land along the creek to serve as a hunting camp for private use. But he eventually moved his family to Highlands County, and his use for the land evolved.

“When I bought the land, it was just natural prairie grass, and everybody around was in the cattle business,” he says. “I was looking to do something productive with it, and cattle were a natural fit.”

Today, Richard manages a portion of the land as a cow-calf operation and a portion as a natural wildlife preserve, which he has left untouched. His son manages citrus groves and a citrus nursery on drier parts of the property, away from the creek.

“I didn’t want to bulldoze it all down and change it,” Richard says. “I wanted to leave something in its original state.

“That’s my hobby: trying to keep it as pristine as possible.”

In managing his herd of Beefmaster cattle, Richard is intentional about selecting the most suitable forages and practices for grazing near the environmentally sensitive Fisheating Creek basin.

“We planted Hermarthia grass (or Limpograss) with the help of UF/IFAS Extension Services,” he says. “We were the first ones to plant it in Highlands County. Our ranch is a perfect combination: half wetlands in the headwaters of Fisheating Creek and half higher ground.

“During the winter dry months, the grass will support a herd of 140 cows—almost one cow per acre—in contrast to some of my neighbors on higher ground who have to buy hay to supplement.”

Richard says he has faced many challenges through the years—from encounters with wildlife to dealings with real estate developers. Despite the obstacles, he remains determined to preserve and protect this unique piece of Florida.

That mission has sent him on many adventures, which inspired his book.

“My efforts were to try to preserve the pristine wildlife corridor that runs along Fisheating Creek from Palmdale up almost to Highlands Hammock State Park,” Richard says. “It was a great effort to succeed in doing that. These are the stories that came from it.”

When talking with friends and acquaintances, it wasn’t unusual for Richard to recount experiences of close encounters with alligators or unruly trespassers. He was often told his stories should be in a book.

“These are all true stories that I thought people would find interesting, especially people familiar with the area,” Richard says. “A lot of our friends never even knew these things happened.”

Richard worked with Melissa Main, his co-author, to bring the stories to life.

“I learned that I wish I had kept a diary, a daily diary, of everything that’s happened in my life,” he says. “The hardest thing was trying to go back over 50 years and try to keep everything in perfect sequence. I was thankful I had someone like Melissa who would research and check things.”

Richard’s stories come from a lifetime spent trying to preserve a piece of Florida’s heartland. He is not ready to give up the fight just yet.

A proposed toll road has the potential to fall west of Fisheating Creek basin. Richard says he hopes the new road does not encroach on the pristine area surrounding the creek.

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Lyssy Beefmasters, G4 Ranch Heart of the Herd Production Sale Report

 

Luling, Texas

October 3, 2020

  • 11 Pair Lots: Gross = $186,000.00, Avg.= $16,909.09
  • 23 Bred Heifer Lots: Gross = $246,000.00, Avg. = $10,695.65
  • 8 Open Heifer Lots: Gross = $115,000.00, Avg. = $14,375.00
  • 3 Bull Lots: Gross = $47,000.00, Avg. = $15,666.67
  • 1 Flush Lot: Gross = $20,000.00, Avg. = $20,000.00
  • 1 Frozen Embryo Lot: Gross = $65,500.00, Avg. = $65,500.00
  • 1 Semen Lot: Gross = $24,125.00, Avg. = $24,125.00
  • 48 Total Lots: Gross = $703,625.00, Avg. = $14,658.85
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