The basis of our breeding program is to develop the maternal characteristics of the cow herd, producing cattle with a well balanced blend of milk production and moderate frame size without compromising yield and grade.
The Padlock began a crossbreeding program in the late 1950’s by crossing Angus bulls to Hereford cows. Since the early 1970’s our focus has been on producing British crossbred females with high-level maternal characteristics. In the late 1970’s Shorthorn bulls were imported from Canada and the ranch developed a Red Angus, Polled Hereford and Shorthorn three-way rotational crossbreeding system.
The ranch is currently involved in a composite breeding program. Composite breeding has eliminated the need to manage the three herds necessary for the crossbreeding system. Composite breeding allows us to maintain the level of heterosis needed for cattle to thrive in our harsh environment.
The ranch is establishing a herd where the composition will be 3/4 British and 1/4 Continental. Leachman Stabilizer, Nine Iron’s composites and Padlock Composite bulls are used in the bull battery. We are now using both black and red bulls. We are using bulls with good carcass traits that are no larger than frame score 5.5.
All the calves are weaned in our feedlot. Heifer calves are weaned, backgrounded on high roughage rations. The heifers are tested for gain and scored for frame size, muscling and then sorted into phenotypic groups. The heifer groups are then artificially inseminated, summered on native range and pregnancy checked in the fall.
Since 1996, we have range calved our first calf heifers rather than use calving sheds. The heifers are bred to small frame bulls and are bred to calve the first week of April. Late calving allows the ranch to match the cow’s nutritional needs with the onset of the growing season. We believe that range calving produces better mothers.