White Cattle Company claims Supreme Champion bull title at Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic
April 15, 2012
No one in Kearney, NE, could possibly have been more excited than the White family, when three judges tapped their yearling Hereford bull as the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Supreme Champion bull, over 10 other breeds. Their bred Hereford heifer also went on to be named the reserve champion Supreme Heifer.
According to Joel White of White Cattle Company based in Buffalo, WY, the key to their success was the family’s decision to produce cattle that could incorporate the showring look, but meet the commercial cattlemen’s needs. “I always felt if we could accomplish that, we could sell cattle to both groups,” he said. “I used to always hear one heifer would be good for show, or one would make a good cow. It made me wonder why they couldn’t be both, so that is what we set out to do,” he said.
“One of our goals is to produce an animal with a big butt. That makes everyone happy because we’re selling cattle by the pound,” he said. “We also select cattle with a lot of muscle, and ones that are easy fleshing and easy doing,” he added. Feet and legs are also important. “We select hard for feet and legs because, ultimately, those bulls are going to have to go out and breed cows,” he said. “We also try to produce cattle with as much meat and muscle in them as we can, without sacrificing birthweight.”
The family has put a lot of time and effort into building a quality herd that would appeal to both segments of the industry. “I think it is what sets us apart from others in the business,” Joel explained. “My family is very diversified. My parents are commercial producers, who also help supply us with recipient cows. My wife, Karri, and daughter, Lauren, are very market oriented, which leaves me the time to focus on our breeding program,” he explained. The couple also have a son, Brian Schiermiester and his wife, JayeCee.
Because they are just getting started, Joel said they are heavily dependent on AI and Embryo Transfer to build their numbers. “We have been fortunate to acquire some great genetics from breeders that have long reputations for producing good cattle,” he said. One of the first cows they acquired was Kathy, who they purchased from friends, Hoffman Herefords, who at that time lived in California. “We won Reno and Forth Worth with her,” Joel explained. Later, they flushed her and produced many cattle that have become the foundation of their program.
Since then, Joel has carefully hand selected more cows he has collected embryos from. “Last summer, we put 47 embryos in donor cows, and had 44 pregnancies,” he said. “We are appreciative of the fact that we have great partners in Dawn and Theo Hirshfeld and Collins Cattle, both of Buffalo that we own some donor cows and herd sires with,” he added.
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The family also continues to produce bulls that find success not only in the showring, but also in commercial operations. “Last year, we took a bull called True Grit to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic and he was the high selling Hereford bull,” Joel said.
“We flushed a cow to him, and collected quite a bit of semen, too,” Joel continued. “We have quite a few natural AI calves to him on the ground this year already, and some of them are the best calves we have ever had on this place. I see him making a tremendous influence on our breeding program for years to come,” he explained.
The White family starts calving in March, when most of the major shows are over. The bull and heifer calves run together on native grass and hill country through the summer. Joel said they wean the bull calves in September, and develop any bulls themselves that aren’t sent to the Midland Bull Test. “We try to select bulls that have a look and the feed efficiency to do well for us at shows like Denver,” he said. The bulls are placed on a growing ration and roughage to be developed. Most of the bulls are produced by AI sires, and many of them are bulls they have produced themselves, Joel said. “We look at birth weight, growth and maternal traits when we select our AI sires,” he said. “Since we don’t have a lot of numbers, we are trying for a uniform cowherd that have good udders.”
As they continue to build their herd, Joel said they don’t have the numbers to hold a production sale, so most of the bulls are sold private treaty or through the various shows they attend throughout the year. “We sell some of our bulls at the Midland,” he said. “We also do a lot of advertising, and have a Web site.”
However, the best way they have found to get their product in front of people has been through the shows. “Going to shows and having our cattle seen by a lot of people is important,” he explained. “A lot of commercial producers attend the Cattlemen’s Classic and Black Hills Stock Show. The Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic has been a real asset to our program just because it has given us exposure to commercial producers in Nebraska,” he said. “Both shows give us a lot of exposure to the kind of people we are geared to sell our cattle to.”
As they continue to grow their herd, Joel said he plans to continue utilizing AI and ET to produce easy-doing, stout, industry-approving cattle that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers. “Someday, we may have enough numbers to hold our own production sale,” he said.
For more information about White Cattle Company, Joel and Karri can be reached at 307-684-7881. Their Web site is: whitecattlecompany.com.