La Campanita Ranch finds a lot to like about Simbrah
published: August 24th 2012
by: Merridee Wells
Pat Rogers, Jr. of La Campanita Ranch is the type of cattleman that every breed needs…an enthusiastic supporter, be-cause he can’t say enough “good” about the Simbrah breed and its people.
Rogers and his family have been a part of the agricultural community around Alice and their home town of San Diego, Texas, for more than 100 years. In fact, La Campanita translated means “small bell” in Spanish and is a version of Rogers’ great-great-grandfather, William Long Rogers, La Campana Ranch.
“There is a concrete wall that is 100 feet long and six feet high at the intersection of Highway 59 and FM 624 south of George West that features the La Campana Ranch name, which was originally about 60,000 acres,” Rog-ers said when talking about his family’s ties to ranching. “I’m proud of our family’s history and our ties to early Texas.”
This South Texas rancher has battled drought more times than not, and once again drought conditions prevail even though Rogers admits this year is better than last. It’s with this environment in mind that Rogers sought out Brahman-influence cattle early on, though the Beef-master breed first grazed the brushy pastures of their ranch.
“It was either ’86 or ’87,” explained Rogers, “that I first became acquainted with Carlos Guerra and his family. His cousin is my best friend and he encouraged me to attend one of the La Muneca (LMC) sales at the ranch in Linn. I was so impressed after that first visit. I really like the cattle (Simbrah) and the people. I wanted to be a part of all that,” he said.
“So I bought a bull from Carlos,” said Rogers. “When I brought him home to put on some commercial cattle, my father thought I was crazy. He just didn’t think it was going to work, but he became a believer after that first calf crop.”
The resulting heifers sired by the first La Muneca bull were “outstanding” according to Rogers…” they were beautiful females,” he descri-bed. “I was sold after that. I knew that I wanted more of the Simbrah cattle.”
Rogers went on to say that those first calves were all born very small. Yet at 30 days, “they exploded” and really took off and grew, which was a selling point in his mind.
As Rogers’ interest in the Simbrah breed grew so did his relationship with the Guerra family.
“We kept in contact. I visited them and they came here. I was interested in the breed and they were the most knowledgeable source. And they were good cattlemen,” he said, in talking about his dealings with LMC.
Time went on and in the early ‘90’s Carlos invited Rogers to the ranch. He had put together a group of 30 heifers and a bull that he thought would be just right as a starter herd for Rogers.
“I went down to the ranch and Carlos made me this really great offer,” he said. “The worst mistake I ever made was not taking it,” he lamented. “Looking back, if I’d purchased that group of females and that bull I would have been at the forefront of the breed, perhaps been one of the leaders of the breed. But I held back and I sure regret that decision today.”
Instead, Rogers went back six months later with his father and they purchased 12 heifers, which formed the nucleus of their current purebred program.
“We have about 110 females today, 20 or so are heifers,” explained Rogers. “I think there are still three of those original LMC females left in the herd. They have made great cows. In the last 10-15 years I’ve probably purchased 20 or more LMC bulls, so the bulk of this herd all goes back to LMC breeding,” he explained.
Admittedly, Rogers doesn’t get to spend as much time with his cattle as he would like. “I work in the oil field service business and it’s crazy down here right now,” he said. “So I don’t handle the day to day cattle stuff, my father, Pat A. Rogers and our foreman, Polo Serna handle it. But when I do get to see the cattle I’m always amazed,” he stated.
“I think one of the great selling points of the breed is their adaptability. We live with the drought or the threat of drought constantly and the last couple of years have been extremely hard on cattlemen down here. Sure, I’ve had to feed my cattle some, but overall I am so happy with how they look and the calves they continue to produce. These cattle can take drought and still look like something,” he said.
Guerra echoes Rogers when talking about how the Simbrah breeds fits into the La Campanita Ranch program.
“The Simbrah breed is the “World’s Breed” said Guerra, “because it’s two parent breeds are the most populous beef breeds in the world. When you combine the milk, muscle and growth of the Simmental with the heat and insect resistance, milk quality and longevity of the Brahman you have produced an animal that can function at a profitable level in the majority of the beef producing regions of the world,” stated Guerra.
Guerra went on to say, “Cattlemen like Pat Ro-gers, that are looking to increase the milk, growth, muscle and weaning weights in their cattle are investing in top performing Simbrah and Simbravieh bulls. Not only do they produce great replacement females but also some top gaining stockers that feed out and grade well.”
“Plus,” added Guerra, “the longevity of the breed is widely recognized. It is not uncommon for Sim-brah influence females to produce into their late teens. Their udder and teat structure is at the top of the American breeds, as is their docility and unique ability to cross well with other breeds.”
Alice and the surrounding area is relatively Simbrah-free, in that there are not many breeders around. Rogers says he gets quite a bit of local interest in the cattle, and has had calls from Mexico interested in purchasing females.
“So far I’ve sold all my females private treaty,” he said. “I usually keep my best few bulls to sell to area cattlemen,” he said, “and Carlos has invited me to participate in the LMC $ellabration Sale in March.”
“I’ve also been helping some local 4-H members providing show animals. Since there are not many Simbrah cattle in our area, I’d like to get exposure that way,” he explained.
Rogers is one cattleman satisfied with his direction and is optimistic about the future of the breed and his program.
“I wake up thinking, wow! These cattle are great, I’m so excited about getting to the next level,” he enthusiastically stated.