Visiting at Oak Creek Farms in Chappell Hill, Texas and talking with rancher, John Kopycinki, the topic high on the list of priorities is more efficient beef producing cattle by using the right kind of Bulls. Kopycinski says, "To be cost efficient you need a cow to wean a calf that is about half her weight. To do this we need more moderate framed cattle. Our Brangus and Angus Bulls are developed on forages, plus they are breeds with good maternal traits to produce excellent replacement heifers.”
“Putting cattle on full feed is not the best for their overall development. They have to be able to forage and survive in the pasture,” says Kopycinski who has been breeding Brangus since 1967. Forages also aid in fertility, increasing a bull’s productivity by one to three breeding seasons and enhancing the bull’s libido. “The end result is a bull that is not really fat, but is in excellent breeding condition,” Kopycinski stated.
Cattle able to thrive and be cost efficient is what the commercial cattleman is interested in and the pounds of beef weaned. Kopycinski says,” I remember about fifty years ago in 1956 when my Grandpa and I were looking at cattle, when it was as dry as it is today or maybe drier. To sum it up, he told me if you had big cows you needed two hay barns and if you had smaller cows you needed only one hay barn.” Kopycinski noted this philosophy holds true today as much as it did then and maybe even more so in the fifties. “I have heard some of the packers are accepting only carcasses 1,000 pounds or under to meet the demands of their customers and making it clear to us we need to be producing moderate framed easy fleshing cattle,” says Kopycinski.
Somewhere along the way when feed, labor and other cost were a lot less, the cattle industry started breeding larger cattle and some breeds of cattle traditionally were not even beef cattle. Today, more than ever cattlemen need to be able to produce good replacement cost efficient females. Cattle numbers may be reduced as much as one third in Texas because of the drought, and at some point good females will be in high demand.
Oak Creek Farms forage test the bulls on Tifton 85. The veterinarian, who does the fertility testing of the bulls for Oak Creek Farms, Dr. David Husfield, says “The forages you produce are the backbone of nutrition.” For years, Oak Creek Farms has tested a variety of forages including Rye Grass, Coastal Bermuda, Jiggs and Tifton 85 to see which provides the greatest benefit with the minimal amount of supplements.
“We have been forage testing for about twenty years and Tifton 85 is more palatable and more digestible,” Kopycinski said. “The cattle seem to thrive and do better on Tifton 85 than any other type of Bermuda grass.”
“We select for disease resistant, insect resistant, heat tolerant and hardier individuals that can take our hot humid climate. The most efficient bulls are selected from the forage test which started at the end of February and ended September 1, 2006. Our Brangus, Red and Black, consistently out gained our Angus by up to one half pound a day. However, we select slick haired Angus Bulls that adapt the best to our climate,” says Kopycinski.
“New technology has a definite impact on our cattle industry and we are using all the tools available to improve our quality of beef. We ultra sound our bulls and also all bulls were DNA tested using Merial’s Igenity® Profile for tenderness and carcass traits. The bulls are tested for tenderness and grade quality which are both heritable traits. This is the third year we have done the DNA testing on a large scale. We use this information when making decisions in our breeding program,” Kopycinski added. This is the time to reassess the type of bulls and cows that you are running and an excellent time to be producing efficient replacement heifers. Good producing, easy fleshing moderate cattle able to thrive on forages and grade well are the answer. To produce those heifers, you need Bulls to produces females that can be kept in a herd to produce easy fleshing calves. Kopycinski added. “We have gathered all this information in order to have data to help us select bulls to improve our cattle and cull the bulls not doing a good job.”
Oak Creek Farms is having its annual Forage-Tested Bull Sale October 28, 2006 at the Sale Facility on the ranch in Chappell Hill, Texas. Selling are a total of 135 Forage-Tested OCF Bulls including 80 OCF Brangus, 20 OCF Red Brangus, 20 OCF Angus and 15 OCF Red Angus. Also selling are 150 commercial Brangus and Angus heifers that are either out of Oak Creek Farms Bulls or bred to Oak Creek Farms Bulls.
For more information, call (979) 836-6832 or (979) 251-2530. Information and directions are also available on the Oak Creek Farms Web site at www.oakcreekfarms.com