Cattle Journal 2023: Rousy SimAngus, Nebraska |

Cattle Journal 2023: Rousy SimAngus, Nebraska

Dam of Lot 124 with her 2018 calf.

Heterosis. Practicality. Functionality. Tyrell and Deandra Rousey have built a herd of Simmental Angus cross cattle around those three words, that represent their objective for the Rousey SimAngus breeding program. That objective drives the decisions Rouseys make to produce cattle that perform well in each sector of the beef industry.  

Tyrell Rousey’s background in the cattle industry doesn’t begin with the beef industry. His family owned a dairy for most of his childhood. From an early age, Rousey said he had an interest in cattle genetics. By 8 years old he had memorized the pedigrees of all his family’s cattle and loved looking through sire directories. “I always had an interest in cattle and finding how to make the next generation better than the previous,” said Tyrell. Living in the North Platte, Nebraska area, there was an abundance of seedstock and cow-calf operations and Rousey set out to soak up all the knowledge he could from them. One of these operations happened to be Berger Herdmasters, He didn’t know then what a role they would play in his future.  

Rousey went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Animal Science and Grazing Livestock Systems, which led him to intern with Rischel Angus and Berger Herdmasters. After graduating, Rousey worked for Berger Herdmasters for 16 years before taking over when Loren Berger. Thanks to Berger’s established reputation, Rousey already had a set clientele for his bulls when he took over. That meant Tyrell’s job was maintaining proven quality consistency and not making drastic changes right away but rather continuing to improve genetics little by little.  

One of the main differences in Rousey’s approach is his focus on cow families, a traceable line of genetics that can establish consistent quality and results. “Putting emphasis on cow families allows us to identify the high-performing female lines in our herd,” says Tyrell, “There are certain females in our program that have risen to the top through their daughters, granddaughters and the bulls of the type and kind we’d like to replicate.”   

Rousey believes heterosis is one of the simplest ways a producer can improve the profitability of their operation. “Being in the business of selling composite SimAngus bulls, heterosis is a natural byproduct of our cross,” said Tyrell. “We focus on the cow. We want to produce a female that is low maintenance, problem-free, with some longevity, and that breeds on time every year.” Rousey believes that the seedstock industry has lost sight of functionality while chasing improvement EPDs, genomics and phenotypes. “These are all very valid and useful tools we have at our disposal and certainly tools we use here on the ranch,” said Rousey “Unfortunately, problems arise when these tools are pushed to extremes or used singularly rather than in a balanced approach.”  

Tyrell’s idea of functionality is a perspective based on geography, time constraints, economic and environmental conditions. “When we’re calving out 40 calves a day in late January and February the weather can be miserable and we don’t have the time to deal with problems and babysit each cow and calf.” Most of his customers are located in the Sandhills and in northern areas, and want cows that are low maintenance, problem free, have longevity, and breed on time each year. Further east, producers tend to focus more growth and performance in their cattle and are willing to accept the extra challenge that brings. “We want to maintain a type and kind that makes sense to our operation and area,” said Rousey. He compares his approach to the bell curve diagram explain that he wants the calves all to land in the same general area with a like type and kind. “We don’t want to swing the pendulum back and forth,” Rousey says. “This creates some inconsistencies.”  

Rousey’s approach takes into consideration a mix of cow sense, cowboy logic, sound science, available resources, and an understanding of cause and effect. “Practicality and common sense will never get you in trouble,” says Rousey. This philosophy led Rousey to incorporate the use of embryo transfer, an avenue he wants to pursue more in the future. He plans to use a cooperative breeder to cut back his herd number and produce the same number of calves each year. With a lack of pasture and corn stocks this helps him better manage his land resources. 

Rousey synchronizes and AI breeds all 450 of his cows with an average success rate of roughly 90 percent of the herd and the rest are bred with a clean-up bull. He claims his heavy emphasis on nutrition has helped his breeding program. “In order to be successful in our AI and breeding program we have to be on point with our nutrition,” Tyrell said. Rousey works with a nutritionist to put together a plan that fits their cattle, location and grass needs. These needs also change as grassland changes throughout the year. The gamechanger for him is mineral supplementation. He’s seen the greatest changes in cattle performance by providing mineral year-round versus supplying it from fall to spring.   

Rousey’s goal remains to be making the next generation better than the previous. “We do it for the love of the cows, the comradery, and the joy we find in building a relationship with our customers,” says Rousey, “While this industry isn’t easy, my wife and I find it’s the best environment to raise kids in.” The Rouseys’ sale is the second week of February, and the program offers roughly 150 red and black SimAngus bulls.