Disposition, efficiency and disease resistance keep Ken and Charla Myers’ Herefords in high demand

Ken and Charla Myers live southeast of Siloam Springs, Ark., where Ken is a full-time farmer and Charla an elementary education and ESL teacher in Fayetteville, Ark., with 29 years of experience behind her. The couple lives on 120 acres and farms another 80 acres of Ken’s grandmother’s estate. They run two cattle herds, a commercial herd of 33 Black Baldie and Charolais/Angus mommas and a 50 plus registered momma Hereford herd.
Ken’s life has been diverse with a wide variety of experiences. When Ken entered college, he planned on being a vet until he met college chemistry and decided to switch to agbusiness. After he graduated, he worked for an area farmer who also had a nursery and garden center and gained experience and knowledge both on the farm and in the nursery. Then he worked for a registered Hereford ranch building upon his knowledge from growing up on a registered polled Hereford operation. He also worked at a vet clinic for four years as well as for the Benton County Sale Barn on sale days where he still answers the phone, sets up hauling and pushes cows to sell. Finally, he raised broilers for 15 years and milked cows for 10 years. He sold the dairy in 2000 because he lost the hired hands for the chicken houses and milk prices were low. Ken said, “It was a good time for me to get out.” Last May he shut down the broiler operation when offered a buyout so he could concentrate on raising registered Hereford bulls for commercial breeders.
Charla has also lived around livestock all of her life and knew Ken since childhood because their families have been neighbors and friends for five generations. Charla was an only child and, according to her, she “had to be the boy too.”
In addition to working off the farm, Charla is an integral part of the operation. The couple take time for daily discussions where they make decisions and build plans together. They attend auctions where they make buying decisions based on good bloodlines and cows with proven milking genetics. When purchasing, they prefer ET calves and cows. Charla said, “Any cow flushed for eggs must be a good cow and therefore an excellent donor.”
Raising a registered Herford herd makes sense to Ken. He clarified, “With so many black cows in the business, Hereford’s are in demand because of their disposition, efficiency and disease resistance. We strive to produce the ‘in-demand’ black Baldie calf.” For the last four years Ken has used a pink eye ear implant with a slow release formula that has proven to be very successful. In order to produce better breeders, bull calves are worked once before weaning at 500 to 550 pounds during which time they have been developed on grass. Once weaned they are gradually introduced to a 16 percent commercial feed maxing out at 6 pounds per bull calf per day in order to promote leaner, better breeders with semen checks of 90 percent to 95 percent. They also receive another round of shots and dewormer before being sold at 13 to 14 months old. Ken explained, “Because I raise leaner bull calves, they hold up after being sold and put to work.” Heifers are sold shortly after weaning or kept as replacement stock.
While Ken used performance testing in the past, the process is not as necessary for their current market. Rather, his current method for advertising is using Craigslist.
Another important aspect of his farming routine is changing pastures regularly thereby decreasing the need for as much fertilizer. Fertilizer cost is a more pressing issue now that he is no longer raising chickens so he anticipates switching to a commercial fertilizer.
Charla looked fondly at Ken and said, “I like everything about our country life but the best part is that Ken and I can be together, make decisions together and work with nature and what the Lord has given us. We have been fortunate, have made excellent contacts and are growing our Hereford operation.”


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