HOLDING TO A
Established in the 1880s, Indian
Mound Ranch is located near the town
of Canadian in the rolling sandhills of
the northeast Texas Panhandle. Fourthgeneration
rancher Lee Haygood is
passionate about raising registered
Hereford cattle. Haygood also runs
Angus Black Baldy females for his
embryo recipient herd.
Organization is key to the success
of this ranch. Haygood carefully manages
his short grass pastures, supplemental
feeding and mineral and vaccination
programs, all of which are
designed to maximize herd fertility.
Haygood admits he has tried most
of the popular mineral brands, but
currently feeds his cows a mineral
with prebiotics. He provides the conception
mineral mix during breeding
season, then switches to the complete
mineral for the rest of the year. He also
provides injectable minerals, which
include copper, zinc, selenium and
manganese, elements his forages tend
to lack. The entire herd receives injectable
minerals in the fall and spring.
“We give cows pre-breeding injectable
mineral shots,” Haygood
explains. “In the spring, we run calves
through the chute and give vaccinations
along with injectable minerals.
When we run cows through the chute
to test for pregnancies, we’ll hit them
again with injectable minerals.”
Haygood provides a good example
of how to apply nutrition to his
breeding strategies. He has moved
from a 60-day breeding program to
a 45-day program. “For the past several
years, we noticed 90 percent of
the cows were calving in 45 days. We
waited on the last 10 percent of the
cows to calve. When we had our cow
herd population like we wanted after
the 2011 drought, I decided we would
go to 45 days. Those cows that were
left could catch up or get culled.”
Most commercial producers rarely
go to a 45-day breeding plan because
more calves mean more profi tability.
However, as a seedstock producer
who supplies bulls to commercial
operators, Haygood wants to ensure
his bulls have optimum fertility.
“By holding ourselves to a higher
standard to produce high-quality
bulls for our customers, we strictly
cull infertile females,” Haygood
explains. “We calve 45 days in the
spring and sell anything that is open.
Our management system is designed
to take care of our cattle, managing
them like our commercial customers
do. They get cubes in winter and
hay when there’s a bad weather day.
They’re on native range in the summer.
Last year our conception rate was
Many ranchers have both a fall and
spring calving program. Haygood says
moving open cows to the next season
is an easy trap to fall into. He strongly
feels ranchers add infertility to their
herds because they perpetuate infertility
instead of dealing with the problem.
“When you get those open cows, you
need to move them,” Haygood advises.
“There are economical ways to do that.
To add more value, breed them to
sell as bred cows. You’ve got to have
good grass management, feeding, vaccination,
and mineral programs to
maximize fertility. Focus on these key
inputs to increase your percentage of
bred cows and heifers.”
Ritchey’s dual-colored, engravable tags
allow for permanent numbering.
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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2019 I WORKING RANCH I 37