Haverlah Ranches had its beginning in 1960 when Bill Haverlah purchased that first dry land farm in South Texas. From those early days when our cattle were Brahman cross to today’s registered Black Angus we have been and always will be commercial cattlemen first. It is with that mindset that we approach our breeding philosophy. If the cattle we produce and raise can’t make it in a real world commercial operation then what good are they to anyone? The cattle business is tough and we need tough, efficient cattle if we expect to turn a profit.
We relocated to the Texas Hill Country in 1983, first in San Saba County and then later in adjoining Llano and Mason. The land and grasses are strong but the climate can be harsh. The next drought is always just around the corner. Our base cow herd comes from the Bradley 3 Ranch, which is renowned for raising fertile, highly efficient cattle. It was with all this in mind that I called Minnie Lou Bradley in early 2005 and worked out a deal to purchase 81 registered heifers. The Bradley’s asked us to become cooperators and that began a relationship that continues to this day.
Since 2005 many things have changed in the cattle business. DNA testing was still in its infancy, genetic defects were not known and we had not lived through the epic drought of 2011 through 2013. DNA testing has become more reliable, making it a very effective selection tool. However, nothing compares to a severe prolonged drought when it comes to finding out which cows have what it takes to be profit makers. We ended up culling nearly 300 cows during that span. As hard and painful as that was, our cow herd is better for it.
At Haverlah Ranches we have certain parameters that we use in breeding and selecting our cattle. We use EPD’s and DNA testing to determine which calves meet our standards for calving ease, weaning and yearly weight, DMI %, yearling height, scrotal circumference, $EN, docility, marbling, Ribeye, fat and $B. We attempt to have a balanced approach in our program. Strengths have to be found across the board. After we wean our calves, they go on a short gain test to see how they perform on a grain based ration. We then put them on grass to see how their performance is on a forage based diet.
We breed our heifers and cows in December, then the heifers are given a 60 day window to breed back and the cows are given 45 days. We feel that having tight breeding windows is a natural way to select our most fertile cows.
Our focus is to produce bulls and heifer replacements that will improve the profitability for our customers.