Black Grove StrategyHerd of Tomorrow
Our strategy at Black Grove is to create a sustainable family business model that is viable for generations.
In our seedstock business we focus on breeding functional, low input maternal trait cattle that will thrive in our environment and increase profits for us and our customers. At Black Grove it all starts with the Angus cow. We believe the Angus cow is the most efficient and productive manufacturing plant in the history of the cattle industry. We believe to be profitable cattlemen must identify proven low input genetics that work in their environment. This is critical when selecting or breeding replacement heifers.
To this end, our breeding program focuses on maternal trait cattle that will lower your costs and increase your profit. We focus on longevity and functionality to reduce the cost of turnover and capital expenditures. Only animals without fertility, udder or feet issues remain in our breeding program. Our cattle have been bred from a pool of historic bloodlines to be moderately sized at birth and maturity, wean at 45% of their dam’s body weight, breed annually, live long productive lives and do all this on just pasture, hay, and minerals. Moderate cows have less feed requirements, stay in better condition, and are expected to breed back in our program. Even when stressed by diffictult weather conditions like recent the droughts and resulting limited grass we did not feed our cows silage or feed.
Our bulls are bred to travel and maintain their body condition through a full breeding season. We’ve never trimmed the feet on a bull we’ve raised or sold. We do not breed for extreme growth and high carcass EPD's or $B or $C which we refer to as numbered cattle or terminal cattle. We believe these numbers exaggerate projected performance where as EPD's on older genetics underestimate performances. Our cattle consistently outperform their EPD’s and often out ratio newer genetics we have tested.
The single biggest input cost in most cattle operations is feed (including pasture, hay, and feed). Therefore feed efficiency is a critical trait that affects profitability in our operation. In the winter our mature cattle only get two to two and a half tons of hay per year along with free choice salt and minerals. Given the continuing high price of inputs, we believe it is critcal to breed low input/low maintenance cattle that work in our environment and the environments of our customers.
One of the other biggest operating costs in a cattle operation is raising or buying replacement heifers. We have developed a longevity index based on the lifespan of all of the cows in an animal's pedigree that we use to help us in our breeding decisions. Our goal is to breed cattle that have a high probability of producing twice the number of calves as the average cow in the US, whose average life span is 8½ years, thereby dramatically reducing our turnover and capital cost for replacement heifers.
By carefully selecting for maternal traits of fertility, longevity (functionality) and feed efficiency and using proven genetics in an AI/Embryo transfer program, we have assembled an Angus herd with genetics that we feel will work for both the registered Angus breeders and the commercial cattleman. Our marketing efforts are focused on developing and retaining relationships based on our program improving our customers long term profitability and thereby their ultimate sustainability.
Today Black Grove cattle are working in 23 states validating their acceptance by many cattlemen in multiple environments across the country.