Market flexibility: CJR Ranches of Wyoming
Bud Christensen has probably retained ownership of more cattle over the years than just about anyone in the cattle business.
Christensen, who owns and operates CJR ranches in Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska, runs about 3,500 head of mother cows. Most of them are Salers and Salers-cross. Christensen says they are ideally suited for cow-calf production, efficient feedlot gains and producing high-quality carcasses.
“Salers are dual purpose,” he says. “They make the whole spectrum work from calving to carcass. Our cows calve on their own and come in with a calf at branding time. Salers offer more pounds at weaning relative to their low birth weights and calving ease. More importantly, I’ll be damned if I’m going to turn out a bull whose daughters I can’t keep.”
Most of the CJR cattle are fed in Nebraska, where Christensen has access to good feed and strong competition from packers. He markets fed steers and heifers throughout the year to most of the major packers as well as to many natural beef companies – and has gathered extensive carcass data on just about every lot he’s sold..
His cattle normally grade 65% to 70% Choice and are generally Yield Grades 1s and 2s,”
“With Salers, we’re able to raise an excellent steer and still breed a tremendous cow herd,” Bud says. “Our Salers are more problem-free than any other cow in the business. We have tried other breeds, but when you get down to profitability, we haven’t found anything that will top Salers. The cattle perform in the feedlot. There have been plenty of hills and valleys in the feeding business the last 15 years, but Salers have made most of them a profitable experience.”