Barzona Bulletin spring 2019

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Spring 2019

Barzona Bulletin A Publication of the Barzona Breeders Association of America H ello to all Barzona breeders and all those considering Barzona cattle to enhance your herd’s genetics. This newsletter rep- By Dodd Carmichael, Wild N Grazy Farm, BBAA President

If you’d prefer to receive the Barzona Bulletin by email, please contact Alecia Heinz at (614) 745-9170 or barzonabreeders@

Let me encourage the Barzona breed- ers to continue to focus on building a breed designed for the enjoyment and enrichment of its owners. Let’s use all the technology and knowledge available to enhance and refine our cattle to meet the needs of the cattleman (and cattlewom- an). Continue cooperating with Barzona breeders all across the country to share the best of your genetics and theirs. As Alvin Havens suggested at the an- nual meeting, sell some of the best of your cattle to those who want to become a part of our organization. Let’s focus on expanding the size of the pie instead of protecting the piece that we have. An expansive view of our breed and our pur- pose will benefit us all. Let the Barzona be the “no brag, just fact” breed – un- der-promise and over-deliver. In other news, the 2019 BBAA Annual Meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 8-10 in Spray, Ore. Barzona breeder Garey Fischer and his family will be hosting the meeting. The base of the Fischers’ herd is from the West, but they have spent con- siderable time and money to incorporate some of the best Barzona genetics from throughout the United States. This is a great example for all of us, and I really look forward to seeing this outstanding herd of cattle. I hope to see you there. BB

resents our initial efforts to improve our communications with all of you. At our annual meeting in Iowa, our organiza- tion voted to contract BluePrint Media to conduct our communications and mar- keting efforts. In addition to publishing our newsletter, BluePrint Media will be designing and operating our website and social media platforms. We believe Barzona breeders have built and refined a breed of cattle that provides a genetic base that has much to offer the industry. By unifying our mar- keting in the hands of this professional organization, we hope to be able to un- cover the value of the Barzona breed for those who have not yet experienced the utility of these fine cattle. From the origin of the breed in the high desert region of Arizona to present, the focus of the breeders has been functional efficiency – the economic characteristic to which the cattle industry has begun to return. That means fewer inputs, less stress and more enjoyment for the own- er, all which is inherent in Barzona’s DNA. We believe BluePrint Media will help us get the word out! A special thanks goes to the Havens family and Nancy Bard Nunn for making a substantial monetary contribution to jump start our new promotional efforts. I also want to thank Raymond Boykin for the excellent work he’s done with our newsletter for the past few years. We also appreciate the wonderful articles that Chip Hines has written for us. We hope to continue receiving the valuable services that both have provided, but this will relieve the load that they have carried for us. Alecia Heinz will continue to serve as our executive secretary, carrying out our registration and administration func- tions.

Attendees at the 2018 BBAA Annual Meeting.

The Natural Cow – Why We Need Her

By Chip Hines A griculture – both farming and ranching – is facing an upheav- al of the status quo and replac- ing it with lessons learned from nature that brought us to this point. The emphasis on soil health is a vital issue fac- ing agriculture in this country and around the world. Man now has the knowledge to begin regenerating soil health even as more is learned about the process from our successes, failures and ongoing re- search joined with producers willing to apply their private initiative. Ignorance caused the destruction of soil health and made the cow depen- dent on her master. The cow became a target of assumptions based on “big- ger is better” with little practical expe- rience backing the claim. Since the cow is an integral part of regenerating grasslands, she should be of a type that fully complements the program instead of a cow raised in artificial environments. The natural cow will fill that purpose. What is a Natural Cow? A natural cow is one that can survive on a ranch’s existing forage with minimal hay and supplementation, and still main- tain a reasonable breed up. She is a cow that is nearly labor free. A cow that, when combined with proper management, has a yearly cost well below the industry av- erage. How can this be? By fully under- standing the DNA she carries and using it to its full advantage. In the wild, cows were refined by nat- ural selection. Like all wild animals, their only purpose was to survive and repro- duce (unless being prey for a predator is added). Her total DNA package was ded- icated to those two items. Nothing else.

Her DNA was set for light birth weights to ensure both she and her offspring made it through the birthing process. She had low milk production that did not infringe on energy requirements to build fat reserves for breed back. This cow was knowledgeable at selecting a diversity of forages that contained the nutrients and minerals essential for survival. Cattle have sensors in the rumen that detect whether consumed plants contain certain amounts of protein and ener-

natural cow has a DNA base for disease and parasite resistance. High-cost farms and ranches have giv- en their cowherds the best of everything – grass, hay, supplements, minerals etc. This created a cow dependent on a care- taker and one that lived in an artificial environment instead of a natural world. This was compounded by the perfor- mance-era theory that bigger is better. In the seedstock industry, ever larger numbers became the purpose of proving an animal’s worth to the commercial producer. For decades, producers were en- couraged to breed for larger wean- ing weights and carcass qualities. It was an assumption that, since calves were sold by weight, bigger calves would be more profitable. However, as calf weights increase, the profit per pound decreases. Weight-price slide is always present, occasionally severe, and must be part of manage- ment planning. In 1979, 500-pound calves were only bringing about $10 a head more than 400 pounders. What did it cost to put on the extra 100 pounds? The natural cow (1,000-1,100 pounds, low milk production) can produce a 400- to 450-pound calf that sells at or near the top of the price range before the down- ward price slide kicks in. The natural cow is what now would be called a “self-starter.” In other words, “let a cow be a cow!” She knows her job well. Stand back and let her show you. Her yearly cost, with corresponding grazing management, will be dramatically lower than the high-maintenance, dependent cow through lower hay and supplement needs, less labor, improved breed back and fewer parasite chemicals. BB

gy, and indicate palatability. If there is a large selection of forage plants to choose from, the animal can balance out the pro- tein and energy to keep the rumen func- tioning efficiently. Cows also eat some toxic plants, which also are nutritious and may be tap-rooted to bring up minerals from a deeper source for the secondary compounds their systems require for self-medication. If there are sufficient non-toxic plants to mix in with the toxic, the animal is safe. A natural cow has the proper skeletal structure for calving, walking long dis- tances to water and, when attacked, to escape predators. She is a cow that can make it through extended droughts. A

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The Principles of Pasture Diversity

By Allen R. Williams, Ph.D., Founding Partner, Grass Fed Insights, LLC

W hat is the principle of diver- sity? In my experience in working with several thou- sand farmers and ranchers across a wide variety of environments and landscapes, I have found that plant species complexity and diversity are criti- cal to building positive compounding and cascading benefits. In that regard, I have concluded that all pastures or rangeland need to have the three primary plant classes represented – grasses, legumes and forbs (broadleaves). Additionally, it is desirable to have a number of species of each of the three primary plant classes. Microbial Species Array There are a number of reasons for wanting multiple species of each of the three plant classes in our pastures. First, each plant class, and even individual plant species, attract different arrays of micro- bial species. If we have monoculture or near monoculture pastures, then we limit the microbial species that can be present and active in our soils. Complexity and diversity in plant spe- cies results in complexity and diversity in soil microbial species, and significantly increases total soil microbial biomass. We have to remember that most soil mi- crobes live and thrive in the root zone. Greater plant species complexity and diversity results in greater root diversity – root depth, root mass, root exudates. This fuels the underground livestock soil microbes. Secondary and Tertiary Compounds Greater complexity and diversity in plant species results in greater numbers

of plant secondary and tertiary chemical compounds. These are a host of nutritive compounds produced by plants that are often ignored by conventional science. We all know the primary nutritive com- pounds that comprise a typical forage analysis. These include crude protein, to- tal digestible nutrients, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber and mineral profile. However, there are hundreds of other compounds present in plants that have a profound impact on animal health, plant health and human health. These secondary and tertiary compounds help plants protect themselves from disease and pests, feed an array of soil microbes, produce medicinal and anti-parasitic benefits in livestock, and provide human health benefits. In Fred Provenza’s, Ph.D., F oraging Be- havior: Managing to Survive in a World of Change , he details the impact of why encouraging rich plant species diversity results in significantly better animal per- formance and health. His research has shown that livestock grazing pastures with few plant species perform far below that of livestock grazing diverse pastures. He notes that nature constantly alters the nutritive value of specific plants, result- ing in shifts in the quantity of available energy, protein, minerals, and secondary and tertiary compounds. Livestock have to deal with these shifts by recognizing the nutritional defi- cits in their bodies and in the plants they eat. If livestock are relegated to monocul- ture or near monoculture pastures, then they have no way to balance their own diet and correct these deficiencies. We must consider that animals are individuals, just as humans are. There-

fore, the common “scientific” approach to livestock nutrition of treating all ani- mals within a herd or flock as needing the same nutrition each day is simply erro- neous. We have animals at very different stages of growth, lactation, gestation, age, sex, etc. Their daily nutritional needs are going to vary widely. Monoculture or near monoculture pastures do not allow them to select what they need to satis- fy their distinct nutritional and medicinal needs. Insects and Birds Galore Another benefit we see from the prin- ciple of diversity, and corresponding plant species diversity and complexity, is the return of a wide array of insect species, earthworms, spiders and pollinators. The vast majority of these insects are benefi- cial and not pests. They are kept in check by spiders, birds and other predators. Insects are a direct indicator of the status of soil health. These insects and other macro-organisms do a tremendous job of starting the plant litter degradation process required to turn it into new soil. They are also important to a thriving eco- system. More insects attract more pred- ators in the form of spiders, birds and other species. Extended Grazing Increased plant species diversity also creates a natural extension to the grazing season. One major drawback with mono- culture or near monoculture pastures is that we have a definitive peak growing season, with only highly vegetative pro- duction on the front end and reproduc- tive stage growth on the back end. The

Continued on page 5 ›

Golden H Farm Barzona: The breed for busy people These cows take care of themselves!

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Breeding Stock Available

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Alvin & Karen Havens 2429 Orange Ave. Greenfield, IA 50849


From Our Association Secretary

By Alecia Havens, Golden H Farms I think we can all agree it has been one long, nasty winter. Thank goodness it is almost over. Turning over a new leaf this spring, the Barzona Breeders Association of America (BBAA) is doing a big membership and participation drive! Keep in mind, for anyone and everyone, cattle or no cattle, an Associate Membership is only $20. This is of great importance to the as- sociation, not only to help with funding and maintaining a con- tact list, but also to help keep track of where Barzona cattle are active, even crossbreds. Our numbers have steadily decreased over the last 20 years, with herds being dispersed and no new breeders stepping in to help fill the gaps. Don’t forget that with the Breed Up Program,

F1 crosses are registerable! If you have Barzonas but they have never been registered with the BBAA, we will accept a DNA test for parent verification and be able to grant papers to those with- out pedigrees and build back our registry! With regard to DNA testing and genetic evaluation, Neogen GeneSeek® is able to give scores on your cattle that are similar to expected progeny differences (EPDs), but more standardized across all herds and breeds. This is a great benefit to those of you selling seedstock to customers and when choosing replace- ments for yourselves. The Havens family has been using Igeni- ty® Beef results for customer use and comparing them to other breeds. Bard Cattle Co., has been using Igenity’s Parentage Ver- ification to help identify calves in MRS herds. Breeding season will be here before you know it, and to those of you in the market for bulls, there are yearling and breed- ing-age bulls available in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Or- egon, Texas, Iowa and Alabama. Several of those have semen available, including Golden H Farms and Bard Cattle Co. (please see their ads in this issue on pages 3 and 4). If anyone is looking for replacement females, they’re available in Arizona, Iowa and Alabama. There may be more, so don’t be afraid to call your breeders! Please don’t hesitate to call me with sale animals, questions or for membership information. You’re welcome to shoot an email if that is more convenient. I am here to help our members and customers! BB

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Pasture Diversity Continued from page 3

period of peak production for any one plant species is limited. However, with a rich array of plant species present, these peak periods of production are spread over an extended period. This results in a host of benefits that favorably impact our bottom line. First and foremost is significantly greater forage biomass production on an annual basis. More grass, legumes and forbs equal more carrying capacity. Second, we naturally extend the grazing season, resulting in lower hay and feedstuff supplementation. Third, we expand the palate of our livestock. They learn to eat a much wider variety of plant species. How Can We Develop? There are several keys to developing a better array of plant species diversity and complexity. First, we must stop using her- bicides on our pastures. Herbicides always trend us back toward near monocultures and never toward diversity. Herbicide use always creates a series of compounding and cascading effects that are not beneficial in the long run. First, herbicides never actually get rid of “weeds,” they simply set them back. Second, herbicides damage the soil microbiolo- gy. Third, plant resistance to specific herbicides develops over time. Fourth, herbicides create a per acre cost (cost of product plus application cost) that is wholly unnecessary when we em- ploy proper grazing practices. In working across the United States, Canada and Mexico, I have yet to find an area where there is not a fairly diverse latent seed bank. All we have to do is tap into it. That requires a pulsing of stock density coupled with adequate rest periods.

The multitude of benefits derived from a far greater array of plant species create greater microbial species diversity; signifi- cantly more secondary and tertiary plant compounds; attracts more insects, pollinators, birds and other wildlife; and extends our grazing season. What’s not to like about this? Editor’s note: Allen Williams, Ph.D., is the founding partner of Grass Fed Insights, LLC, and a partner in Soil Health Consulting, LLC. He is also a sixth-generation family farmer, pastured pro- tein producer, adaptive grazer, consultant and a “reformed aca- demic.” He can be reached at or (662) 312-6826. BB

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SAVE THE DATE 2019 Barzona Breeders Association of America Annual Meeting July 8-10, 2019 Spray, Oregon Check the BBAA website, or email for more information.

Ode to the Past – Looking to the Future

W elcome to the Barzona Bulletin (formally the Bar- zonian ). This quarterly newsletter has been in publication for decades and many thanks go to the breeders who have kept information about Barzona cattle out in front of those interested for so long. Their commitment and dedication are to be commended. Raymond Boykin has been responsible for this newsletter for many, many years and our hats go off to him for a job well done! Thanks Ray- mond! Over these many decades, the cattle industry has gone through many significant changes, from swings in phenotyp- ic benchmarks and metrics, marketing changes and advance- ments, technology innovations, progress in genetic evaluation and the move to a global cattle industry with a focus on con- sumer demands. Not to mention the political and social envi- ronment that we must do business in these days. What has not changed is the need for cattle that function and perform in limiting environments, cattle that are hardy, self-sustaining and high-functioning and can provide a genetic outcross need- ed to complement and improve a largely continental U.S. cow herd. The Barzona breed continues to have a place in the U.S. cattle industry, but the word needs to get out about that. That is where this newsletter comes in, as well as the other commu- nication efforts that the BBAA has begun. As we look ahead, we plan to make more changes than just the name to this newsletter. As of this issue, the newsletter will be available in a digital, flipbook version on the Barzona. com website. In addition, we are committed to expanding the

mailing list so that more current and potential customers can receive this newsletter, learn more about the Barzona breed and what advantages it can bring to their cow herd, and where they can find Barzona genetics. That said, we are happy to mail this newsletter to anyone who may be interested in the breed or gain value from receiving the newsletter – and we want those names and addresses from you! If you know of someone who would benefit from receiving this newsletter, please send their name, ranch name, mailing ad- dress, phone and email to Lisa Bard at and we will add them to the Barzona Bulletin circulation list. We also plan to have new and exciting editorial in the news- letter, including Barzona breeder profiles, coverage of the sum- mer annual meeting in Oregon, information on Barzona per- formance in the pasture and in the yard, and information from producers who are using Barzona genetics in their herds. We will also feature editorial that supports, educates and inspires producers in limiting environments about those utilizing inno- vative marketing programs and how Barzona breeders can use genetic innovation and advancements. If any of you know of a producer who is doing things differently or simply has an inter- esting story to tell, please let us know and we can make sure their story gets told. We will also be increasing the Barzona presence online via social media and on the website. We hope to have more information on that in the next issue of the Barzona Bul- letin. Until then, feel free to contact me, at lbard@blueprintma. com with your thoughts, ideas, suggestions or additions to the BB mailing list. BB

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