Hueftle Cattle Company Red Angus – HXC
In 1970 Karl Hueftle bought his first Red Angus bull from Sally Forbes. He and his father Gus had raised and sold registered Hereford bulls up until that point but he decided the time had come to try something different. Today Karl’s son Neil and his wife Anita Hueftle and their family continue to raise Red Angus seedstock near Cozad, Neb.
“When I was showing cattle in 4-H, we started using Red Angus bulls on our Hereford cows. Then we transitioned into Red Angus in the 1970s. At that time we also dabbled in Simmentals, and a few Limousin and Charolais. Back then we AI’d our cows to a little bit of everything, but kept building our Red Angus numbers,” says Neil.
“We had been acquiring a small number of registered cows at various sales. At one point we sold bulls to Leachman Cattle Company in Billings, Mont., when they needed some extra bulls for a crossbreeding program they designed for the King Ranch in southern Texas. Then Dad and I became Leachman cooperators in the late 1980s.” While they were affiliated with Leachmans they produced a number of notable herd sires including Above and Beyond, Cheyenne, Gravity and Jewel Maker. We’ve been lucky enough to raise some of the major bulls in the breed,” he says.
“We partnered with Leachman on an unknown bull called Cherokee Canyon, and he ended up being one of the most popular bulls in the Red Angus breed. He was a good one. When we first got him he had excellent EPDs but to look at him he didn’t really stand out as anything special. Once he proved himself, however, he was the right bull at the right time,” says Neil.
The Hueftle Cattle Company acquired additional cows from Leachmans and kept building the herd. “We started selling bulls independently under the HX brand in Nebraska in 2004 with our own bull sale. Mom and Dad stayed with Leachmans a couple more years and then joined us in 2006,” Neil says.
“Hueftle Cattle Company’s roots have always been in the commercial cattle business and Dad still runs a significant number of commercial cattle with about 450 cows. Our herd of Red Angus cows is about 330 head. Most of them are registered Red Angus or registered Red Angus-Simmental crosses,” he says.
“Along with the cattle, Dad and I also farm and raise about 800 acres of corn each year and approximately 300 acres of alfalfa. We also grow a few soybeans and some other crops,” he says.
The family has always been in the same area. “My great-great-grandfather started farming about 10 miles from here. He came to this area from Germany. We’ve started the next generation; Anita and I have three boys – Anson, Aaron and Isaac. Anson is a junior at University of Nebraska at Kearney, Aaron is a senior at the Eustis-Farnam High School and Isaac is a sophomore there. They are always really busy with sports, 4-H and FFA, and such.”
Their cow herd starts calving in mid-January, with most of the cows calving in early February. “The weather conditions in mid-winter here can be less than ideal, but we need to calve early in order to sell yearling bulls,” explains Neil.
Their annual sale is held near the ranch. “Kevin Berke, a neighbor and HXC cooperator who buys bulls from us, has a small feedlot and a building that was available and we made that building into a sale barn. We had our first sales at a local sale barn at Gothenburg, Nebraska (10 miles away) for the first five years, and then decided that it would be much handier to have it closer. Now, if some of the people want to look at our cows, bulls or ranching operation, we are only a mile away,” says Neil.
Anita does the majority of the bookwork involved with putting on the sale. She does the catalog, advertising, manages the website and the cattle records. “We’ve been fortunate to have some pretty good sales and this year will be our tenth sale. Our sale is held every year on the second Friday in March and this year it is scheduled for March 14th,” says Neil.
“Karl and Janice, Neil’s parents, are still an active part of the operation,” says Anita. “Janice continues to make a home-cooked meal every day for the ranch crew and maintains their cattle records and farm accounts. Karl, who turns 90 this year, still checks the pastures and pivots and keeps them running, and gives input into the cattle operation,” says Anita. Now semi-retired, Karl and Janice enjoy spending time with family and attending many of their grandchildren’s activities.
All of Karl and Janice’s children have some cattle of their own in the HXC herd and help out occasionally on the ranch. Their son Lee has a commercial herd north of Eustis. Another son Nolan lives in Broken Bow. He comes back to the ranch quite often to fill in the gaps during busy times of year. All of them take time out to help with the annual production sale.
Kim Lehmann has been Karl’s herd manager for 30 years. He is an integral part of the HXC operation. He AI’s all of Karl’s cattle and makes the majority of the breeding decisions each year. Kim and his wife Shelly live nearby in Eustis and have two grown daughters. One is a teacher and the other is an ICU nurse.
“We sell around 90 to 100 bulls and a select group of heifers at the annual sale. The last several years we’ve added bulls from several of our cooperators – people who have invested in our genetics,” says Anita.
These cooperators include Kevin with Berke Cattle Company, as well as Cory and Jamie Banzhaf with C Lazy B Cattle Company. Kevin is part owner of HXC Conquest, a top-selling Red Angus bull for Accelerated Genetics. Cory, along with ABS Global, purchased HXC Big Iron in 2011. ABS Global also owns semen interest in Jackhammer, an HXC sire purchased in 2009 by the LeDoux Ranch and Schroeder Ranch. There is a growing demand for the bloodlines produced by the Hueftle Cattle Company.
For more information go to http://www.hueftlecattlecompany.com Neil can be reached at 308-529-0747 and Anita at 308-529-0648, and their home phone is 308-184-4076. Kim Lehman can be reached at 308-320-1594 (cell) or 308-486-5664 (home).
Hay production has been reported to be 50% of average or less in many areas of Nebraska. The U.S. hay supply is at a 50-year low (Table 1). Couple this information with rising costs (Figure…