In 2016 we were fortunate to be able to spend an entire month in the southern states of the USA visiting stud and commercial Brangus herds. This trip offered us the opportunity to meet some great folk in fellow Brangus breeders, and at the same time see some of the sires that we are using in our AI program as well as the great cows behind the breed.
Being members of IBBA (International Brangus Breeders Association) provided us with contact details of fellow American Brangus breeders and information on their herds and locations. In setting up the visits we made email and cell phone contact and had 100% acceptance to our requests for visits, including several invitations to stay over on the ranches.
Flying direct from Sydney to Dallas Fort Worth (apparently the longest commercial flight currently in the world) saw us start the trip in eastern Texas. The trip started in the very capable hands of Cheramie Viator, a cattle consultant, who we had met at Beef 2015 at Rockhampton with the Pearce family of Telpara Hills. Cheramie had arranged a splendid line up of studs, commercial operators and breeding establishments, and kept us going 24/7 with visits, good food and friendship.
Cavender Ranch, Neches River TX
Joe Cavender, principal of Cavender Ranch showed us over their impressive operations at Neches River where we saw his breeders, young sale bulls and progeny of the buzz sire 'Three D 302A' (by Hombre). Joe uses an ET program and rejoins failed recips 60 days post initial ET.
Garry Clem Brangus, Jacksonville TX
Garry and Phyllis Clem were our hosts where we were shown over their impressive small, elite stud including the stand out matron Ms Csonka 9U8U3 who has produced some excellent sires including Texas Star and The Gentleman.
Trent Wilson, Advanced Genetic Services TX
Trent and his team run a successful, complete ET service, CSS Qualified, including embryos for the international market including Australia.
Integrated Breeding Services
IBS provides services to the stud industry with semen collection, storage and dispatch. We were able to inspect the facilities and see at first hand several top sires who were located at this first class AI centre for CSS approved semen collection
Kent Smith, General Manager, Santa Rosa Ranch, Crocket TX
Santa Rosa Ranch and Brangus stud is owned by Gerald Sullivan and his daughter Kelly (who we had met at Beef 2015 with Cheramie Viator). Kent is a very interesting man in that he had worked with Mr Brinksman, on the Brinks Brangus stud from 1972, as the stud was being developed, and now effectively manages the Santa Rosa Ranch. We saw the standout stud sires Tailor Made 361Y12 and High Profile 000U18 and their progeny.
Tommy Sparkman, Ranch Manager, Mound Creek Ranch
Mound Creek is the home of several top bulls including MC Boulder 889Z18 (by Something Special) and MC Elegido 924W6 (full brother to Onstar and Rockstar). Mound Creek are active with an ET program where they prefer “wet” recips over dry cows for best results. The stud is also involved with UB1 and UB2 Brangus to meet their client’s needs.
Genesis Ranch, Columbus TX
Mike Weathers, Principal. Genesis Ranch is a comparatively small stud (110 breeders), but has an excellent line up of elite females, where AI to proven sires is the model utilised. Stud heifers are selected to enter the herd on the basis of EBV’s and phenotype, and are joined to calve at 24-26 months of age. Mike showed us over his herd and they are exceptional.
Steve Hudgins, Principal of the new Brangus Stud - LW Hudgins Brangus, JD Hudgins Inc.
Steve Hudgins, Principal of the new Brangus stud- LW Hudgins Brangus. Steve showed us over the bull depot and office for the Hudgins Brahman Stud which was most impressive. He has recently established a small Brangus stud, based on the best Hudgins sires and US Angus genetics to produce three quarter blood cows, bred back to Angus bulls. A standout potential sire from this breeding is Mr New Blood 50, who is being used in stud currently.
These visits to top Texan studs and breeding centres were arranged by Cheramie Viator and we thank her sincerely for her friendship and for freely sharing her vast knowledge and contacts of the USA beef cattle and Brangus scene with us.
Jim and Gail Anderson, Brandon MS
Jim and Gail are both veterinarians who operate a successful practice in Brandon, along with a developing commercial Brangus herd on their nearby ranch. Females purchased at the Camp Cooley dispersal and their descendants provide the basis to a neat herd which may be elevated to stud status as a purebred Brangus bull has been acquired recently. Best management practice is carried out with ultrasound for pregnancy status, rotational grazing of improved pastures consisting of rye grass and ball clover and low stress stock handling.
Dr Robert Williams, General Manager, Cain Cattle Company (CCC), Pickens
CCC breed Brangus, UB1, Beefmaster and Charolais and bulls are sold at auction on the property. Robert selects cattle for all desirable traits and especially for calving ease (low birth weight) and carcase (REA). It was interesting to discuss a much used term in USA relating to cattle currently-“moderate” with Robert. His considered response was “not extreme- either way”.
Milton Sundbeck (Owner) and Joy Reznicek (GM), Town Creek Farm, West Point
Milton has developed a top operation and Brangus stud at West Point, MS. The stud has grown significantly with the purchase of Cow Creek Brangus herd (once the largest stud Brangus herd in USA with 1500 breeders) and the originators of the term Ultra Black. The focus of Town Creek is on fertility, joining heifers at 15 months to calve as two year olds. AI is used extensively with back up bulls going in at 8 days post AI.
Nic Cornelison, Principal and the then Cattle Manager of Lake Majestik, Flat Rock AL
Lake Majestik has an extensive ET and AI program and has purchased original Camp Cooley and Brinks breeders as well as Australian genetics to bolster their fast developing and well regarded stud. A useful app on cell phone is used to identify and track genetics while in the paddock was demonstrated by Nic. The app was developed and enhanced by IBBA and is known as “Chuteside”. With the stud breeders, sires and breeding program being undertaken at Lake Majestik it is likely that we will see more of their genetics here in Australia.
David Walker, Principal, High Rock Farms AL
David is working closely with Lake Majestik and has a relatively new but quality line up of breeders to start his stud where he has Csonka progeny and using ET to accelerate his breed up time.
Jeff Reznicek (Manager) and Joy Reznicek (Owner), Cow Creek Ranch, Aliceville
Jeff has been named to the “2015 Class of America’s Best Young Farmers and Ranchers”. He was recognised for his outstanding contributions to the cattle industry and for his work to sustainably manage Cow Creek Ranch. The ranch consists of 2350 acres and provides irrigated (by two large Centre Pivots) and rain grown pastures for heifers from Town Creek Farm Brangus stud, plus bulls.
Chris Heptinstall, GM and Director of IBBA, Salacoa Valley Farms, Fairmount GA
Salacoa Valley has a large stud herd of some 1000 breeders and has had success in breeding top Brangus sires such as Atlanta, New Vision, Hollywood and Stonewall.
The bulk of the bulls are sold to the cattle state of Florida, while others are used in southern states. Cattle are worked on horseback and checked for heat during ET in the paddock on horses. It is interesting to note that Salacoa Valley Brangus Stud is owned by the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida. The stud was purchased as a going operation to provide herd sires for the tribes commercial herds, to in turn provide beef for the wholly owned and vertically integrated Hard Rock Café chain of restaurants.
Joe and Catherine Kassler, Owners, and Vince Roberts, Manager, The Oaks Farms, Grantville GA
Joe and Catherine Kassler, Owners, and Vince Roberts, Manager. The visit to The Oaks was a highlight of the trip due to the stand out stud herd and excellent facilities. The visit also provided the opportunity to see Csonka and some of his home bred progeny, unfortunately on our arrival home we learnt that this legend of the breed had died, leaving a gap for his proven genetics. Stud heifers are joined by AI at approx 16 months of age, at approx 1000 pounds (400 kg) live weight. Bulls are prepared for sale on a high roughage ration, gaining 3.5 pounds per day. Ultrasound for pregnancy checking is carried out at 45-60 days post AI or ET.
Kathy and I would like to thank the folk and studs mentioned herein for their hospitality, friendship and open communication on all matters Brangus during our visits to Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.
Mount Creek Ranch Leona TX Sale Barn at Mound Creek. MC Elegido 924W6 with cows & calves.
The Gentleman Garry and Phyllis Clem Ms Csonka 9U8U3 with calf
Steve Hudgins with Cheramie & Kathy Brahman herd Brangus Stud at Hungerford TX
Young bulls at Cavender Ranch
Entrance to Lake Majestik Farms Brinks Matrons John admiring Lake majestic stock
Santa Rosa Ranch, Crocket TX Calf Creche Head stockman & Kent Smith & Cheramie
I.B.S. Facilities Storage area. Bull Inspection barn.
John, Milton and Joy Town Creek Sale Barn A view of the grounds
John & Kathy with Joe Cavender
Dr. Robert Williams in Sale Barn CCC Pastures at Cain Cattle Co. MS MC Onstar 924W4.
On the farm with Jim Anderson Gail, Jim and Kathy in Brandon MS
Salacoa Valley Farms. John, Kathy and Chris at the office Freeze Branding in the covered yards
Mr. Mike Weathers, Genesis Ranch, Columbus TX Young heifers at Genesis Ranch.
We enjoyed our visit to David's Ranch having been taken there by Nik Cornelison and his manager.
Trent Wilson with John & Kathy Cheramie and Annie Viator with Kathy at AGS Texas
Brinks Cows at The Oaks Touring the Ranch with Joe Kassler Kathy & John with Csonka of Brinks
Neches River Sale Barn