Our Braunvieh program began in 1992 when we were loking for bulls that would add milk and maternal traits to our crossbred commercial cowherd. This search led us to Ron Franken, Linn, Mo. We purchased 21 halfblood bred heifers from Franken Farm that year to add to our commercial herd. Those 21 heifers were bred to calve in January, which did not excite us very much, but we were willing to try them. All the heifers calved on time, they all claimed their calf, they all milked and they all bred back. We grew up in another breed of cattle so you can imagine our excitement. After that first experience with the Braunvieh cross female, were were hooked.
We purchased Braunvieh bulls and bred 200 commercial cows for halfblood Braunvieh cross calves. A few fullblood heifers were purchased and an agreement was made with Franken Farm to develop their calves after weaning and merchandise them. We were on the way to becoming a Braunvieh seedstock supplier.
Maintaining a herd of one of the oldest pure breeds known to man was simple from the beginning. The Braunvieh females were more “middle of the road”, very maternal, easy keepers and fit our grass based operation very well. The bull portion of the seedstock business was going to be a little tougher. Selling someone a brown bull to use on their crossbred cows was going to produce a better, heavier calf at weaning than they were used to, but they were going to be a challenge to market at the local livestock market. Thus, the reason for our customer service program, the McBee Calf Roundup part of the McBee Genetic Advantage Program (MGAP). From the first bull that we sold or leased, McBee Cattle Company has helped our customers market their production through the grouping of their calves.
Our experience with the Braunvieh breed in a commercial production model has shown us that the breed has fewer faults than any other breed we know of. Research at some major experiment stations back up our experiences as well. Data from the US Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE. compared Braunvieh cross females with five other breed cross females, including the well known industry standard cross cow, Hereford X Angus. In this study, the pregnancy rate for the Braunvieh cross female was equal to any of the other breed crosses in the comparison and 6% higher than the Hereford X Angus cross females. The pregnancy rate for the Braunvieh cross females was 10% higher than the Simmental cross females, 17% higher than the Limousin cross females and 18% more than the Charolais cross females.
When the US MARC compared the breed cross females for pounds of calf weaned per cow exposed, Braunvieh cross females weaned 4% more calf weight than the Gelbvieh cross females, 5% more than the Hereford X Angus females, 9% more weaning weight than the Limousin cross females and the Simmental cross females and 11% more weaning weight than the Charolais cross females.
Every commercial cowman’s dream is of an increased pregnancy rate combined with extra weaning weight per cow exposed. Our experience as well as the research data clearly shows the Maternal Excellence of the Braunvieh female.
When Braunvieh bulls are used in a crossbreeding program, dividends are made two ways. First, with the built in fleshing ability, lean to fat ratio, bigger ribeyes and overall performance of the bull and secondly with hybrid vigor. We have never seen as much benefit from hybrid vigor as we have seen in these halfblood Braunvieh calves and it does not seem to matter what breed the cow is. In a normal crossbreeding scenario, 10% to 15% more weaning weight is achieved, free of charge, from crossing two pure breeds. Some think they are crossbreeding when they put an Angus bull on their black crossbred cowherd. If you have a mostly black cowherd, there is a good chance that most of the blood in your cowherd is Angus. Putting an Angus bull on them is not taking full advantage of the free pounds that can be achieved with hybrid vigor. If you want proof let us know, and we can help you prove it to yourself.