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Simbrah works for this Gulf Coast outfit

published: August 10th 2010
by: Martha Hollida Garrett

Ives Cattle Company made a neighborly bull purchase over 20 years ago, and since then Simbrah bulls have influenced this Texas Gulf Coast cow/calf program.
    “I was probably about 10-years-old, when dad bought those first Simbrah bulls. I can remember how impressed he was with their first calves and listening to him go on and on about how good they were,” recalls Clint Ives, who along side of his dad, Roy Ives, Jr. run the family operation.
    The elder Ives, purchased those first two Simbrah bulls from his neighbor, Ira Sklar. Sklar was one of the first breeders of Simbrah and today the Edna, Texas operation continues under his son, Darrell.
    “It was our introduction to the breed and for years we bought bulls from Mr. Ira and we have continued to buy bulls from Darrell. It has been a very positive relationship for us and its an understatement to say, we like their bulls. Since we are neighbors, the bulls are fully acclimated to the heat and humidity of the region and it’s very convenient to make bull purchases. We have also purchased bulls from Smith Genetics in that last few years, to bring in some different bloodlines and to complement the females out of the Sklar bulls,” explains Ives adding that he has a great relationship with both programs and appreciates their opinion on bull selection.
    Ives represents the fourth generation of his family to run cattle on the Edna, Texas home place and like his dad continues to be impressed with the quality of calves.
    “Dad and I like the way the calves arrive unassisted and at desirable birth weights. Then they start growing and put on the pounds. We are especially partial to the Simbrah sired females and like the maternal attributes they add to our cowherd,” explains Ives.
    They did use Angus bulls for a period to stabilize the amount of Brahman influence in the herd.
    “We were retaining the females and felt we needed another breed to use back on the Simbrah sired cows. This was also during the ‘black boom’ and we were taking some hits on our steers calves because of color,” says Ives.
    Today, Ives Cattle Company is home to about 400 crossbred momma cows with about 50% carrying Simbrah genetics. They are introducing approximately 40 Simbrah sired heifers back into the herd annually.
    The majority of their calves are born in the spring and then sold in the fall at the Cuero Livestock Auction. The top end of the heifer calves are retained as replacements for the Ives herd and in the past the remaining heifer calves have also been sold.
    The Ives have retained a higher percentage of the heifers over the past two years, as they have long recognized the heifer calves draw stronger interest and demand than their steer counterparts. They are working to develop a market for these females and become viewed as a source for Simbrah sired replacement females. They hope to not only sell off the ranch, but also to participate in select high quality commercial replacement female sales. 
    “This Simbrah sired female has so much to offer the cow/calf segment of the beef industry. She will hustle for forage, thrive in the heat, resist the parasites and diseases of this region, milk good, will wean a calf at a high percentage of her body weight and she’ll breed back. She has a lot to offer the industry and this is something we have known ourselves for 20 years. We have decided we want to capitalize on her attributes. She has a lot of profitability to her,” describes Ives.
    The Ives’ have pastures of native Bermuda and improved coastal grasses that range in size from 600 to 1,500 acres. Some of it is brush country. Add that to the heat and humidity, and it takes a tough bull to get cows bred.
    “We look for bulls with stout bone structure and structural soundness, as we expect them to cover a lot of ground and breed 20 cows during breeding season. We pay attention to birth weight and we look for bulls that are long bodied with strong tops,” he adds.
    They are partial to black bulls as it gives them more uniformity of color for marketing, but they also utilize red bulls.
    The cattle operation is ran by both Ives and his dad. Ives is also involved in the oilfield construction industry and is running for county commissioner. His wife, Jennifer is a second grade school teacher in nearby Victoria. They have two little boys, Cole Thomas and John Daniel, who represent the fifth generation to be on this land.
    Simbrahs have performed for these cowmen and have earned their respect. Ives says he sees the breed continuing to have a positive impact on the family program.

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