Cable Ridge Farms is making the transition to registered cattle

Nestled in the rolling hills of western Camden County, between Edwards and Climax Springs, Mo., Ken and Sheila Hicks are raising registered Gelbvieh cattle on their Cable Ridge Farm.

They currently have 40 momma cows on 300 acres, along with 25 commercial cows.

“We are fairly new at raising registered cattle,” Ken said while seated with his wife in their home that once belonged to her parents, Leon and Oryne Lungenbeel, who also raised beef cattle.

They couple are no strangers to the cattle business, but they have only recently went to registered stock.

“We’ve only been raising registered Gelbviehs for about two years, but we have been so impressed with the Gelbviehs. They are such a gentle breed; it’s just good to be around them,” Ken said. “We got three of the Gelbviehs from some good friends and while we hadn’t intended to go with all registered cattle, we’ve found they make it well worth it.”

In addition to the cattle, Ken works as a grain dealer and Sheila is retired from the Missouri Division of Social Services.

“The cattle are Sheila’s little retirement project,” Ken said with a grin.

“I do really enjoy them,” she commented. “I do a lot of research about the individual blood lines before we buy any new animals. We match the AI sires to the females, making sure we have the right genetics, the right EPDs so that what we raise and sell will help others improve their herds.”

The Hicks follow up their AI program with a clean up bull. They strive to have a tight, six-week calving season. Females are preg checked 60 to 120 days after breeding.

“I like to go with proven bloodlines. The bulls we pick as AI sires are older, well-established, proven bulls. With the young ones, sometimes things don’t turn out the way everyone hopes,” Ken continued. “We have primarily red Gelbviehs and that’s what we intend to continue with in the future, getting away from the commercial cattle.”

“Kenny has the good eye when we get to the sales and start looking them over. We sell Gelbvieh and Balancer-crossbred seedstock,” Sheila said. “With that, we know we can expect good birth weights and big gains. I research their maternal side before we buy so we can look for best traits to pass on.”

Ken and Sheila have a rotational grazing system, with 10, 20-acre paddocks.

“We have worked to improve our facilities this past year, including keeping expectant cows in one paddock and then switching them over to the next one, once they’ve delivered,” Sheila said. It’s really worked well in that we came through this cold winter and didn’t lose any calves.”

Cattle are offered a mineral supplement year round that is designed to meet their mineral and vitamin requirements as well as combat any fescue-related issues.

“We’ve also started using the new EID tags, electronic identification ear tags. We are doing our best to stay updated. We don’t want to sell any animals that we wouldn’t want to buy ourselves,” Ken concluded.

The Hicks live and work on their farm in Camden County but also own another farm in the Cross Timbers area which they use to develop bulls. Bulls are trich and semen tested at 13 to 14 months before they are put on the market.


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