“Most people don't know this,” she says, but longhorns are a dual-purpose animal. You've got to select your longhorns for the job you want them to do. Freezer animal, or a pasture pretty. They're interesting to raise, because they are not a cookie-cutter type of thing. It is easy to become addicted to longhorns, you can't have just one. My goal is to put out a good-looking animal, one that's pleasing to the eye. And, to get some quality beef in the process,” she says. The meat from a longhorn is more like the meat from a deer or an elk, in it's content. Low in fat, low in cholesterol. “The longhorn is America's original grass-fed beef,” Bill says.
Nature made the longhorn savvy and lean over 600 years since the first animals were introduced to North America by Spanish explorers. Evolved over time, refined by nature and the elements, the hard hooves, long legs, and lethal horns combined with the natural intelligence of the longhorn have enabled it to survive and prosper over centuries. They will keep predators at bay as well as travel long distances for water and grazing, utilizing low quality forages when necessary.
With a large pelvic area, cows sport a 97-percent rate for unassisted calving, and can live to be over 20 years of age, enabling ranchers to have less heifers to maintain their herd size. The longhorn genetic influence can increase productive life spans of cattle by several years when combined with conventional breeds, too.
Bill and Sandy have owned their 22 acres for the five years they've been married. They support about 50 head of longhorns and seven horses, all registered. Their spread is stitched with two miles of fencing, pens, cross fencing and 85 plus gates, enabling them to rotation-graze their animals, even though they need to feed hay year-round. Their searches for quality hay sometimes find them ordering from other states, even Canada. “We are way overstocked for our acreage,” Sandy says, “but we're blessed with good water supply here, so we can irrigate our pastures and have plenty of water for the stock.” Their manure is managed so they don't have to use chemicals or fertilizers to keep their pastures healthy. Maturing weeds are controlled by mowing with a five-foot brush mower behind their small tractor.
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