The Berger cowherd (approx. 350 head) consists of an even mix of both red and black hided cattle, all of which are varying percentages of Simmental and Angus genetics. It is a closed cowherd with no outside females being added to the herd. All cows are enrolled in the THE program (Total Herd Enrollment) with American Simmental Association.
Special emphasis is being placed on producing moderate sized females with fleshing ability, good udder quality, excellent dispositions, and end product value. Fertility is a high priority and selected for using a short calving season and the culling of late calving females within that short calving season. Added value is placed upon API (ALL Purpose Index).
Cattle are expected to graze Sandhill pasture through the late spring, summer, and early fall. Late fall and winter months cattle graze corn stalk residues. When calving begins cows are returned to the ranch and supplemented with various feed stuffs depending on cost and availability.
Calving season begins in late January for the first calf heifers and mid-February for the mature cowherd. Ideally cows calve outside but given our early calving season cold weather and snow can become a factor so a portion of our cows do go through the calving barn.
Yearling heifers are bred to start calving 21 days prior to the mature cowherd and are synchronized using a 14 day CIDR protocol. They are given 2 chances to conceive AI with no bull exposure. Females failing to conceive are sent to town as feeder cattle.
The entire mature cowherd is synchronized using the Select Synch + CIDR & TAI program and given at least 1 chance to conceive AI. Immediately following AI cleanup bulls are turned in for a 45 day breeding season. All females failing to conceive within this breeding season are culled.
Weaning takes place approximately September 1st depending upon weather conditions and calves are weaned using a 2 phase system. The first phase involves the application of a nose tab which prevents the calf from sucking. The second phase happens 5-6 days later and involves the removal of the nose tab and physical separation of the cow and calf. It is a very effective and low stress method of weaning calves.