Rob and Anita Dalton work to produce high-quality cattle with solid genetics
Just across the Taney County line, outside of Ava, Mo., Rob and Anita Dalton are raising 120 Brangus and crossbred cow/calf pairs, including 30 registered Brangus, on approximately 500 acres.
A retired electric cooperative staking engineer, Rob is happy these days to be spending his time at home on the ranch.
“With the Brangus, you get the best of both worlds,” Rob said. “We’ve got the heat tolerance of Brahman and the good mothering and hardiness of the Angus. That makes for a really good animal and that good breeding is what we’re after.
“From the sale barn to the show ring, we want to produce the very best cattle we can. If the commercial cattle market suffers, you can bet it is going to affect the registered purebred side as well so we’ve got to be concerned with all of it.”
Dalton Brangus develops and sells five to 10 bulls annually through private treaty, as well as semen.
“We semen test all our bulls before they go out,” Rob said. “I sold a young bull, just weaned, a couple of years ago and I cautioned him that (the bull) was too young to test, so I was concerned. He was so pleased with that bull that he came back to by another one, one a little older this time.”
The Daltons are now looking to expand their customer base.
“We have 23 heifers right now and we haven’t sold heifers up to this point, but we are looking to start marketing heifers in the near future,” Rob explained.
Genetics are key for the Daltons, and only the best make the cut.
“We do a lot of AI and embryo transfer and we strive to produce good genetics,” Rob said. “If they don’t meet our genetic standards, then we don’t want them out there. We’ve been told we cull hard, too hard sometimes in that we castrate a lot of good cattle. Maybe, but I’ve never had a bad report come back from anybody either that what we sold them wasn’t what it should be. And I want to keep it that way.”
Nutrition and animal health are also important factors for a quality herd.
“We feed our own custom ration for the bulls that we get from Main Street Feed in Republic, Mo., and a different one for the heifers,” Rob explained. “We do all of our own vaccinations and we have a pretty expensive vaccination program at the recommendation of our veterinarian. You have to go the extra distance with the vaccines these days since so many cattle have been moved around the country with the drought in some places.”
Future plans at Dalton Brangus include building a show barn, which would also provide an updated venue for their AI and other breeding activities.
Rob and Anita were raised around cattle and love the life it provides. Their three sons live close by and the family is now helping to teach the next generation the joys of all things cattle, especially the show ring.
The Daltons have participated in shows from Oklahoma City to West Monroe and Shreveport, La., Phoenix, Houston, Springfield, Mo., and the Missouri State Fair.
“We have Zeke (7) and Creed (5), Gracye (6) and Brayle (5), as well as Truett, who is just a year old and Emmy who is 8 months,” Anita said. “With these little ones, we will be back in the show ring this next year. If we are working on a show, you can bet these kids are right in there with us.”
The Daltons also participate in the Ozarks Fall Farm Fest each year, which serves as a marketing tool for their cattle.
With a solid history of commercial and registered Brangus behind them and a future bolstered by the next coming generation, it’s a safe bet that through retired from one vocation, Rob and Anita’s future in Southwest Missouri’s Brangus cattle industry has a bright future.