Seedstock for growers who are concerned with profitability

Note: The information found here (and even more) can be found at our new website www.BeaverCreekBuffalo.com. Beaver Creek Buffalo is a joint venture of Ken Klemm and family and Peter Thieriot and family. See you there!

Breeding Stock

We have been raising buffalo since 1987 and I have managed some of the largest buffalo ranches in the country before my family and I struck out on our own. In 1999, Laurie and I moved the family and our buffalo herd to Kansas. The experience of managing 3500 buffalo and closely studying their behavior and performance has helped us develop a very refined seed stock herd. Of course, the Great Drought of 1999 through 2004 (and still going) has had a great positive impact on the herd also. As the drought continues, we continue to cull the lesser performing animals. This dual force of massive drought and years of experience has made the Homestead Ranch buffalo herd a leader in providing solid genetics.

Cows

Solid genetics. It’s a term every seedstock producer uses. We use it too. What does it mean? Different things to different people. Read some more. If you agree with what I write then you have found your seedstock provider. We are not all things to all people. Our animals are adapted to the High (and lately, very dry) Plains. They produce well, taste good and are easy to work with. If that’s what you want, then we have it.

Our animals are raised rough and can be expected to perform well for you. Fertility is paramount to our cows. No calf – no keep. Simple and very effective. We also look for high weaning weights in proportion to the mother.

Reasonably sized cows are more adapted to the rigors of nature and, not coincidentally, are more profitable. Our cows are from 975 – 1100 pounds (in good flesh) and weaning weights are typically 45%+ of the cows weight. Bigger cows are culled as are the smaller sized. We’ve never had a 1400 pound cow wean 45% of her weight off of grass and the smaller cows don’t do well either.

Our cows must maintain good flesh and must be easy keepers on natural range and through our rough winter feeding program. Winter supplement is limited to prairie hay or cane hay with no protein supplement or cake provided. Stockpiled, standing grass is the bulk of the cows winter diet, except for these years of severe drought when hay has become a greater portion of their winter diet. Cows who cannot maintain body condition and produce a calf yearly on this regimen are culled aggressively.

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Calves and Yearlings

Calves are not weaned. We have found that in this climate the most efficient production model is just what nature had developed. The cows do a pretty good job of weaning the calves themselves. The calves really learn a lot from the cows through the winter and become pretty adept at surviving and we find this most economical. When spring grass comes the calves are left on the cowherd to graze through the summer. We closely watch these calves and monitor how they respond to this minimalist management regime. Only the top performers are even considered for breeding stock in our herd or yours.

When fall/early winter arrives we gather and sort the animals. Replacement heifers are left in the herd to continue to grow or are sold to others. Possible replacement bulls are put on feed to see how they respond. Replacement bulls are not chosen until they have proven themselves to excel at getting to slaughter weight quickly.

The rest of the yearlings are destined for our meat program and are finished with a free choice diet of corn and hay in a sodded location. Since we are in the meat business also, we are supremely cognizant of how our animals “eat” and how they yield. A fast growing, fast finishing animal that tastes like fatty beef or 30 year old saddle leather is not a recipe for long term business success.

We look for animals that yield 62%+ (live to hot weight) and have retained the very desirable buffalo trait of lean meat that cuts like butter. This may sound a little too much to ask from an animal but we have found that the genetics are there to do all of the above. It is our job to design a system that will make these animals stand out and be identified.

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Bulls

Not much to say about bulls. Breeding bulls are chosen just like the cows except they have to be fertile at 18 months. No fancy feed, no blow dryers or hoof paint. They must prove themselves on grass, out with the cows. The replacement bulls also have to be the in the top 5% in performance and have a very mellow disposition. The disposition makes for good meat. Straight legs and a well-balanced physique are required for consideration. If he is too big we don’t keep him.

Our perfect bull is a long yearling bull that comes off grass in November at 950-1050 pounds and has a good cover of fat and will finish quickly. If he has a huge frame he will not finish at the right weight (1050) and will require too much feed to reach slaughter weight. We always remember that we are in the business of growing and harvesting grass and, as such, we are breeding for the best grass harvesters possible. I know we will never win a show like this but we really don’t care. I subscribe to the theory that the fastest way to ruin a breed is to show it. This has held true for the buffalo, too.

Many of the buffalo shows have become feeding contests where only the big and fat are valued. Profitability can’t be determined at a show and since numbers and spreadsheets don’t draw a crowd, I don’t expect things to change anytime soon. In the meantime, we’ll just keep doing what we are doing and praying for rain!

If you think our herd can help you we look forward to your call.

Ken
Contact us

Note: The information found here (and even more) can be found at our new website www.BeaverCreekBuffalo.com. Beaver Creek Buffalo is a joint venture of Ken Klemm and family and Peter Thieriot and family. See you there!

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Contact us:

Ken or Laurie Klemm
Email: Ken@TheHomesteadRanch.com
Web:
www.TheBuffaloGuys.com
Phone: (785) 899-9274

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