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The Texas Longhorn University
By Darol Dickinson
Every Texas Longhorn producer is conducting serious genetic testing and investment experiments, very much like a scientific laboratory -- producing good and not so good results. Consequently, a ranch visit with an experienced Texas Longhorn producer is much more than a buying event; it can be like a unique university degree. And like a university, each rancher will promote his or her own program, and types and styles of cattle. Some owners are very opinionated, some very focused, and some are very open about improving bloodlines and genetics. No matter the preferences, every ranch herd tour is a quality educational experience.
An old rancher once said, "Never had a cowboy work for me that I didn't learn some good way to do a job, or some way to never, ever do it again." And so it is with a Longhorn herd tour. Even though the owner may be paying a dear price to achieve the highest quality goals, the herd visitor can quickly learn many valuable lessons on a totally wholesale basis.
Every new Texas Longhorn aficionado should visit herds owned by experienced producers. It is the most economical, fastest way to learn the business. A herd visit will be equally profitable to experienced and new producers alike. Equipment, new sciences, fencing, vaccines, minerals, vehicles, pasture management and feed ingredients all make a difference in herd planning success.
Everyone has different ideas on methods, bloodlines and ranch management. Some are blessed with finances that allow the best equipment, ranch land and cattle. Some are very frugal and work to make every purchase very close to the vest. The combination of both types allows the herd visitor to select the genetics and methods that fit his or her taste and wallet. These opposite methods are perfect to learn from.
Most people entering the business have easy access to auction sales. The sales have been a major source of great socializing. Although sales provide a valid learning experience, they are limited in scope, considering the total picture. The fancy or shabby auction facility tells nothing about herd management. It tells very little about the breeding programs on the ranch. Some consignors sell their bottom-end culls while others pride themselves in selling their very best stock. The in-person ranch visit separates genetics and management that are not apparent at an auction.
The Texas Longhorn Journal has dozens of ads that extend an invitation to view herds. "Come see cattle for sale, etc." The response to these ads is expected and welcomed. However, here are some tips on squeezing the most out of a visit and also what is the expected protocol for visiting a private ranch as a guest.
Purchasing cattle privately is totally different from an auction. It is normal for the owner to set a price and the guest either buys or not. Private purchases do not have a competing bidder continually changing the playing field. A private purchase allows ample time to make a reasonable decision without the pressure of an instant auction decision. Private purchases may allow for terms, yet an auction is 100 percent cash only. A private purchase may include agreements to board cattle, deliver purchases, or split a pair and only buy one. Both auction purchases and private sales have specific and separate opportunities.
Here are a few tips on ranch tour etiquette to ensure that you will always be welcome for a return visit.
Reprinted courtesy of the Texas Longhorn Journal
Registered Texas Longhorns since 1967
DCCI~~~ Purveyor of “one owner” quality Cattle.
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