By Kylene Scott
Nineteen inches of rain since the first of June will do a ranch good. The Merrill Ranch in rural Comanche County, Kansas, is green in August and a sight to behold.
The ranch hosted the Kansas Livestock Association/Kansas State University Ranch Field Day, Aug. 13 near Wilmore, Kansas. Manager Dee Scherich said it’s fantastic to have this much moisture available this time of year. Scherich and his wife, Phyllis, have been managing the Merrill Ranch since 1976 and have nearly 700 mother cows on 26 sections of land. His father began managing the operation in 1945.
“Our herd is basically a closed herd. We did buy 40 head of heifers last fall, but that’s the first cows that we’ve bought to my knowledge since the 1950s,” Scherich said.
Until 1997 the cows were mostly Herefords, and after taking a beating by the market, the change to mostly black animals was made.
“In fact, we sold all of our Hereford bulls in one year and made a quick changeover,” Scherich said. “We’ve used a lot of Gardiner Angus influence in our cows since ’97. Some of our cows, I’m sorry to say, are bigger than what we’d like to have, but if you buy a calf that shows good growth, you’re going to get big cows.”
The cowherd has been maintained on the ranch, replacing heifers with animals raised on the ranch.
“We try to buy quality bulls and so our cows are—we think—very good quality cows,” Dee said. [Read More]