Monday, August 29, 2011

Heart Felt

August 29, 2011
By: Victor G. Guerra

I had the opportunity this past weekend to give a motivational speech on leadership at the 5W Cattle Company Field Day and judge showmanship.  From the moment I stepped foot on the grounds I was impressed with the group of kids that had made the decision to spend this hot summer day learning and improving themselves through their beef cattle projects.  I know that for some the decision was not theirs, so to all those parents that made the decision to get them there, I commend you. 

I spoke to the kids about how each of them is a leader, if nothing else they are the leader of their lives.  I urged them to build a solid foundation, as someone would when building a house.  This foundation was made up of their morals and ethics, what they believed to be right and wrong.  I also told them that in formulating their morals they must ask as many questions as possible, because along the way there would be several individuals challenging them to stray from these standards and crack the foundation their lives were built upon.  I used the most famous ten two letter words (“If it is to be, it is up to me”) to encourage them to set clearly defined goals and take initiative in accomplishing them.  I shared a story with them about how I acted out of line one time after being placed 4th with my steer my junior year at our local show.  When I thought no one was looking back at the trailer, I threw my show stick in anger and shook my head looking back at the show ring.  In no time, Mrs. Susan Brown came over to the trailer and had me by my neck collar telling me how I better shape up because rather I knew it or not, some of the kids there looked up to me.  I told these kids that exact thing, that somewhere someone looks up to them and that they needed to take this responsibility of being a role model seriously.  Finally, I told them to volunteer for the leadership opportunities that are all around them and that their actions often speak louder than their words.

The very first Heart of Simbrah Show was held at the conclusion of the field day and it was a great one.  The quality of kids and cattle were impressive and the show was well attended.  Both Javier Moreno, a fellow Simbrah breeder and Mando Correa, a well respected local Ag teacher both did a fine job of judging the kids and cattle.  I believe that it is a great testament to this breed to see new events like this show being created; it is a clear sign that the breed is growing and growing in the right direction, by developing our youth through our cattle.  One of the many highlights for me was seeing Klarissa Cantu still smiling at 11 pm as they were loading out after a full day of participating in the field day, showing in two showmanship contests and a heifer and steer show.  Attitude is everything.  With our hearts in the right place by focusing on these kids, I am determined that the breed and the future of it, is headed in the right direction.

I highly recommend attending the 5W Cattle Company Field Day and Heart of Simbrah Show next year, as it was a fun and educational day had by all.  A BIG HEARTY THANKS to the Ron & Rhonda Wells Family for all that they did to make yet another great Simbrah event possible.        

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Simbrah And The Summer Of 2011

by Beth Mercer

I’ve lost count of the number of days, or maybe months at this point, with temperatures over 100 degrees.  The days start off at about 80 degrees and move up quickly.   No rain has fallen for months and we can’t even get a heavy dew.   You sweat through your clothes by 9:00 a.m. and learn to live with it until supper.   Dust covers everything.  It’s a good day when the wind blows.  It’s a bad one when it doesn’t because you can barely breath.  You get the picture.   Historically high temperatures and dry conditions have become the norm and there is no change in sight for Texas and other parts of the country. 

Our Simbrah cattle, on the other hand, seem to be taking the high temperatures and drought in stride.  They graze on and off all day and I’ve yet to catch any of them breathing hard due to the heat.   Their calves aren’t suffering from lack of milk and the bulls kept up their work pace during the breeding season without falling apart.   In other words, Simbrah cattle with as little as 1/8 Brahman blood are bred to adapt to these adverse conditions. 

One characteristic of heat tolerant cattle is their ability to shed their winter coat in spring and summer.  As a general rule, Simbrah are slick haired with many staying slick all winter.    They have a little more hide surface area or extra leather that also keeps them cooler.

With lush grass a distant memory on most ranches, Brahman influenced Simbrah cattle browse and make a meal out of whatever is available.   Biting flies and ticks don’t seem to slow them down and even in this heat, the females breed back while nursing a calf.    The heat tolerance of Simbrah contributes to the success of feeding steers in the summer months as they continue to gain and tolerate the high temperatures in the feedlot.

The ability of cattle to adapt to the environment in which they live is of the utmost importance for any cattle operation to have a chance to be successful.    Simbrah cattle thrive in many environments but their true worth comes when the temperatures are high and the grass becomes scarce.  

Printed courtesy of the Register