A Pre-Sale Message from Jim Bradford

By Jim Bradford

Market cattle hit a new high this week – up to a $1.53 – and demand seems to be strong. Pork hit a limit-up the other day. So demand for red meat has been strong, and the demand for breeding stock continues to increase. The cow herd numbers are at their lowest since 1951 due partly to low moisture around the country, but it looks like we could see some expansion in heifer numbers in the coming year.

Buying cattle is a long-term investment. Investing in livestock is a sound strategy in terms of holding your money during times of inflation. It offers somewhat of a safeguard when you hold something tangible, such as land or cattle, as money itself declines in value.

Our livelihood has always been the cattle and, therefore, has forced us to select for economically important traits that pay the bills and educate the kids. Fertility is the number one trait we build upon. We look at many other desirable traits and try to bring them along, but there’s nothing we would do that would demean fertility. We’ve been emphasizing this since 1958.

To understand fertility in our cattle, we’d like to offer the example of one particular cow in our herd. This 13-year-old cow has had 11 calves, with an average weaning ratio of 111. The average calving interval on those 11 calves is 364 days. She is proven, and this is why she’s allowed to become a Brad Z Ranch donor cow.

Jim Bradford (right) with herdsman Josh Eisentrager after Brad Z Ranch steer won second place in 2013 ICA Carcass Challenge.

Jim Bradford (right) with herdsman Josh Eisentrager after Brad Z Ranch steer won second place in 2013 ICA Carcass Challenge.

Our cattle have done well in competition. We had a steer in a carcass challenge held by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association last year, and he earned reserve champion in terms of value per day of age.

We’ve been selling breeding stock for 50-plus years from a herd we built with the expectation that we could make a living from them.  We hope to help you do the same. See you at our sale on March 10.

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