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I think that most of us in this area know that cattle raised in our hot, humid Environment that is prevalent throughout South Texas and near coastal regions need to be developed to thrive in this climate. Finding a cost efficient and practical way to achieve this goal is the challenge. Texas A&M University Agricultural Extension Service at Overton has for more than two decades researched the use of forages for developing cattle for our area.
At Oak Creek Farms we have been breeding Brangus and Angus cattle since 1967 here at our ranch with locations in Washington and Austin counties near the Austin county line. We have forage tested our Brangus and Angus bulls for several years with a variety of forages. Most recently, we have grown rye grass, Coastal Bermuda, Jiggs and Tifton 85 to see which variety of grass provided the greatest benefits for their cattle with a minimal amount of supplement. What we have found is that the bulls preferred the Tifton 85 over other Bermuda grasses.
Dr. Monty Rouquette of the TAMU station oat Overton is an expert in forage testing. “This is all a part of a program by the Texas Forage and Grassland Council, “says Rouquette, who served on the program’s seminal committee some 20 years ago. “It was sanctioned at Stephen F. Austin, and they are still running some of those tests. It was an effort to create an awareness among producers that forages have a lot to offer with respect to animal performance, that the nutritive value of those forages will not promote pre-expected gains.”
In short, he is saying that with a minimal of supplemental feed or grain, bulls such as the ones we are developing at Oak Creek Farms, are more likely to have longer productive lives and stay in a ready to work condition than heavily conditioned bulls that were raised on a hot ration of feed.
You can extend the breeding life of a bull by one to three breeding seasons by developing them on forages versus a hot feed ration.
“If you want a bull to gain three pounds a day, then forages are probably not the answer,” says Rouquette.
They are not going to be fat as if they were coming out of a feed lot. Forage development makes them get out and hustle. The Tifton 85 clearly proved the most palatable to the bulls and is forage that grows well in our local climate.
Developing bulls on forage gives the rancher looking for a bull the ability to see how this bull will thrive in his pasture when the bull will be out foraging with the rest of the cattle.
OAK CREEK FARMS
John and Carolyn Kopycinski
13750 FM 1371 Chappell Hill, Texas 77426
Ph: (979) 836-6832 Fax: (979) 836-4542