Cattle Ranch Of The Week: Medalen Black Angus

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Medalen’s philosophy for breeding registered Angus cattle is quite simple. They make their cow herd work in a grass and hay environment. You will not find lick tubs, creep feeders or silage on the ranch. Their goal is to produce cattle that can be profitable and successful for others no matter where they are. To achieve that they feel the need to expose any genetic weakness that might be present.

Medalen sells yearling Angus bulls to commercial cattlemen who, in order to be profitable, need cattle that don't require pampering. Therefore the ranch doesn’t let its cattle hide behind an unlimited feed program. By making their cows graze until the snow comes, they can separate the good ones from the pretenders. To operate in this manner can be quite humbling. The ranch has seen certain bloodlines eliminate themselves.

A numbers race is going on in the Angus breed -- EPDs. The Medalen ranch has chosen not to participate. They use EPD's as just one portion of their selection process. EPDs have been a very useful tool in the art of breeding cattle, yet there are no EPDs for measuring the three most important traits: fertility, longevity and efficiency. When they discover cattle that possess these abilities, they try to use them to better the herd. It doesn't matter what a cows EPDs read like if she is open, bad uddered, or a poor producer, she becomes hamburger not a donor cow.

They place their strongest emphasis and selection pressure on maternal performance, and are particularly fussy about udders and fertility. Medalen ranch enjoys hearing compliments on how good the udders are in their cow herd. They have never used a bull without knowing what his mother and grandmother looked like.

In Medalen’s quest to improve fertility, they breed their cattle totally on pasture. They don't receive grain, lick tubs, or supplemental feed. That is how their bull customers do it, so they do likewise. Medalen ranch wants to have genetic fertility, not feed bucket fertility because feed bucket fertility does not improve the next generation.

Additionally, they do not use a bull until his mother has raised a calf every year up to at least ten years old. They like longevity and are not interested in the turn and burn genetics that are available. Critics would say that keeps Medalen from being on the cutting edge with new genetics. Medalen responds by saying they are more interested in reliability that what is the hottest, newest promotion.

For more information visit www.MedalenRanch.com


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