We bought our first Texas Longhorns in 1986. Over the years, we have had visitors to our ranch and web page ask many questions about Texas Longhorns.  We thought it might be helpful to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions so that others who may have the same or similar question would have quick access to our answers.  We enjoy questions and think that all questions are important. Our answers are based on what we have seen, done, read, heard, and are doing.  I want you to remember, however, that we are weekend ranchers, you are getting advice on Texas Longhorns from an individual who’s only experience and training has been on how to be a life insurance agent, not raise cattle.  There is a large number of people  who have had professional training and years of experience raising cattle as a profession and their answers to these questions ought to take precedent over ours.

Most of the pictures have little to do with the questions.  I just thought you might like to see some pretty Texas Longhorns. (Above is The Late Great KING when he visited our ranch in 1990-91)

I just bought …XX… acres.  It has grass, trees, a pond and is fenced.  How many Texas Longhorns can I run on it?

Talk with the person you purchased the property from and find out how many head of cattle they were running on it.  You might also talk to the neighbors.  In each county in the United States, there is an agriculture extension agent.  This is an agency of the Federal Government and is paid for by your taxes.  The county agent can give you some advice on how many cattle that could be run on your property; many will even come to your property to do a survey of your grasses.  This is a free  service and I encourage you to meet your county agent.  Old timers in the Texas Longhorn business have told me that because the longhorns utilize more plants than other cattle, you can run about 25% more longhorns than you can other cattle on the same ground.  For the last 10-12 years, we have run about 10-20% more longhorns than our agriculture extension agents recommends.  I would recommend that you start with a smaller number than is recommended and build up.  If you see the grass is getting ahead of your cattle, you can always buy more cattle, its harder to buy more grass.  One other thing to be aware of in these conversations, is your previous landowner, your neighbors, and even the extension agent probably have some cattle to sell or know somebody who does, and will recommend you buy whatever they happen to own.

Why should I buy Texas Longhorns?

They are very hardy and low maintenance. They have the lowest % of calving problems in the cattle industry and they seldom need a vet.  Their horns and many different colors provide more visual pleasure to you and your guests than any other cattle. Calving time is like an Easter egg hunt.  They are very productive.  Most Texas Longhorns calve  around age 2, other cattle closer to age 3. Most Texas Longhorns will have a calf ever year till they are in their 20’s; most other cattle quit calving  long before that. They are  a lot of fun. Texas Longhorns have a rich history and give your ranch a touch of the old west. They are a symbol of rugged individualism even Merrill Lynch the New York Brokerage Firm uses a black Texas Longhorn Bull in their advertisements to tell everyone they are Bullish on America. Bill Anthony of Ardmore Ok. the only person elected  president of both the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association and The International Texas Longhorn Association. once said Texas Longhorns have been roped, ridden, shown, milked, trained to pull a wagon, and when you are through with them, their meat makes great steaks, their hides make beautiful rugs, or leather, their bones make fertilizer, their hooves glue, you can sell everything but the moo. The other day I was in a local supermarket buying some milk when I opened the door to get the milk it set off a recording of a cows moo. Bill I guess someone figured out how to sell the moo! (see also The Perfect Cattle for the Weekend Rancher.)

Your information says that Texas longhorns have few calving problems.  I have read this elsewhere.  Is there any scientific evidence to prove this? Why is calving ease important?

For people who do not live at their ranch, the ability of Texas Longhorns to have a live calf 98% of the time without the assistance of man is a very important benefit. You don’t have to be there at calving time and you don’t have to pay someone to be there, even with Texas Longhorns who are having their first calf.

At an ITLA Houston Chapter Education Seminar speaker George Wilhite said, “Texas A & M University did a study and concluded that the average commercial cow dilates to 90 centimeters when giving birth and that the average Texas Longhorn dilates to 110 centimeters.”  Texas Longhorn calves at birth weigh 40 to 60 lbs.  Commercial cattle may have calves weighing 60 to 80 lbs.  In 1986, we bought our ranch and 10 Texas Longhorns.  The next year we bought 40 more and for a number of years had over 100 Texas Longhorn cows Today we run between 50 and 60.  As of April 2007 , we have had to pull two calves and have lost one cow because of a birthing problem.  Something smaller going through something bigger has less problems than doing it the other way.

How do Texas Longhorns do in a drought? What do you do in a drought?

I believe the first thing is to read 2nd Chronicles Chapter 6, verse 26-27, and follow the instructions.

Texas Longhorns are probably the best suited cattle for drought conditions. Their long, elliptical body disperses the heat better than most animals and because they have a wider variety of diet than most cattle they tend to find forage where other cattle are unable or unwilling.

Old timers have told me to save one pasture. The day you turn them into that pasture you should make plans for the disposal of the herd. When that pasture is used up all of the ones that are going should be gone. If you get rain turn your herd into the saved pasture right away.

This allows your other pastures to recover and keeps the grass in your saved pasture from getting too long. As soon as they have eaten it down turn the herd back to their other pasture. It should have some nice growth by then and you saved pasture will still have enough moisture to grow more grass.

When you are looking for hay in a drought, watch the weather patterns around you. While your area may be very dry and hay quite expensive, it may be that a few hundred miles away from you they are getting more rain or normal rainfall and haymakers are making hay. I would drive into that area, you should find people who have a quite a bit of hay and will sell it at normal prices. They may even have the ability to haul it to your ranch. Also, in an area within driving distance from your ranch that is getting normal rainfall, the sale barns will be paying closer to normal prices for cattle and if you do have to take some of your herd to market, it should more than pay for the price of the haul to take them into those sale barns.

We have learned from show people that cattle can thrive without grass or hay if they are put on a full show ration or even a good ration that has an inhibitor. It may be cheaper to buy and feed these quality show feeds than it is to buy hay in your area or haul it in form the outside for the cattle you want to keep.

You might want to talk to your agriculture extension agent on how fast a cow will go through a bail of hay. Or perhaps run an experiment yourself. Then compare the cost of the hay with the cost of the feed. Most commercial cattlemen feel they can feed a cow a ration that costs about $1.50 a day that either has a salt or fish meal inhibitor that discourages them for over eating, and they eat only what they need. A little time at the desk with a calculator can help you determine whether to use hay or feed or a combination.

You should also ask Your Agriculture Extension Agent about Federal programs designed to help those in agriculture recover from droughts including the cash payments. You do have to sign up for these programs the agent can tell you where.

If you lose your “improved pastures”, when you replant, consider grasses that grow naturally in your area. The good Lord designed some grasses specifically for your area that will handle extreme weather conditions better, recover quicker, and require less care and chemicals than grasses not native to your area. One other thing to remember is next year some or many of your cows will calve later than they did the year before. Some may skip the whole year. Remember the ones who calve on time.

How much fertilizer and weed killer do you put on your property each year?

As little as possible, its expensive.  We  made a decision at the time we bought our ranch in 1986  to use natural grass production.  Since 1986 we have fertilized our pastures 4 times and sprayed weed killer three times.  We do shred our pastures at least once, sometimes twice, a year.  By using less fertilizer, we do not have the sophisticated grasses that some of our neighbors do but the Texas longhorns seem to do well on whatever grows.  Texas Wildflowers are more likely to grow in unfertilized pastures and the savings in the cost of fertilizer and weed killer made our cattle operation profitable, though I would hate to have to live on the profit. One of the advantages of using Texas Longhorns is that you can plant clover and let the Texas Longhorns graze on it. Clover puts  nitrogen in the soil and it comes back ever year in early spring. Many other breeds of Cattle can get “bloat” from grazing on clover. Other kinds of livestock may may also have problems with clover. We have let our Texas Longhorns graze on clover for 21 years and never had a problem. Using clover is one of the ways God intended to to put nitrogen in the soil. There are other ways God tells how to enrich our soil (and our soul) in the Holy Bible.

How many head of Texas Longhorns have you, do you run?

I started with 10 and a bull in 1986. The next 2 years I purchased 45 more. The most I ever took threw a winter was 119. Most years I took about 100 threw winter. In 2004 we cut back to 90, in 2005 75, in 2006 we will take less than 60 threw winter.

How old does a Texas Longhorn have to be to have a calf? When do you breed them?

One of the economic advantages of Texas Longhorns is the “extra calf”. Most people who raise other breeds of cattle breed them after they turn two years old so they will have a calf before they turn three (9 months, 10 days after they are bred ). Many Texas Longhorn owners put their heifers with a bull at 14 months, they will calve before they are two years old. Texas Longhorns are able to calve before they are two and breed back and have a second calf before they are three. Taking two calves to market will net you more money than taking just one! We put our heifer calves with a bull after they are 1 year old. They breed when God wants them to. Most calve before they are two. Since our first calf crop in 1987 we have had to pull two calves. Ever so often we will have one wait till she is over 2 and 1/2 years old before she calves. Those that waited this long were all born in the fall. We have had many calve at 21 and 22 months.  The record is held by Athaliah. She was born in Feb. 2002 and had a bull calf Sept. 6, 2003 at 18 months 3 weeks old.   

Can you run other livestock in the same pasture as Texas Longhorns?

Other cattle are ok but cattle do not have upper front teeth. Horses, sheep, goats, donkeys, and mules do. They can eat the best grass down so low that cattle can’t get a good bite. The horses  will look fat the cattle poor. In the late 1800’s trying to run cattle and sheep on the same open range is what started the famous range wars.  Most ranchers keep cattle in separate pastures from other livestock.

How do you protect your cattle against predators? What predators do you have in your area?

The Good Lord gave cattle horns to defend themselves and their calves. In our area the Coyotes, Bobcats, and an occasional Cougar understand the damage those horns can do and leave them alone. Also Texas Longhorns take turns babysitting  their resting or sleeping calves. One of the adults stands guard while the rest of the herd grazes elsewhere. The Predators will not bother the calves while the adult is around. A number of old time ranchers who run other breeds of cattle have one or two Texas Longhorns in their herd to protect the other cow’s calves.

What is the easy way to tell the sex of a new born calf?

Look at the navel. If there is a little tuft of hair at the back of the navel it is a bull. If there is not one, its a heifer. To see what I mean click on the Bulls for Sale page click on the picture to increase its size and look at the back of the navel for the tuft of hair. Now go to the Cows for Sale Page, go to the bottom of the list where the young heifers are listed. Look at their navels, as you can see no tuft of hair. It is very easy to see in the pasture. The mothers are happier when you learn to tell the sex this way rather than chase their calf down and lift its leg. Yes the heifers have a tuft of hair too but it’s under their tail and not as easy to see.

What type of equipment and how many horses do I need to have a cattle ranch?

Very little and none.  You do need a corral  and a loading chute where you can pin your cattle and work or load them.  I have found it unnecessary to own a trailer.  There are plenty of individuals who haul cattle for you at a reasonable price.  Currently(2007), the price is about $2-2.50 a loaded mile.  When I add up all the cattle hauling that I have done in a year, it is far cheaper for me to pay professional haulers to haul my cattle than to own a trailer.  The same thing  is true with a tractor.  I have never owned a tractor.  I have found it cheaper to hire professionals to come in and shred the pastures or do whatever tractor work is needed than it was to purchase a tractor.  I also do not currently own a horse. Riding a horse is a lot of fun but pinning cattle on horseback is more like work.  When I need horses to pin the cattle, I have found it easier to hire professional cowboys to bring their horses in than for me  to own a horse and try to chase them in the pin myself. The local cowboys love to work cattle some don’t even charge me and they are fun to watch. I buy all my hay from a neighbor so I don’t own hay bailing equipment.

I have found it is very easy to learn how to use range cubes.

Range (Breeder) cubes are sold by most feed stores.  It is a compressed feed about an inch in diameter and anywhere from a 1 inch to 6 inches long that you can throw out on the ground. I like the Purina but any range cube or range cake will do. The cows, once they learn to eat it, will come to it like I do to candy.  I give my cattle some almost every time I see them.  I always make them come to me to get it.  By doing this I can usually move them from one pasture to another without any problem or even pen an entire herd by leading them into the pens with a bag of range cubes. I pour it out in the pen and while they are eating I shut the gate.

What type of vaccines do you give your cattle?

Veterinarians in our area recommend we vaccinate for a few items each year.  Usually, this is a 8 or nine way vaccine against several  problems.  At the same time we vaccinate, we worm them with Ivomec Eprinex a pour-on wormer. About every other year we use a wormer that we have to inject that dose more than the pour on.

Are Texas Longhorns dangerous?

Yes.  Anything that outweighs you, is stronger, quicker and faster than you are should be respected and treated accordingly.  An adult cow weighs about 1000 lbs and if they step on your foot, it is going to hurt.  With that said, I am very comfortable being in the pasture or corral with my longhorns and so is my family.  They can be halter trained and shown at shows. Some people even ride longhorns, but like any animal they should be respected.  Most animals are more afraid of you and than you are of them.  I prefer my longhorns to be comfortable enough with me to let me get within about 8 to 10 feet of them so that I can get a good picture.  If I get any closer to them I want them to move away from me.  This helps in herding them. Cattle that have been shown are not as afraid of humans as cattle who haven’t.  You can approach them in the pasture and some will let you get close enough for you and your visitors to pet.  This is a thrill to visitors but these are the cattle that are the most likely to step on your foot and IT DOES HURT! 

What do Texas Longhorns eat? What do you feed them? Do they need special food?

Texas Longhorns eat the same things other cows eat Grass in summer, Hay in winter. They do eat a few more plants than other cows but they don’t need anything special. I feed mine Purina range (breeder) cubes almost ever weekend. Some will eat it out of your hand. It is easy to train one to do this. I also keep salt and mineral blocks out for them.If the hay I am using in winter is poor quality I will also put out protein tubs.

Are Texas Longhorns fence jumpers or hard on fences? What kind of fences do you use?

No, most cows can jump or go threw a fence if they need to. Most cattle will respect a fence as long as there is adequate grass on their side. When grass or water is in short supply and there is plenty across the fence any cow will jump or find a hole. Texas Longhorns eat a wider variety of plants than other cattle so other cattle will jump a fence before a Texas Longhorn. If you thank about it and  remember all the cattle you have seen eating  outside a fence along the side of the road they were breeds other than Texas Longhorns.  However if you ever saw a pretty colored  cow with long twisty horns eating outside her fence you would remember her quicker and longer than a dozen  generic cows. If you do have a cow who jumps a fence or cattle guard it is best to get rid of her as soon as possible or she will teach other cows to go with her. Sometimes just moving her to a different pasture will solve the problem. If you sell her to another  breeder you should tell them her problem. Any fence that will hold other cattle will hold Texas Longhorns, I prefer 5 or 6 strand barbed wire on cedar post. The cedar gives an old west look and lasts longer than treated post!

How much do Texas Longhorns weigh? Are Texas Longhorns smaller than other cows?

That depends on where they are. There is an area along the Gulf Coast starting East of Corpus Christi, Texas and runs well in to Alabama it varies from 100 miles to 400 miles inland. In this area the grass is 98% water. All cattle all smaller in this area. Experts recommend to commercial cattlemen not to use more than an 1100 pound cow in this area. They say because of the weak grasses a  higher weight cow cannot take care of herself raise a calf and breed back  to have another calf next year. If you go North or West of this area they can use a cow 200-300 lbs. heaver. Old timers say that the original Texas Longhorns weighed between 500-800 lbs., so they did well along the Gulf Coast. Today’s Texas Longhorns in this area weigh 700 – 1000 lbs. When you go North or West you will see heaver Texas Longhorns. There the grass is 96% or 94% water Cows in those areas get 2 to 3 times the nutriments cows  in each mouthful of grass. If you take a cow from this area North or West  in 1or 2 generations her offspring will be the same size as the cows in that area.  If  you bring a cow from there, here her offspring in 1 or 2 generations will be the same size as cows in this area. Texas Longhorns look smaller than they weigh, because they have less fat. Red meat or muscle takes up less space than fat. Its the same reason a 300 pound football player looks smaller than a 300 pound, football watcher

Can you eat Texas Longhorns meat?

Yes. And, you probably have.  Most Texas Longhorns like all beef cattle wind up going into the beef market.  The meat is very lean.  It’s bright red in color.  Studies at major universities say that it has less cholesterol than skinless chicken.  It has very little marbling, in other words, you get more red meat per ounce.  Under a microscope meat looks like a finely woven fabric with long strands and fibers and small round globs of fat in between.  During  cooking, those fat globules explode and become a liquid vacating the place where they existed before and tearing or weakening the red meat fibers around them.  This makes heavily marbled or fatty meat more tender than the Texas Longhorn but you do get more red meat (protein) with the Texas Longhorn meat.  When the fat globules explode heat is expelled in the form of steam. Fatty or highly marbled meat takes longer to cook than lean red meat. One of the mistakes people make in cooking lean beef is they over cook it. Once you learn to cook it less you will find Texas Longhorn beef has a very good steak  flavor and it holds its flavor longer.  If you have left over steak cooked from meat that you bought at the super market, after a couple days in your refrigerator it begins to develop that refrigerated taste.  Texas Longhorn steak will hold its flavor for 5-7 days. Many health food stores sell Texas Longhorn meat because of its low fat content.

Where is the best place to sell Texas Longhorns?

The markets are multiple.  At weaning time (6-7 months), cattle that would not make acceptable breeding stock have two markets.  The first is the same market that all of the cattlemen use across the scale at your local sale barn where they will be purchased and turned into the meat for your supermarket.  The second most common market for weaned Texas Longhorn calves is the recreational market.  Team ropers, steer riders and bull dodgers will buy young Texas Longhorns once their horns get to the end of their ears.  Our cattle achieve this in about 8-10 months. The recreational market will generally pay $25-50 a head more than the same animal would bring across the scale.  This market is not available to those who raise cattle with no horns.  Quality cattle can always be sold as breeding stock to other breeders either by private treaty (someone comes to your ranch and buys your Texas Longhorns there) or at registered Texas Longhorn sales that are held all over the country.  Multi-colored cows, bulls and steers that have a lot of, style and long horns, will bring the most money.  A lot of ranchers who raise other breeds of cattle will buy Texas Longhorn steers just to give their ranch an old west flavor with a big horned Texas Longhorn steer walking around in their pastures.  Many Texas Longhorn owners fatten their own cattle and sell the beef to friends,  and co-workers.  As they get older, Texas Longhorns increase in value because their horns continue to grow and in some cases after they die a Texas Longhorn’s skull with a pretty pair of horns attached to it may be worth more than the cow  was during her 20 year plus lifetime.  A Texas longhorn skull or sometimes just the horns will bring anywhere from $300-$1000.  At the large stock shows I have seen horns priced between $3,000 and $4,000.

What does a Texas Longhorn cost?  What makes the prices change?

Weaned Texas Longhorn calves that would make good breeding stock will sell for $800-$1200.  A calf that has the potential to show and show well will sell from $1400-$2000 after weaning.  If they win a few champion- ships $2500 to $10,000! A quality mother cow will sell from $1000 to $2500 and if she has a little style to her, a little more color, and a little longer horns, the prices will go up. A  In 2002, at the Red McCombs Sale  $59,000 was paid for a 10 year old Texas Longhorn cow with a magnificent set of horns, beautifully colored with a gorgeous calf at side.  A young bull sold for over $ 25,000 at a sale in Kansas in 2002. In 2005 a Texas Longhorn Cow sold for $81000 at the Legacy sale in Ft. Worth. In 2008 a Texas Longhorn cow sold for $170,000 at The Legacy Sale in Ft. Worth! Prices change throughout the year.  Once a calf is weaned they increase in price. Once they’re bred, cattle increase in price.  Once they have a calf, the price increases to reflect the calf at side.  Once a calf is weaned, the cows price will drop.  Poor weather conditions may cause a drop in cattle prices, while an unusual  increase in grasses (rain in August) may cause prices to increase.  As the cattle mature and their horns grow, they become more valuable. If they produce great calves each year they become more valuable. If you see a cow or a bull you like please give me (Joe Assad) a call at 713-686-5433 office or 713-869-8019 home and let me answer your questions. You can also email us with the form at the bottom of the page.  You are always welcome to visit our Kat-El ranch near Brenham, Texas. Texas Longhorns look better when seen in person.

What is the best? natural? most popular? color for a Texas Longhorn?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Texas Longhorns run from white to black with every cattle color in between including chocolate browns, medium browns and almost a yellow, reds, duns, charcoals, grays, brindles, and every color that God put on a cow.  Old timers say that the old time longhorns were more of a dun color or brown or black.  Cattle with a lot of color or flash or spots or multiple colors seem to always stay popular.  Years ago when I first got in the business, a lot of people owned Texas Longhorn that were mostly white.  Partly because lighter colored cattle seemed to do better in the heat and most of the Texas Longhorns at that time were in Texas.  Also, the Texas Longhorn bull Classic was the first that measured over 60” of horn.  He was white except for brown ears.  In his day, a lot of people wanted to have cattle that looked like Classic.  For the last few years, the most popular color has been black or cattle with heavy black influence. When Red McCombs’ and Darol Dickinson’s (two of the Texas Longhorn industries most influential owners) had co-ownership of the white and red bull Super Bowl, I felt that red and white would become a very popular color. I like all the colors I think Texas Longhorns are a walking work of art hand painted by God! Most Texas Longhorn owners feel the same way.

What is the best? natural? most popular? horn shape for Texas Longhorn?

Texas Longhorns are known for having longer horns than most other cattle.  Some go out, some go up, some turn down, some go in different directions.  For many years, the most popular shape of the horns was the Texas twist.  If you would take a moment to look at Carmen on our Hall of Fame page, you’ll see a set of horns that the color commentator at the sale when she was sold describe her horns as having a perfect Texas twist.  While you’re on that page, look at May.  She has what is called a high twist or a handle bar twist.  For many years, those two have been the most popular horn shapes.  There is a cow called Evita.  She has what James Mitchner in his book on the history of Texas called bathtub horns because it looks like from the way her horns are shaped she could carry an old time bath tub in them.  Some horns like Meshach’s horns go out drop down slightly then turn forward.  These are called Spanish Horns, or fighting horns, or functional horns.  Some old timers say this is the true shape. As the bulls age there horns turn up.  The most popular horn shape today  seems to be the horns that grow straight out with very little or no twist primarily because of the horn measuring contest that we have today.  If you can get the twist and have the longest horns then you really have a valuable animal.  If you compare a cow like May to Carmen, May actually has more total horn than Carmen did.  Lobbying by the fans of the high twist to have the measurement done on total horn not just tip to tip measurement has caused several horn measuring contest to set up a category for total horn also.  Personally, I like them all.  One of the best cows I’ve ever owned, Projestic, the mother of Joshua had black horns.  One went up in a beautiful slightly high twist and the other one curved down. My kids called her one horn up one horn down, My wife called her politician. ( That’s her on the right)

Can you give me a more in-depth history of where the Texas Longhorns originated?  What are the seven families? How long have cattle been in the Texas?

Well, let’s start at the very beginning.  On the sixth day of creation God created cattle according to its kind. Cattle did not evolve from a monkey or a tree or a fish.  God created cattle unique and called them clean animals. Here is something I bet you didn’t know about cattle.  Just before the great flood, the Lord told Noah to build an ark and take the animals, a male and a female of each kind on it.  But, of the clean animals of which cattle were one, he instructed Noah in Genesis 7:2 to take seven of every clean animal.   This was the first time the ancestors of the Texas Longhorns got on a boat.  The next time the ancestors of the Texas Longhorns got on a boat, was with Columbus.  Cattle and horses are not native to the Americas and Columbus brought some from Europe on his second trip. They were probably a mixture of Spanish (European) and Moorish (African) cattle since the Moors from Africa  had occupied most of Spain for 4 centuries. The Moors were driven out in 1491 and left most of their livestock behind. Every place that the Spanish Empire went they brought horses and cattle.  They arrived in Texas in the early to middle 1500’s.  As might be expected some of the cattle got loose and with no fences they just kind of wandered wherever they wanted to.  They adapted to the country and developed into a very hearty breed of cattle with longer than normal horns.  For a while France controlled Texas and probably added some of their cattle to the mix. When settlers from the United States and Europe came to Texas beginning in 1821 and saw these cattle with long horns  that had been roaming the wild for a couple of hundred years, they named them the Texas Longhorn.  Some people even hunted them like they hunted the buffalo except that the Longhorns hid better than the buffalos did.  Most settlers brought their livestock with them and no doubt some English and perhaps German cattle mixed in the wild herds since there were still no fences in Texas. After the Civil War, Texas Longhorns were rounded up and over 10 million of them were driven along trails to the Northeast or Northwest. In Europe and in the eastern United States the cattle were driven by men and on foot, sometimes trained dogs helped. In Texas The Longhorns were rounded up and driven by men on horseback.  They were called Texas Cowboys. (In the 1900’s Hollywood movies dropped the Texas to have wider marketing appeal and they just became known as cowboys. Worldwide they are now known as American Cowboys.)  Almost all of the Texas Longhorns that went to the East where consumed.  The ones that went to the West formed the foundation herds of cattle that we see in the western United States today.  In the 1800’s cattle were also used to produce fat that was rendered into tallow to make candles  because candles were important for light.  Oil and electricity weren’t providing the light as they do today.  People imported the bulls of other breeds from Europe and Asia that were successful in producing more fat on their offspring.  These were bred to the Texas Longhorns and this process almost bred the longhorns out of existence. In 1941 J. Frank Dobie published his book “The Longhorns” in chapter 12 page 214 he documents that some of the 20 cows and 3 bulls that made up the original herd  the United States Government placed at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma had  Brahma (Asian) blood. In the 1960’s when the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association was formed, they recognized 6 ranching families and the government operation that had protected and preserved the most true to type Texas Longhorns.  The families are the Butler, the Marks, the Phillips, the Yates, the Wright, the Peeler, and the government conservation program at the Wichita Refuge (W.R.) in Oklahoma.  They are called the 7 families. Only cattle that could be traced back to having their origins from these ranches were allowed into the original registry.  Today, there are over 300,000 registered Texas Longhorns and there’s probably another 100,000 that aren’t registered. They are a blend of Asian, African, and European Cattle and probably look like the cattle that got off Noah’s ark.  While that seems like a lot, the United States butchers over 80,000 head of cattle each day to satisfy our beef needs. So, if everybody started eating Texas Longhorns, we’ve got about 4-5 day supply!!!

Why are genetics? pedigrees? great ancestors important?

To many people just having Texas Longhorns walking around in their pastures is enough.  To those who want to try to improve something in their cattle looking at the ancestors give you a key as to how you should breed them.  Breeding your cattle to produce something buyers desire is the key to success in this business.  If you’d like to get a little more size on your cattle, there are bulls who are known for adding size to their offspring.  If the horns on your cows are not as long as you would like them to be, there are other bulls that are known for adding horn to their offspring. Some people want cattle that have more correct conformation so the offspring can show well and there are bulls that will do that.  The more animals in the ancestry that have the desirable characteristics, the more likely you are to get the quality you are seeking in the offspring.  For instance, if you are breeding race horses you could take a Kentucky derby winner and breed it to the female offspring of the previous Kentucky derby winner, then take that female offspring and breed it to another Kentucky derby winner until you have the last 10 Kentucky derby winners in the ancestry of your race horse.  When you put that horse in its first race, it may or may not win, but he would most certainly be the betting favorite.  More importantly when you put that animal out to breed, its offspring are more likely to be race horses rather than plow horses.  The same thing is true of Texas Longhorn cattle.  The more quality animals you have in the ancestry, the more likely you are to get superior animals in the production. Selecting a mating that adds additional quality to the offspring  is what a “Breeder” does. Researching the ancestry back 7 to 10  generations tells you what genetics you have and what genetics you don’t have in your Texas Longhorn. Some folks go back 12 to 15  generations. Combined with a visual inspection, knowing your cows genetics  helps you make a more correct mating choice. The Good Lord has blessed us with a breeding program that has put The 11 Greatest Texas Longhorn Herd Sires of All Time in the ancestry of almost every calf we produce today. He didn’t stop with just the 11 Greatest  he also added the horn  genetics of Phenomenon and GF G-Man to most of the calves we produce today.  Each calf makes a wonderful foundation cow for a new or old breeder. The power in their pedigrees makes almost any breeding choice the right one.
Pedigrees also tell you where you may need to go to get something you desire.  For instance, lets  say you purchased a Texas Longhorn cow that has good bone, above average muscling, but is a little short.  Then you look back at the ancestry and saw that her grand sire was King.  King was known for putting bone and muscling on his offspring, but he was a little short.  The known industry mating to get more height on offspring of King is to breed that cow to an offspring of Bail Jumper.  Bail Jumper was tall and long and crossing the King families and the Bail Jumper family works almost every time.  That mating, by the way, was part of our original program.  There are other mating successes others have proven such as taking Overwhelmer or his sons and mating them to offspring of Classic.  This has worked well.  It produced Senator, who was the sire of Meshach.  Another combination that worked well for us was taking Meshach and breeding him to the daughters of Joshua.  Several people who show cattle told us that they had never seen any combination produce as high a percentage of show quality cattle as Meshach offspring from the Joshua daughters.  John and Chicki Mathias purchased 11 daughters of Joshua and Meshach and are continuing this winning combination. In March 2007 when  Meshach was 15 years old one of his one year old daughters out of a Joshua daughter won her class and the Blue Ribbon  at The Houston Livestock Show!  When the good Lord made cattle, he gave man the opportunity to change their offspring within certain limits to something we thought was more desirable.  By the way, if you read your bible, there’s a passage that tells you how to change the color on livestock.  If I ever move out to the ranch, I may try it to see if I can get special designs on the side of my cows.

Are there Registered Texas Longhorn sales? What Sales have You participated in? Where are they and when? Do you like Texas Longhorn Sales? What is the most you have ever sold a Texas Longhorn for and was it at a sale? What is the most you have paid for a Texas Longhorn and was it at a sale? 

The most I have paid for a Texas longhorn was $2900. at The Gathering Sale a registered Texas Longhorn sale at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I like registered Texas Longhorn sales.  They are held all year round all over The United States. In the years we have been in the longhorn business, we have sold  over 500 Texas Longhorns as breeding stock.  More than half of them have been at registered Texas Longhorn sales.  Three out of five of our highest selling cows were sold at registered Texas Longhorn sales and 24 of our 40 highest selling Texas Longhorns were sold at a registered Texas Longhorn sales. In 1994 at The Rodeo Sale at The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo We sold Barbara’s Bail (she is pictured on our hall of Fame Page) for $10,500. Texas Longhorn sales can be fun, exciting, educational, and a lot of people get to see your cows.  Owning Texas Longhorns is a business whether you intend to be in one or not.  You have a factory in your pasture that manufacturers a product each year which needs to be sold.  If you went into a retail business, your realtor would advise you to buy property that is easily accessible, highly visible, with a lot of traffic.  However, the realtor that sold you your ranch told you that it was secluded, out of the way, off the beaten path, and remote.  So, it may not be the ideal place to sell your cattle.  Registered Texas Longhorn sales allow you to present your product to a large audience that may be interested in what you have produced.  Registered Texas Longhorn sales have worked well for us. We have sold cattle at over 30 Registered Texas Longhorn sales from The Blue Ridge Breeders Sale in Mt. Airy, North Carolina to The Rocky Mountain Sale in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and all over Texas including The Red McCombs Fiesta Sale in Johnson City, Texas, The Gathering Sale at The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, The Harvest Moon Sale, The Houston Open, The Legacy of the Texas Longhorn Sale in Brenham Texas, and The Bluebonnet Classic.  When a pen of 3 Meshach daughters out of Joshua daughters (three generations of our breeding) were the highest selling lot at The Rocky Mountain Select Sale in Colorado Springs Colorado in June of 1999  my chest stuck out for about a year.

What is a private treaty sale?  Do you sell private treaty?  Do you sell your cows over the internet?

A private treaty sale is when someone comes to your pasture, you show them your cows, they find some they like, you agree on a price and they buy them.  The advantage of private treaty is the buyer gets to spend more time with the owner of the cow.  A buyer can ask more questions and learn more about the current owners  operation and their breeding program than at a Texas Longhorn sale.  The seller can show the buyer how he works his cows. He can point out things that the buyer should consider, many times new friendships are started. Today we sell more of our cattle today by private treaty, because of the world wide web many people learn about our cows, and breeding program threw our web page and come out to see the them in person. Many people prefer to purchase cattle this way because they can ask questions take time to think before they buy. A new kind of private treaty sale has immerged because of the internet.   People to far away to come to the ranch have seen pictures of our Texas Longhorns on the internet and purchased them with out coming to the ranch. A couple of phone calls and the cows are on the way. 713-869-8019.

What is the biggest problem that people have raising Texas Longhorns?

The biggest problem that we have seen new Texas Longhorn owners have is the failure to sell the cattle that need to be sold.  All Texas Longhorns are attractive and have an interesting personality and every calf that is born is cute.  Families, kids and spouses fall in love with these cute little calves.  They name them and want to make pets out of them and keep them all.  This is fine if you have unlimited pasture land, but if you have a limited amount of property it will not be too long before the cattle will multiply enough to eat all the grass that grows and then some.  When that happens a lot of people start buying hay and feed and feeding the cattle.  This will keep the cattle going but they would still prefer to eat green grass and so they will eat the hay and the grass and your grass gradually recedes.  As your grass gives way to dirt, you’ll have to buy more feed and they are still producing new babies.  Pretty soon it becomes such a chore that people get disgusted and sell all the cows and the ranch.  It is far better to sit down when you purchase your first animals and discuss with the entire family the need to sell MOST of the calves.  God gave us cattle for food. If you don’t eat them, or let someone give you some money so they can eat them, then the coyotes, buzzards worms and flies get to eat them and they stink up your pasture for about 3 months while they are being consumed.  If the whole family understands that in advance, selling cows may still be a little painful but it can be done.  With proper management, you can keep high quality cattle for sale to other breeders, sell the ones that don’t meet your expectations to the local sale barn, keep plenty of grass in the pasture, keep your feed bills down and keep your tax man happy.

What is a breeding? breeder? guarantee?

When you buy registered breeding livestock, you are buying them to raise offspring.  The seller will normally guarantee that the animal they are selling you will produce a live calf in the next 12 months or he will return your money or trade you for another animal.  After she has a calf, the guarantee is over.  If a bull is being sold, usually the seller will pay for YOUR veterinarian to conduct a breeding soundness test which you should have done before you put that bull out with your cows.  If the bull fails the test the seller should return your money or provide you with another bull.  If you buy a cow with a calf at side, that is the proof that she is a breeder an no further guarantee is given.  The guarantee does not extend to the calf she has at side or any unborn calves.  Because Texas longhorns have the highest calving percentages (98%) in the cattle industry, many buyers do not request a written guarantee from the seller but it is probably better to get one.  (The U.S. government guarantees any Texas Longhorn cow under 16 years old to be a breeder when they are sold at their Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Sale in Oklahoma.  Most Texas Longhorn owners will give the same guarantee).

Are there Texas Longhorn Cattle Shows? Do you show your cattle?  What is a fitter? 

Half the fun owning Texas Longhorns is showing them off.  We enjoy doing this when people come to our ranch and we also enjoy taking our cattle to Texas Longhorn shows.  There are many Texas Longhorn Shows. Some like the one at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are independent and is sponsored by the Rodeo. Most are sponsored by the 2 major associations. We show both in the International Texas Longhorn Association shows and the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association shows that are convenient to us.  There are almost 300,000 registered Texas Longhorn cows. Most had calves last year, yet less than 1,000 will ever be shown. When you take an animal to these shows, you are competing against the best the industry has to offer both from professional cattlemen and amateurs.  If a Texas Longhorn finishes in the top half of a class the Breeder is doing a more than outstanding job. All show judges are chosen by the association who sponsored the show, and there is a wide variety of show judges used across the industry.  Our cows have a lot of fun at shows. They get to go for a ride and see other parts of the country.  They get the best feed, a bath, and brushing. Then we get to show them off to other Texas Longhorn owners who are at the show.  We also get to show our Texas Longhorns to people who are in the audience.  The good Lord has blessed us with some great Texas Longhorns that show well in both associations and independent shows.  Even showing against the professionals, our cattle usually finish in  the upper third of a class.  We have been fortunate to have many class winners and several championships. We get as excited as anyone when an astute judge of quality Texas Longhorn Cattle chooses one of our pretty Texas Longhorns as champion and try not to be disappointed at the next show, when a half asleep retired poultry judge overlooks our champion and chooses some else’s cow. There is also a social aspect to showing that sometimes overshadows everything.  At each show you get to meet and talk with different people and learn from their experiences and make new friends.  Most people develop a group of friends that you compete with, help, tease, console, laugh and cut up with.  Sometimes you can be having so much fun with your buddies you can almost forget to show your cow.
Because I live in the city and only get to the ranch on the weekends, I am unable to prepare my cattle for a show and so I hire a professional to do this.  This individual is called a fitter.  A fitter will take the cattle, halter break and train them, feed them, care for them, enter them into the show and transport them to and from the event and show them for us.  If I happen to be at the show and want to lead the cow in the ring myself, our fitter Bob Dube of Round Top Texas, will hand me the rope and let me show it and when the shows over he’ll take the animal back and care for it. Even though I like to attend shows and I like to show cattle I usually  let Bob  show them except at The  Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. My daughters know youngsters that live in the city and don’t own cattle but would like to show a cow.  Usually we’ll let some of the kids that go to my daughter’s school or church show our cattle.  The kids get real excited when they win a belt buckle and will wear it and treasure it for the rest of their life.  For a lot of youngsters that live in the city this is the only contact they have with agriculture and we are happy to provide them the opportunity to be a cow hand.  Bobby does make them clean the stall if they show the cow so its not all glory and no work.

Why is judging so different from one show to the other?  Why do some cows finish last at one show and first at another?  Who selects Texas Longhorn judges for a show and what criteria do they use? Who are the best judges and why? Do judges make a difference in what shows you attend ?

Texas longhorn judges fall into two categories:  those that own Texas Longhorn cattle and those who do not own Texas Longhorn cattle.  At most livestock shows a list of acceptable judges is submitted by the sponsoring cattle association, then livestock show officials will contact and hire the judge from the submitted list. At most large livestock shows, you will usually see judges who do not own Texas Longhorns.  Their judging experience has been primarily judging youth shows and judging other cattle breeds for beef qualities. They do not understand the value of horns so they do not give credit for large horns or take away credit for small horns. Non owner judges do not understand the value of a pretty colored Texas Longhorn, nor do they know what the popular colors are so they ignore color. Non Texas Longhorn owners judge mostly on size. They expect the cattle to be well fed prior to coming to the show and will criticize an animal as being poorly prepared for the show if the cow has not been fed enough to go to slaughter.  They appear to judge the animals based on the amount of beef they have produced, and how well the animal has utilized the feed it was given. These are good shows to evaluate your or your fitter’s feeding program. Cattle that do well at these shows would also do well when sold for slaughter.

The judges most commonly used at other Texas longhorn shows are individuals that own Texas Longhorn cattle.  These judges appreciate horn, color, and correct Texas Longhorn characteristics.  At the few TLBAA shows, where a Texas Longhorn owner is use as a judge they seem to be somewhat influenced by the non owner judges at the major stock shows and have a tendency to pick the better fed cattle, but most do give proper credit for horns, color, and conformation.

At all ITLA shows, the judges are all Texas Longhorn owners. They have attended a judging clinic and apprenticed at least two shows before becoming a judge.  They have also been approved by majority vote of the ITLA Board of Directors. They are sticklers for correct Texas Longhorn conformation.  They really appreciate the horns and the color and have a tendency to criticize cattle that have been overfed.  They prefer to see cattle in almost pasture condition. The ITLA judging  Manuel instructs judges to try to place them like they would sell at a Registered Texas Longhorn sale to other Breeders. Shows judged by Texas Longhorn owners are an excellent way to check out your breeding program, and for novices to learn which Texas Longhorns are more valuable and why.
As you understand the differences between the judges you can see how a good Texas Longhorn might do well at one show and not as well at another. The Good Lord  has blessed us with  Texas

Longhorns with correct conformation, good horn growth, color, and good beef production. They do well before most judges but  I prefer a Texas Longhorn owner as a judge, because they do a better job recognizing Texas Longhorn characteristics. Non Texas Longhorn owner judges often place animals with non Texas Longhorn characteristics  higher than an owner judge would place them. The same is true if you have a Texas Longhorn owner judge a Black Angus Show. When the cattle are close he will look for characteristics he likes in his Texas Longhorns the winners will likely display traits more common to Texas Longhorns than Angus.

Also I feel like I have accomplished more when a knowledgeable Texas Longhorn owner places my cow at the top of the class.  For instance if you are throwing a baseball and Tom Cruise, George Bush  and Lance Armstrong came up to you and said you have the best fast ball we have ever seen then Nolan Ryan came up and said that may not be the best fast ball I’ve ever seen but its close. Who’s compliment carries the most weight.

What is the oldest Texas Longhorn you have?  How long are Texas Longhorns productive? 

Texas Longhorn cows will live and produce calves into their 20’s.  The Witchita Reserve, the government operation that preserves Texas Longhorns in Oklahoma, sell cows that are 15 years old and guarantees them to be breeders. To the left is a picture of my wife’s favorite cow, Hot Snow, she was in the original 10 we purchased.  She was born Jan 17,1985.  She first calved in March of 1987. She gave birth to 17 calves with no twins. She had her 17th  April 19, 2003 at 18 years of age. Interestingly enough, her most valuable calves were her last 5. She loved to be hand fed range cubes by the grand kids.  She passed away in 2006 at age 21. A real rancher would take a old cow the sale barn when she quit calving. She would have sold for $300-$400. Since she was a Texas Longhorn we were able to keep her and enjoy her and let her die a natural death in her favorite pasture without a loss of revenue. Her Scull with her 51″ of horn tip to tip is worth 3-4 times what she would have have brought at the sale barn.

What is your opinion of artificial inseminations?  What is AI’ing?  Do you use AI? Where do you get semen?

First a bull’s semen is collected, frozen and saved for use in cattle at a later time.  Months, years, or even decades later the semen is thawed and inserted into a cow when she is in heat.  She will conceive about 50% of the time.  Many professionals claim a much higher percentage.  We have used AI and it has produced some great cattle for us.  If you will look on our Hall of Fame page, Gigi, Violet and of course, Meshach were all AI calves. It has also produced some calves that went across the scale.  We are not currently AI’ing our cattle because we believe the bulls we are currently using will produce a better calf than bulls we could buy semen on.  Second, bulls in natural service have a higher rate of conception in there cows than technicians doing AI work.
For an individual with a small herd (5 or less) I think it is something that should be strongly considered.  There is semen on many great Texas Longhorn herd sires that is reasonably priced and it may be a good way to get a program started at less cost than buying a good bull.  It is also a good way for someone who has raised or purchased a really high quality cow to breed her to some of the best bulls that the industry has produced without having to buy the bull.  Finally, if you bought a cow that had a calf that you really liked and the sire’s semen was available, it’s certainly a good breeding choice to go back to a mating that has already proven successful. The best and most complete source of Texas Longhorn semen is Darol Dickinson of Dickinson Cattle Company in Barnesville Ohio. He also gives good advice on which bull to breed a cow to.

What is the north south problem with cattle?

There is a belt running along the Gulf Coast that varies from 100 miles to 400 miles inland where the grasses are 98% water.  As you go further north, the grasses might be 97% or 96% water.  While this doesn’t sound like much of a difference, when you look at the difference in nutrition, it is 50% to 100% more nutriments.  Cattle eat enough to keep themselves healthy, to be able to raise good calves, and to breed back to have a calf again next year.  If a cow in a northern area can eat 30 lbs of grass a day and satisfy all her requirements then is moved to an area where she has to eat 60 lbs of grass to get the same nutrition; even if she’s willing to eat 60 lbs of grass a day, she doesn’t have the internal capacity.  Her stomach needs to expand and she needs to learn that she’s not getting as much in nutrients as she was in the northern area.  What happens is that it takes a while for the cow to adjust to living in the less nutritional  environment.  What she’ll do with the nutrients she gets is, first take care of herself, second take care of her calf, and third breed back to have a calf next year.  If she’s not getting enough nutrients to be able to do all three, she’ll give up breeding back to have a calf the next year and she’ll start having calves every 18 months or every 2 years.  In a couple of years, she may adjust to eating more and start calving again every 12 months.  Additionally, the calves that she has in this area even bred to the same bull she was bred to in the north are going to be smaller than the calves that she had in the northern climates.  It is important when buying cattle that were raised in the north to be prepared for this, rather than be disappointed. You didn’t buy a bad cow but you are feeding her less.
With cattle going from southern climates to northern climates, it’s a winter problem.  If a person from the north wants to buy some southern cattle, they should make arrangements to have them delivered in May, June, July, or August, early September at the latest, so that they have a chance to get prepared for much harsher winters than they are used to in the southern climates.   A little extra care should be given to them the first year.  Cattle taken to northern areas from southern areas later in the year may not make it through the winter. One of the features of taking cattle from the south to the north is because the grasses are usually richer and she and the calf are getting more nutrition, the cow produces bigger calves than she produced in the south.

Are politics involved in raising longhorns?

Politics are involved in everything; Texas Longhorns also get involved in politics.  Above is a picture of me presenting a board containing some famous Texas brands to Texas Senator Phil Gramm, as a way of welcoming the 1992 Republican National Convention to Houston.  this convention nominated George H. Bush for president and Dan Quale for vice president.  The branded board was prepared and donated by members of the ITLA Houston Chapter.  Texas Longhorns have been a hit at many political and charitableevents.  Their colorful beauty, long horns, and the romantic Western heritage of which they are a part, make their presence a treat for attendees at both rural and urban events.

How many Texas Longhorn associations? registries? affiliates? are there?  Which one (s) are you a member of and why?

I have been told there are four registries, maybe more, where you can register your Texas Longhorn cattle.  I am a member of two:  The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA) and the International Texas Longhorn Association (ITLA).  I am a member of the TLBAA because they have more shows in our area and they require that you be a member of their association and register show cattle in their association to be able to show at their shows.  Most of  my cattle are registered in the International Texas Longhorn Association because I like their registration forms better. The ITLA registration form allows me to have the name of the person I sold a cow to printed on the front of a new registration certificate  as current owner.  The TLBAA  uses a paste on sticker placed on the back of the original certificate to identify the new owner.  I also like the membership fees in the ITLA. The TLBAA membership costs $100 a year the ITLA costs $65 a year.  The TLBAA  sends out its “Texas Longhorn Trails” magazine 12 times a year while the ITLA only sends their “Longhorn Drover” 6.  The TLBAA was founded in 1964 and has over 3500 members. The ITLA founded in 1991 has over 1500. Both provide about 90% of the same services, and both do a few things that are unique.  Both the ITLA and TLBAA will register cattle from each others papers for an additional fee.  The third largest and newest is the Cattleman’s Texas Longhorn Registry  (CTLR) I am not a member and know little about it. All are worth investigating.  Having more than one place to register your cattle is like living in a town with several  grocery stores, if one doesn’t have a product or service you want, you can try another.

There are about 50 local affiliates nationwide.  They are made up of Texas Longhorn owners in a nearby area who have banded together for joint business, social, and educational events.  Local affiliates do not register cattle. Most local affiliates identify with a National association that does.  Their are a few who are independent and use both. Some (like members) have switched from one to the other as their needs or services have changed. Local affiliates are  the ones who organize and put on most shows, sales, educational seminars, ranch tours, and other eventsclose to you.  I’m a member of the ITLA Houston Chapter and actively participate in its activities.  However, from time to time when I was at another local affiliates event in other parts of the country, I have been known to join those organizations just to be supportive. I am on their membership roles but I don’t actively participate in their events or vote in their elections.

The Matthew Daughters on your web page appear to have exceptional horn growth for their age,  is Matthew throwing a lot of horn? Do you have others that are not pictured? Are you breeding for horn or show cows? 

Matthew is throwing a lot of horn. All of his sons and daughters that we own are pictured on the web page. I try to get pictures as soon after birth as I can and update them whenever possible. You can watch them grow up on our web page. Most of the Matthew sons and daughters owned by others are no longer pictured on our web page. Two of his daughters had  bigger horns when they were purchased than any of their sisters. We are breeding for show quality cows with a lot of horn. We will keep you up dated on the ones we still own and you can follow the exploits of many of the others in the show results published in the Texas Longhorn Journal , The Trails, and The  Drover.   Luke  produced very good horn with his first calf crop. He is breeding most of the daughters of Matthew.  We have high hopes for Tuffliner Guru also and will begin to see his calves in the winter of 2004. I am proud of Matthew and what he is producing but a lot of the credit must be given to his Great ancestors  Texas Ranger JP, Bail Jumper, Overwhelmer, Impressive, Don Quixote, Cowcatcher, Measles Super Ranger, Senator, Classic, Bold Ruler, King, and Phenomenon.  Only he and his offspring have that much power in the pedigree !! Matthew’s sons and daughters are  having a lot of success at the shows and are very correct  but we are getting more comment about the horns.

Do you raise steers?  Why are there no steers on your web page?  What is a steer?

A Texas longhorn steer started out in life as a bull and had its testicles removed by man.  Texas Longhorn steers are the most popular steers in the world.  Many ranches that don’t have any other Texas Longhorn cattle will have a Texas Longhorn steer.  They will protect young calves from predators.  They do remind everybody of Texas and the Texas Longhorn trail drives.  People break them to ride, to pull wagons, and they are dramatically impressive.  A steer doesn’t have anything to do but get big and grow long horns.  Some Texas Longhorns steers have horns over 8 feet long and many weigh over a ton.  As Eddie Wood, the famous Texas Longhorn auctioneer says, “A Texas Longhorn Steer will stop more traffic than a dead man.”  We have never been able to successfully raise a steer because someone always comes along and buys our best steer prospects.  We have a couple of people who will buy little potential steer prospects before we wean them and the oldest I’ve ever got one up is about 18 months old before someone came along and bought it.  So, I don’t have a lot of experience with steers.  They do make great gifts!

What is the biggest  challenge with Texas Longhorns?

Trying to figure out who to breed them to and having the patience to wait for the results.

Do you have any 60″ or 70″horned Texas Longhorns? Have you raised any? At what age do they get to 60″ ? 

We sell most of our Texas Longhorns before age 7. Most don’t  reach 60″ till around 9 or 10. Cina’s Phenomenon the grandmother of Matthew exceeded  60″ at age 7. Her daughter Mandy by King’s Quixote  was 57″ at age 5 when we sold her. We have raised several 60″ + horned Texas Longhorns but they all got there after we sold them. Most are pictured on the hall of fame page. Some of the ones who reached or exceeded 60″ were Mandy, Millie a Kingfisher daughter, Dee a King daughter, Violet a Senator (by A.I.) daughter. The Joshua daughters Keren and Nefertiti are at 59″ and the race is on.  Several of the Matthew daughters out of Meshach daughters have hit 50″ by age 4 so I am sure many will make 60″ and a few 70″+. I think the biggest horned cattle we raise will be the offspring of Luke out of the Matthew daughters and the offspring of Matthew out of the Luke daughters.

I saw an advertisement that said yours was the 2nd best site on the web, Who’s is Best?

A while back a ‘friend’ of mine said,  “… Joe I just saw your web site and its the 2nd best Texas Longhorn web site on the world wide web.” I asked  “Who’s is first?” He answered  “Everybody else!” He laughed, I laughed… then I thought, might be an interesting way to advertise.

What is cloning?  Can you clone cattle?  What is your opinion of cloning?

Cloning is new, different, interesting, and controversial.  It is a way of producing something living from just the genetic material of one living thing.  There are two Bible versus I like to remember when dealing with issues like this.  The first one is Genesis 2:19, “Out of the ground the Lord Our God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them and whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.”  Now, certainly our Intelligent Creator who formed the smallest part of an atom to the entire universe and everything in between and made it all work together in harmony could have thought of more appropriate names for the animals than even the smartest human being.  Instead he brought them to Adam to see what Adam would call them and whatever Adam chose to call the animal, whether it was good, bad, silly, or inappropriate, God let them be that name.  The second verse that helps me understand new things is Deuteronomy 29:29 which reads, “The secret things belong to the Lord Our God but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law.”  The first verse tells me that God intends us to make choices and whether our choices are good, bad, silly, or inappropriate, that’s what we are going to have to live with.  The second verse tells me that things that are revealed to us we are supposed to use in accordance with his law that honors him and protects us.  The atom bomb, ice cream, horseshoes and the ability to clone animals has been revealed to us and we now have a choice about what to do with it, but the choices we make should honor God.  I have never personally cloned an animal.  It is more expensive and more involved than I want to get.  People that have cloned animals have found that they did not get exact duplicates of the animal they cloned.  As the young longhorns that have been cloned are maturing, they are finding that there is a weight difference, a horn length difference and other differences even though they are in the same pasture and eating the same feed.  So, apparently the news media version of creating exact duplicates has not proved out in actual practice. Two of the great joys of raising Texas Longhorns are seeing what you can produce with your breeding choices and watching the youngsters grow into all they can be. If you know what’s coming, it kind of like watching TV reruns.

How do you choose your bulls?  What determines a good bull, great bull? Do you do anything special for young bulls? What’s the best way to evaluate a young bull?

In your calf crop each year you will have a number of males calves.  When you are looking for a bull, you’ll want a certain genetic package so that he can deliver the qualities you’re trying to produce to his offspring.  So, the first thing you look at is his ancestors and what desirable or undesirable characteristics they had that he may pass on.  Then you look at the calf himself.  What you are looking for is a calf that shows the masculinity and power to be a herd sire.  Some bull calves have a neutral or even a feminine look to them but some just say bull all over.    Weaning time is when you make the first decision.  If you think a calf is going to become a herd sire, it is good to give him some extra feed.  You should isolate him and another animal in a small pin and give them free choice feed during that important 6 to 14 months that he is still growing and maturing.  A lot of folks like to take their herd sire prospect to Texas Longhorn shows.  There he is judged against his peers and you get to evaluate him against the best bulls the industry has to offer both from people who raised a herd sire prospect and people who purchased  one.  When you are going to a show to help evaluate your animal, you will want to choose a show that is judged by a Texas Longhorn owner that way you’ll get information from someone who knows what good Texas Longhorn characteristics are and how to evaluate them at that age.  Both associations have shows that have Texas Longhorn owners as a judge.  The NON Texas longhorn owners that judge some TLBAA shows provide little value for education about, or evaluation of, Texas Longhorn characteristics.  They are judging primarily on how well the calf is producing beef.  In many cases winners look more like the kind of cattle the judge owns (Angus, Hereford, Brahman, etc.) than Texas Longhorns.  At a TLBAA Show where a Texas Longhorn Owner is the judge or at any ITLA Show (All ITLA Judges are Texas Longhorn Owners and have attended a Texas Longhorn Judging Clinic) you can get some great 3rd party information about your Herd Sire Prospect.At all of the shows, you’ll get a chance to meet other Texas Longhorns owners.  It is not impolite to ask them to comment on your animal.  Even if they say something that hurts your feelings, it can be educational and its better to learn his flaws before you use him.  At about 14-16 months, you’ll want to put him to work and see if he can produce what you are hoping he can.  In his first breeding season, you may want to limit him to a small number of cows because he is still trying to grow and then expand to larger numbers after age 2.  After a bull has production on the ground, it is more important what the calves look like than what he looks like and you judge the quality of the bull by the calves he produces.  If you like his calves, he is a good bull.  If other folks  buy  his calves for their herd, he is a great bull.

Was that a picture of Matthew displayed at the 2010 Fort Worth Stock Show?

Yes! Sioux Falls, South Dakota artist Robert Hinton displayed the picture he painted of Matthew with GP Carmella, a Meshach Daughter. He told us that of all the pictures he had on display, Matthew was recognized by passer-bys more than any other.   Bob was kind enough to send us a print of the painting for my office wall.

How do you choose the names for your cows? Have you always used Bible verses as names for your Texas Longhorns?

When I named our first calves, I named them after old girlfriends but Debbie didn’t like that idea. Then I named after my children’s school friends but they didn’t like it when I sold the cattle. I then started using Biblical names. Not only did the cattle have names but it was a way to witness and give credit where credit was due. The only ones who had a problem with Biblical names were some show announcers who had trouble pronouncing some of the names like Meshach, Naamah, etc.   In 2003, a good friend of ours from our church passed away. He liked our Texas Longhorns and the pictures on our web site. I wanted to recognize him with one of the animals, but his name was Ray and there were no “Ray”s in the Bible. So I named a young bull after Ray’s favorite Bible verse, Romans 8:28. The bull was good enough to show and when we took him to shows (both ITLA and TLBAA), he won his class at ten out of eleven shows he was in. He also did well in the Championship rounds, winning Jr. Champion several times and Sr. Champion once. It seemed a good idea to use other Bible verses for names and we did. An interesting thing happened when we started naming them out of the Bible- the cattle did better at shows than their mothers and fathers had done when we used more common names. When we started using Bible verses they did even better still!

The extra benefit of using the Bible verses as names is sometimes people who see the name will open the Bible to find out what the verse says and get a blessing! I believe any time you read the Bible you get a Blessing. In addition, years after I’ve named my last Texas Longhorn people doing research on pedigrees will come across those Texas Longhorn cows and bulls named after Bible verses and some will open the Bible to find out what the verse is, and get a blessing also! The Bible verses we chose today are something our preacher has preached about, our Sunday school teacher has taught about, or verses we have read in the Bible.

What is the TLMA (Texas Longhorn Marketing Alliance)?

The TLMA is a private company owned by Texas Longhorn owners dedicated to promoting Texas Longhorn cattle through sales, horn measuring contests, and other events. It owns and publishes the Texas Longhorn Journal, a monthly publication about things happening in the Texas Longhorn industry. It is not a registry. The TLMA is not affiliated with the TLBAA or the ITLA or any other Texas Longhorn association or affiliate, but it invites all to participate in its events. It supports other Texas Longhorn events by publishing their dates and time in their Calendar of Events.

What are a Texas Longhorn’s horns good for?

If you’ll look at the sequence of pictures below you’ll see an answer to that question! The sequence also raises the question- “How does one cow communicate to another that she wants to use her horn for this purpose?