Bryan and Bethany Cloyd never planned to raise Beefmasters, but are now sold on the breed
Bryan and Bethany Cloyd, from El Dorado Springs, Mo., made the switch to Beefmasters in 2014 when they purchased four bred, registered Beefmaster cows. In three years, their seedstock operation, Sulphur Flat Beefmasters, has grown to 28 cows and two bulls. They were recently awarded the 2017 Central States Beefmaster Breeder Association New Breeder of the Year.
“After being around those four, we loved how easy they were. They are so docile and great milkers. I would love to have 100 to 150 someday,” Bryan exclaimed.
Bryan grew up with Angus and Limousin cattle. He always envisioned raising cattle of his own, but the Beefmaster breed was not initially on his radar. This changed when Craig Johnson, a friend, fellow producer and now mentor, convinced Bryan to make the switch.
“I told him it was those floppy ears and loose skin I didn’t like. He always told me you don’t eat the skin; you don’t eat the ears” Bryan said.
Bryan endorses the breed for their docile temperament, fertility, growth, hardiness and excellent milking ability, which are the six essentials of the breed. He values how the heat-tolerant breed will maintain condition during extreme weather conditions, when energy needs are highest.
“The Beefmaster way is that if a cow won’t cycle when she is 12 months old, they want to cull her out. The culling is a very heavy process with Beefmasters,” Bryan said.
When Bryan saw the impressive growth rate of Craig’s Beefmaster calves, he took note and decided to give the breed a chance, a decision he does not regret.
Bryan values a cow with a combination of superior maternal and terminal traits. When he studies the EPDs of potential bulls and heifers he looks at the rib eye area, intra-muscular fat, rib fat, along with the birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight and milk on each animal.
Functional, low-maintenance cattle make it easier for Bryan to balance his operation, full-time job and family. His birth weights average around 68 pounds and his weaning weights are between 600 to 700 pounds.
“I work shift work at 3M so I don’t have time to watch my cows all the time. Being able to have them calve and not worry about it while I am at work is huge,” Bryan said.
Every rewarding endeavor comes with a set of challenges, especially for new producers.
“If you are not second or third generation it is hard to start-up because the market is so crazy. It is hard if you don’t already have a name built up for yourself and capital,” he said.
Bryan is making the most of the land he has by implementing rotational grazing and improving forage quality.
His pastures are a blend of fescue, white and red clover. His 38-acre pasture is split into five paddocks and the cattle are rotated to a new paddock every month. This allows each pasture to rest 90 to 120 days. Bryan is continuously improving the forage quality and density by fertilizing and chemically controlling weeds.
“It takes more nutrients to produce a weed than to produce grass, so I want them all gone,” Bryan laughed.
As a new seedstock producer, Bryan has been working to build the reputation and name of his operation. His goal is for Sulphur Flat Beefmasters to be a respected name in the Beefmaster industry.
“We make sure we have Grade A quality stuff at every sale. We went out and spent the money and got a great baseline so we didn’t start behind the eight ball,” he explained.
Bryan consigns at registered Beefmaster sales and markets his cattle directly off the farm. Most of his private treaty customers connect with him through his Sulphur Flat Beefmaster Facebook page, website or simply by word-of-mouth.
“We have a few repeat customers that are switching over to Beefmasters because they have seen the profitability. They don’t raise registered cattle but they see the profitability in their calves going to the sale barn because they weight more,” Bryan said.
Bryan and Bethany’s ultimate goal is to build a successful Beefmaster operation to pass on to their two sons, Vyron (4) and Liam (1).