Kit Pharo of Pharo Cattle Company on Forage Only Cattle Genetics

Kit Pharo from Pharo Cattle Company on Cattle Kit PharoGenetics and Building a Low Input Cow Herd

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More info on Kit Pharo and Pharo Cattle Company:

Pharo Cattle Company

About Kit Pharo

About Pharo Cattle Company:

Our Philosophies…
Optimum production is always much more profitable than maximum production. Bigger is not always better! Optimum production is the point at which net profits are maximized. Profit is what we really want to maximize.
Fit Their Environment. To achieve optimum production ranchers must produce cows that fit their environment, instead of artificially changing the environment to fit their cows. Since many ranchers have cows that are too big and inefficient, they are forced to change their environment by feeding harvested and purchased feed to keep their cows in production. This quickly takes most of the profit out of ranching. We want a cow that can survive strictly on what the ranch produces with little, or no, inputs. A cow ought to be supporting the ranch, instead of being supported by the ranch!
In order to produce momma cows that fit our environment, we require our cows to run on short native grass year-round with very little feed supplement. We let the environment sort out the “good ones”, while we show absolutely no sympathy for open, late, or dry cows. They must produce and wean a calf every year or they are culled. There are no second chances!
Desirable End Product. We not only want a cow that fits her environment, we also expect her to produce a desirable and profitable end product. Her calves must be able to feed efficiently, as well as meet the requirements established by the current beef industry. The industry wants a steer calf that can produce a 700 to 800 pound Choice carcass with a Yield Grade less than 3.
Contrary to popular opinion, we believe it is possible to produce ideal replacement heifers and ideal feeding steers with the same bull. To prove this point we enrolled our steer calves in a feed and carcass test for three years in a row. We are extremely pleased with the results. The averages are posted below.
In Weight: 560                Out Weight: 1225           Carcass Wt.: 775
% Choice: 75%              Yield Grade: 2.3              Rib Eye Area: 13.3 sq. in.

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  • Paddy Reynolds

    Hey Chris, this is an awesome podcast. I must admit that I had not given the notion of forage only cattle genetics much thought. It is such an obvious notion that it becomes un- obvious. . As luck will have it my herd is Black Angus. Last year I lost a bull and loaned a Hereford bull from my neighbour. The hybrid vigour is really dramatic. So much so that I started to think that perhaps that might be the way to go. Really appreciated Kit’s perspective on the whole subject. I am not sure if I have just missed this, but nowhere in my reading on HM is animal genetics discussed. Such an important subject. Perhaps you can write a short chapter in your book.

    • Thanks Paddy, I appreciate your feedback as always!

  • Are soyhulls forage?
    Wouldn`t cattle that flesh on low inputs get way too fat on grain; thus, negating their value for anything other than use on grass?
    how can smaller frame, fat calves increase dollars per acre return when there is a 10 to 20 cent discount in the commodity marketplace for such?
    where`s proof that smaller cows are more efficient in grass conversion? Consumption is not linear with cow weight…
    just how little validity does a bull test have if all animals have been removed from their contemporary weaning group?
    thx, Mike Keeney

    • greg schwab

      My 900 pound cows calve from may 15 to june 30 and wean 550 in january Thats like 62% of there body weight. My niehbor in the same number of days with 1400 pound cows wean 550 pound calves like 38% of the cows body wieght. Small cows are more productive and profitable. . If your worried about the feedlot part of the deal they will spend less time there and make more profit Greg

      • Thanks for answering those questions Greg.

        Mike, It all depends on your goals.

        • mike keeney

          anecdotes are not evidence; only properly constructed research offers comparison…there is no physiological reason for a small cow to be any more efficient than a larger cow if of the same type…sounds good, sells good, but all it amounts to is marketing…the relationship of mature size to feed consumed is not one to one; well documented for years…
          a 900 lb,, condition score 5, cow bred to a bull to produce another 900 lb mature cow will produce a male steer offspring that finishes at 900 lb…the docks in that scenario erase any profitability, even the imagined kind…
          only in a system of maternal/terminal mating can any increased efficiency be shown; and even there, it is not so pronounced that only one way prevails…
          the idea of one kind doing everything best is contrary to natural law; and always will be…

          • Greg Schwab

            Mike Ive had this set of cows for years same blood lines . Frame score 2/3 bulls on the same size cows I butcher my steers and carcuss wieghts are Always 600# . when I sell in Jan. at 550# they top the market on that day and that is at Lajunta Colorado the # 2 sell in the nation. So don’t beleive all that that you know because it’s not right . Greg

          • agitatorr

            Are you familiar with Kleiber’s Law?

      • Paddy Reynolds

        Without profit we have nothing. May I ask this question? If a rancher mob grazes at say 30, 000 lbs per acre, then by my math he/she can run 21 x 1400 cows per acre or 33 x 900lbs per acre. If as Greg says, the weight of his calves from smaller framed cows is equal to that of the larger frame run by his neighbour, and presuming the market pays on weight, then smaller frame ranchers are 30% better off. Even if small framed calves were lighter, would the sheer numbers translate into a bigger return ? Environmentally there would be more animals harnessing the tools of managed grazing and animal impact. So presumably the regenerative process to soil and pasture is better. Making it possible to run more stock.

        • mike keeney

          once again, Are soy hulls forage?

          • Jeff Nauman

            Soybeans are a legume just as is alfalfa. That in and of itself clarifies that soy hulls would be considered a forage. When you expound upon the process of removing the soybean oil prior to feeding the hulls, you obviously have a product that could only be considered a forage.

          • Mike,

            I bring people on the podcast for an interview. I like to hear their opinion’s and so does my audience. You can agree or disagree if you like, I encourage questioning actually. Smaller framed animals ARE more efficient. You won’t see many university studies on the issue. I’m sure there are out there but I have no desire to dig them up just to prove a point to you. If you want to run tall, big animals, go ahead. No one is forcing you to buy or do anything. No, soy hulls are not forage but can act as a carrier for other supplements. It all depends on your goals. Sounds like you are dedicated to 100% forage only, which is great. Other people are not as interested in that and see the value of supplements in their management styles. I think Kit provided a great explanation of why smaller framed animals are superior to larger ones, on forage only programs. Paddy is also correct in his statements. Take these opinions for what they are worth and make your own decision whether not to to “believe” them.

        • Very well said Paddy, thank you!

          • mike keeney

            Kleibers law?
            please, please; let`s not destroy a good sale`s pitch with scientific fact…
            a 2 frame bull? what breed? Dexter?
            so soy hulls are forage…well, I guess corn is grass then…
            Corn is a type of grass. Botanically, the Poaceae family of grasses includes a huge variety of plant types ranging from tiny grasses to huge bamboos– and Z. mays, also known by its common name: corn.