Branganmere Cattle Company has incorporated Gelbvieh genetics in their registered herd
Aaron and Regina Pennington own and operate a farm in Webster County, near Marshfield, Mo. Regina’s grandfather was Bob Brangan and the name of his farm was Branganmere Angus Farm. He was still living when Aaron and Regina married in 1992. After he passed away, they decided to keep the name.
“I married into the cattle. We had Angus for many years. We started cross-breeding with the Gelbvieh five or six years ago,” Aaron said. “That is how you get Balancers.”
When they started with the Gelbvieh, the Penningtons decided they couldn’t use the “Angus” part of the name for the farm. Aaron said, “We went to Branganmere Cattle Company in honor of Bob.”
The decision to try another breed came after they had a “few issues with some of our Angus, but not all,” Aaron said. “They wouldn’t re-breed like they should. So we were looking for something that would help with the maternal side. We started looking at cross-breeding. Actually, my brother-in-law started the whole thing. He bought 10 straws of semen. That first year he had it, I think I bred two or three cows to the Gelbvieh bull and ended up with one heifer out of the bunch. That was our first Balancer. We liked the way she looked and the way she grew.” She is still in Aaron’s pasture today.
“We ended up buying some Gelbvieh cows, so we have a mix right now,” Aaron said.
Disposition is an important factor to Aaron and Regina, and they have found the Gelbvieh cattle to have a great disposition. He also likes the maternal characteristics of the Gelbvieh cattle.
“They milk well. They don’t have to carry as much body condition. They seem to be more fertile and just reproduce better,” Aaron said.
Aaron refers to their farm as a “small seed stock operation.”
“Everything we have is registered; either registered Gelbvieh or registered Angus. The Balancers are registered through the Gelbvieh Association. They have to be 100 percent Angus to be registered with the Angus Association. The Gelbvieh Association registers in percentages. So you can have Balancers.”
As members of the Heart of America Gelbvieh Association, they consign some cattle to their sale in the fall.
“We try to sell some replacement bulls just to individuals. We’ve done that for years,” Aaron said. “The big farms have hurt the individual bull sales. We used to have a lot more bull sales than we have now. But these big bull sales, where they sell 300 to 500 head of bulls at a time have affected the smaller operator a lot.”
He typically retains heifers for his own breeding program.
A big focus at Branganmere Cattle Company is calving ease.
“One of the things when I breed the cattle, is to keep the birth weights down. We like the calves to be around 70 to 75 pounds when they arrive,” Aaron explained.
Branganmere Cattle Company calves in the fall.
“We synchronize all of our cows and heifers when we breed AI,” Aaron said. “Our calving window is usually about 45 days. We’ll start about the end of August and finish up the first part of October.”
Aaron believes the greatest asset to raising beef cattle is always having a freezer full of meat and knowing where it came from.
“We know how we raise them. We don’t use any kind of steroids or things like that,” he said.