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Cross Diamond Cattle Company manages cowherd to match resources and customer needs

With input costs continuing to rise nearly as quickly as cattle prices, producers are constantly seeking ways to keep those costs down and continue to make a profit. At Cross Diamond Cattle Company in Bertrand, NE, Scott and Kim Ford continuously seek out new ways to make better use of the resources available to them while producing quality seedstock for their customers.

Cross Diamond Cattle Company is a Red Angus seedstock operation located in south central Nebraska. The couple, along with their two daughters, Johanna and Marie, focus on producing moderate frame Red Angus cattle with good fertility and structure.

“Our breeding program is based on sound, efficient, fertile cattle,” Kim explains. “Our first priority is fertility, because without a live calf each year no one could make it in the cattle business.” In fact, any cow that doesn’t breed within their breeding season is sold. “We keep tight breeding seasons. Our heifers are only bred for about 45 days.



“We breed for a moderate framed cow,” Kim continues. “Our cowherd probably averages about 1,250 pounds. We want them to be easy fleshing with good structure. We like nice, feminine angular cows that are well put together,” she says.

The couple also selects for disposition. “We spend a lot of time sorting our cattle,” Scott says. “We want to sell cattle to our customers that are easy for them to handle, so disposition is very important. Our bulls are around here longer, so we continue to sort through them and make sure there are no problems.”



Unlike many seedstock operations, the Fords calve their registered herd in mid-April. “With the resources we have available to us, it just made more sense,” Kim explains. “We run on both leased and deeded land, so it fits better with the grass we have available and the resources in our area.”

Since they calve later than most seedstock operators, their bulls are sold at 18 months. “We saw the value in producing long-age bulls, and our customers seem to really like the older bulls,” Kim says. “Our bulls are older by the time they see their first breeding season, so they hold up better, without falling apart. Since we sell them at 18 months, we don’t have to push them as hard. We can develop them more slowly on grass, and wait to put them on a ration just before they are sold.”

The bulls can also handle more cows during the first breeding season. “It think it really helps us,” Scott says. “It is not only that the bulls are older, but it is also the way we develop them. Our customers have told us that bulls they have purchased from us perform really well, and can cover more cows during that first breeding season. In fact, we had two customers from sizeable operations in New Mexico and Texas call to tell us how well our bulls held up despite the dry, harsh conditions they are experiencing this year. I think they are better able to handle conditions like that because of how we develop them.”

The calves are fenceline weaned from the cows during the first part of October. Then they are moved to native range and supplemented with dried distillers grain. The bull calves graze during the winter on either native grass or cornstalks with dried distillers grain supplement fed from a caker onto the ground. “We don’t push them hard, or lock them up,” Scott says. In the spring, the couple brings the bulls, who are now nearly yearlings, into corrals to sort through them. “We are looking for the animals that are harder doing and didn’t hold up well through the winter months,” he explains. “Those bulls are banded. We also band any that aren’t structurally correct, don’t fit our program or have poor disposition. The bulls that move up are the ones that have performed well with limited input,” he says.

After the culling process, the bulls graze through the summer and brought to the home place around Sept. 15. From there, they are divided into smaller groups of 25-30 head and placed in seven to eight smaller pastures near the homestead. The bulls are fed a ration containing wet distillers grain and sorghum sudan grass. The idea is to put a little condition on the bulls, but keep them hard. “We divide them into the smaller pastures to give them plenty of room to exercise,” Scott explains. “That’s what keeps them hard.”

With input costs continuing to rise nearly as quickly as cattle prices, producers are constantly seeking ways to keep those costs down and continue to make a profit. At Cross Diamond Cattle Company in Bertrand, NE, Scott and Kim Ford continuously seek out new ways to make better use of the resources available to them while producing quality seedstock for their customers.

Cross Diamond Cattle Company is a Red Angus seedstock operation located in south central Nebraska. The couple, along with their two daughters, Johanna and Marie, focus on producing moderate frame Red Angus cattle with good fertility and structure.

“Our breeding program is based on sound, efficient, fertile cattle,” Kim explains. “Our first priority is fertility, because without a live calf each year no one could make it in the cattle business.” In fact, any cow that doesn’t breed within their breeding season is sold. “We keep tight breeding seasons. Our heifers are only bred for about 45 days.

“We breed for a moderate framed cow,” Kim continues. “Our cowherd probably averages about 1,250 pounds. We want them to be easy fleshing with good structure. We like nice, feminine angular cows that are well put together,” she says.

The couple also selects for disposition. “We spend a lot of time sorting our cattle,” Scott says. “We want to sell cattle to our customers that are easy for them to handle, so disposition is very important. Our bulls are around here longer, so we continue to sort through them and make sure there are no problems.”

Unlike many seedstock operations, the Fords calve their registered herd in mid-April. “With the resources we have available to us, it just made more sense,” Kim explains. “We run on both leased and deeded land, so it fits better with the grass we have available and the resources in our area.”

Since they calve later than most seedstock operators, their bulls are sold at 18 months. “We saw the value in producing long-age bulls, and our customers seem to really like the older bulls,” Kim says. “Our bulls are older by the time they see their first breeding season, so they hold up better, without falling apart. Since we sell them at 18 months, we don’t have to push them as hard. We can develop them more slowly on grass, and wait to put them on a ration just before they are sold.”

The bulls can also handle more cows during the first breeding season. “It think it really helps us,” Scott says. “It is not only that the bulls are older, but it is also the way we develop them. Our customers have told us that bulls they have purchased from us perform really well, and can cover more cows during that first breeding season. In fact, we had two customers from sizeable operations in New Mexico and Texas call to tell us how well our bulls held up despite the dry, harsh conditions they are experiencing this year. I think they are better able to handle conditions like that because of how we develop them.”

The calves are fenceline weaned from the cows during the first part of October. Then they are moved to native range and supplemented with dried distillers grain. The bull calves graze during the winter on either native grass or cornstalks with dried distillers grain supplement fed from a caker onto the ground. “We don’t push them hard, or lock them up,” Scott says. In the spring, the couple brings the bulls, who are now nearly yearlings, into corrals to sort through them. “We are looking for the animals that are harder doing and didn’t hold up well through the winter months,” he explains. “Those bulls are banded. We also band any that aren’t structurally correct, don’t fit our program or have poor disposition. The bulls that move up are the ones that have performed well with limited input,” he says.

After the culling process, the bulls graze through the summer and brought to the home place around Sept. 15. From there, they are divided into smaller groups of 25-30 head and placed in seven to eight smaller pastures near the homestead. The bulls are fed a ration containing wet distillers grain and sorghum sudan grass. The idea is to put a little condition on the bulls, but keep them hard. “We divide them into the smaller pastures to give them plenty of room to exercise,” Scott explains. “That’s what keeps them hard.”

editor’s note: cross diamond cattle company will host their sale on monday, dec. 12. for more information see their web site at crossdiamondcattle.com.


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