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The common rap on Bos indicus is they can’t grade, but Pine Ridge Ranch claims its cross not only provides heat tolerance but provides tender carcasses at 85% Choice, with no Yield Grade 4s and 5s.
It’s a typical East Texas summer day – about 110° and sticky. But you won’t see any of Bill Travis’ cattle standing in a stock tank to cool off. His Bos indicus cross is built for heat. And their quality tops 80% Choice.
Travis and his wife Jane have been in the Simbrah breeding business since 1981. Their Athens, TX, operation, the Pine Ridge Ranch, takes advantage of the breed’s ability to perform in heat. Its some 1,400 acres of rolling hills pasture and timber provide a combination of native and cool-season grasses sown for year ’round grazing, with some hay supplementation in winter.
“The specs we wrote in 1981 are still accurate,” Travis says. “Our original goal was to produce a 1,200-lb. steer at 12 months of age. Now, we push for a 1,300- to 1,400-lb. steer in 14-16 months, without the use of growth promotants, because our cattle marble later. Our goal is to obtain 65% red meat and a tender carcass.”
The Travises’ seedstock program grew out of their determination to develop an animal ideal for warm weather. “About 65% of the world’s grazing areas are located within high-temperature regions,” Travis says. “We produce cattle that are environmentally bred to thrive in hot-weather grasslands that cover most of the world’s major beef-producing areas. In hot areas of the world, virtually every animal in nature has a dark hide. Reddish color hair is predominant, except for the Bos indicus and the zebra.”
After a decade of commercial ranching with various crosses, the Travises set their sights on Simbrah and haven’t looked back. To qualify as a purebred Simbrah, the animal must be 5/8 Simmental and 3/8 Brahman.
“To help produce a growthy calf, we use Fleckvieh Simmental bulls bred to Simbrah cows, which have good bags and udders to promote good milking,” Travis says. “Calves have good heat tolerance, longevity and benefit from heterosis.”