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Breeds for Changing Climates

By   /  April 9, 2018  /  3 Comments

Don Ashford thinks about how we should manage our herds in a changing climate. Is it time to switch breeds?

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There is no question that some breeds of cattle fit a particular environment better than do others.
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About the author

My name is Don Ashford and my wife is Betty and we live in Ethel, LA. It would be impossible for me to write a bio about myself without including Betty in it. We have been together since high school. I was in the senior class of 1955 and she was in the class of 1957. Do the math. We have raised cattle since 1959 except for a little time that I spent with Uncle Sam. We have grazed stockers, owned several cow- calf herds and custom grazed cattle for other folks. I worked as a pipefitter for more than 25 years. Until we went into the dairy business in 1977 we were as most people down here part-timers or week-end ranchers. Later after we had learned enough about MIG to talk about it so that it would be understood by others we put together a pasture-walk group to introduce it to our friends and neighbors. We belong to more farm groups then we probably should but we get great joy working with other people. What makes us most proud are our son and daughter, our 5 grandkids and our 7 great-grand kids. It has been a hell of a trip so far, but we are not done yet.


  1. Don Keener says:


    Herding cattle here in West Central Texas in yet another drought. Seems as though I have spent more years working in a drought than not and the sad thing is it isn’t getting any easier. I have gradually worked on transitioning my herd to Brangus genetics for the drought tolerance. However even some within the breed are better than others at handling the heat and minimal grass situations. One thing I would add to your article is, how well will the breed sell and does it effect the price. It makes it difficult when your cattle buyers prefer a black calf and penalize others.

    • Don Ashford says:

      Don, Over the 50 plus years that I have been in this business I have never had animals that I could not sell at a profit because I never was to concerned with the market but about my cost of production. It is a fact I believe that very few cows die of old age in the US. The secret if there is one to be profitable is to keep production as low as possible.

      • Don Keener says:

        I agree with managing your costs, its been years since I haven’t made a profit. But, I do believe in doing everything I can to maximize my profits which includes giving the market the animals that bring the highest prices. Much of the pre-conditioning I do prepares the animals for the premium sales which does just that. When I obtain the high dollar point for my calves weight class and spent the least amount possible to get there, I know I have done the best I could have done. Best of luck to you in your operation.

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