Brahman genetics provide relief for drought-stricken herds
Two summers of dire drought conditions in a vast majority of the U.S. has made drought relief a hot topic among the nation's cattlemen. The importance of selecting cattle that fit the environment is more apparent now than ever before, especially considering the extremely hot and dry conditions, limited forage and high feed prices that have driven cattlemen to disperse their herds. Yet even with the undesirable weather pattern, herd dispersal can be avoided. In fact, it has been avoided. Brahman and Brahman F-1 breeders have taken advantage of the American Brahman's drought tolerance to keep their business afloat.
Nationwide, the value of "eared" genetics, especially in cow herds, is taking on a whole new meaning. As the No. 1 beef breed for heat tolerance, efficiency and hybrid vigor, American Brahman genetics are proven to increase drought resistance in their progeny. Brahman F-1s are even more adaptable, heat resistant and efficient than their non-Brahman parent.
That is why Frank Reznicek, manager of the 100-year-old Kachele Ranch, has been a long time user of Brahman F-1 cows. Ranching in the rice country of Wallis, Texas, he's no stranger to running cattle on compromised land with limited forage. He says that Brahman F-1s always adapt.
"I use the F-1 cow because she is a survivor," said Reznicek. "That cow can withstand weather and insect problems and live on anything."
And although her survivability and adaptability are especially important to cattlemen who are enduring the current drought conditions, it's the Brahman F-1's bred-in efficiency that puts money back in the rancher's pocket, even in a troubled climate. The Brahman F-1 is known to utilize minimal forage and still wean heavy calves year in and year out. She's also a leader in longevity in the beef cattle realm.
Texas cattleman Jim McCord of JM Ranches in Gause, Texas, has been running Brahman F-1s for more than 25 years for just those reasons.
"It is our goal to wean off calves that weigh 50 percent of their mother's weight," McCord said. "We have no trouble doing that on our Brahman F-1 cows...[and they] stay in production usually up through 15 or 16 years old."
McCord's program, goals and use of the Brahman F-1 equates to higher lifetime cow productivity and consequently more profit for JM Ranches. That extra profit from putting the Brahman F-1 female to work is available to all ranchers, regardless of conditions beyond their control. And now is the time to utilize those it.
Cattlemen need to consider restocking with genetics that will ensure they won't suffer the same drought-caused losses in the future. Those who restock with high-quality genetics from adaptable, long-lasting and efficient cattle will come out ahead. Infusing the herd with Brahman blood is the key to turning a profit when drought becomes standard.