Craig favors crossbred cows for maternal heterosis and hybrid
vigor advantage in the feedlot. He calls it “almost miraculous”.
Federation of State Beef Councils and
a voice in directing spending beef promotion
dollars on the national level.
A return to “policy” work took Uden
to the head of NCBA’s Policy Division,
then on through the offi cers’ chairs.
Meanwhile, he also stepped up his
pursuit of a nearly life-long desire to
be in the cow-calf business.
“I’d wanted to run cows for a long
time, so when my son chose a breeding
heifer project for 4-H, we bought
six heifers. We started small and
kept building numbers,” says Uden,
explaining how he sought management
advice from wizened Nebraska
ranchers that had been long-time
Darr Feedlot customers.
STIFF COMPETITION FOR
RENTED GRAZING RESOURCES
Currently, Uden runs close to 1,700
commercial crossbred cows, owned
by various partnerships with family
and friends and managed as three
herds. One herd employs only terminal
sires, with all calves destined for
the feedlot. The breeding programs
for the other herds include consideration
of maternal traits, with an eye
on raising replacement females.
Acknowledging that owning both
livestock and land can be a big challenge
fi nancially, Uden says he and his
family own a relatively small portion
of the land base required for the cowcalf
enterprises. Most of the summer
grazing resources consist of leased pasture
located in the hills ranging both
north and south the Platte River valley.
Everything comes to the valley during
the winter, though, to take advantage
of its ample supply of crop residues.
Cows and weaned calves graze cornstalks,
although weaned heifers graze
winter wheat as well as stalks.
While area competition for rented
grazing resources is stiff, Uden has
Closer to Home
74 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2019