Cattle

White Oak Ranch: Texas-Tested Cattle Nutrition

Management : Cow & Calf

Management : Weaned Calf

Nutrition : Supplements

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White Oak Ranch is based in Alto, Texas. Owner Freddie Wallace and ranch manager Dustin Kennedy established a cattle nutrition program that works hard in the tough East Texas environment.

Dustin is strapped for time. He manages 800 Beefmaster cows and is building a horse program that consists of about 20 American Quarter Horse mares.

Typically, Dustin spends more time working horses than cattle. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to manage the Beefmaster cows and a comprehensive preconditioning cattle program.

To get the job done, Dustin finds ways to save time, and one of those ways is through cattle nutrition.

A fresh perspective

Dustin worked for a bull stud before he started at White Oak Ranch. That’s where he met Doug Hawkins, Ph.D. and field consultant, who introduced him to Purina® products.

“Through Doug, I learned that Purina® products were consistent and easy to manage,” says Dustin. “I never spent time worrying about the cattle nutrition program because it delivered consistent results.”

When he arrived at White Oak Ranch in 2013, he saw an opportunity to refresh the cattle nutrition program.

Preconditioning cattle pays off

They first introduced Purina® Precon® Complete feed to their preconditioning cattle program.

As with most cow/calf operations, selling calves is the main source of income for White Oak Ranch. They invest a lot in their preconditioning cattle program and expect it pay off.

Calves are weaned and processed every June. For 45 days afterward, calves are on a preconditioning cattle program with Precon® Complete and Accuration® Cattle Limiters.

“On our preconditioning cattle program, steers will gain around 3 pounds per day and heifers will gain around 2.5 pounds per day,” Dustin says. “We’ve only lost four calves in the last five years.”

Their preconditioning cattle program produces healthy calves, which means Dustin spends less time treating sick calves. A uniform, healthy calf crop allowed White Oak Ranch to build a relationship with a feedyard. In return, they don’t spend as much time marketing calves.

“We can market calves before we even put them on feed,” says Dustin. “The same feedyard has contracted our calves three years in a row. They know that when calves leave here, they’ll be in good health and they’ll perform.”

White Oak Ranch Beefmaster cattle surround a liquid feed tank on green pasture.Time is money

Next, White Oak Ranch refreshed cow nutrition. Beefmaster cows have had year-round access to Purina® Wind and Rain® All Season mineral and Accuration® Hi-Fat Liquid supplement.

Accuration® Hi-Fat Liquid supplement has been a lifesaver for Dustin. In addition to the optimal weaning weights and conception rates, it’s saved him valuable time that he can devote to the ranch’s program.

“When we fed cubes, I spent half a day in a feed truck three times per week. Since we started using the Accuration® Hi-Fat Liquid supplement, I can fill up liquid feed tanks once a week. Then, I have the rest of the week to ride colts.”

Programmed for performance

Dustin attributes reduced prolapses and optimized conception rates to White Oak Ranch’s year-round cattle nutrition program.

“Beefmaster cows are known to have prolapses,” Dustin says. “We’ve seen a decrease in prolapses, only about three or four a year. And, our conception rates optimized to about 91-92%.”

The year-round cattle nutrition program supports the ranch’s breeding program and helps Beefmaster cows weather the challenging East Texas environment. During the summer, it’s hot, humid and dry, and forages often drop to 5% protein or less. With 24/7 access to Accuration® Hi-Fat Liquid supplement, cows can consume the nutrition they need despite changing forage quality and quantity.

Dustin noticed that cows don’t have to compete to consume supplement. Because they have 24/7 access to the liquid feeders, more timid cows can visit them when they’re not crowded. In addition, constant access to a high-quality supplement has helped cows maintain condition.

“I believe our overall cowherd keeps better body condition scores and are in better health than before,” Dustin says. “And that could help us get another one or two calves from a cow before she leaves the herd.”

Rooted in family

Both Freddie and Dustin are rooted in family. The more profitable and efficient White Oak Ranch is, the more family time they both have.

“Our goal is to raise more calves and have bigger calves to sell,” says Dustin. “It gives us the flexibility to spend more time doing what we love, like building our horse program and raising our families.”

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