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home articles Producer Feature Stories |

The Tiger Stripe Female Works For The Bozka Family

published: July 15th 2021
by: Martha Hollida Garrett
source: Southern Livestock Standard

 

 

 

 

Bubba Bozka always knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. Bozka knew the family cattle and chicken operation , Bozka Farm Inc., was going to be his life’s work and legacy.

Bozka represents the third generation of his family to be on the land in the Shiner, Texas area and with the exception of four years at then Southwest Texas University in San Marcos, he’s been ranching all his life.

“My grandfather bought this ranch in the late ’30s and then my dad moved here in the early ’50s. He farmed corn and cotton and ran some cows.  The first chicken house was built in 1955. We began to expand the cattle numbers shortly after that,” Bozka explained.

Today, there are 15 broiler houses and pastures of Tiger Stripe momma cows. Bozka raises all his own hay, but the family no longer farms.

“We have the capacity to have 450,000 broilers at one time and we turn those five to six times a year. Our broilers are contracted with Tyson Foods, out of Gonzales,” he added.

Their cow herd currently numbers about 275 and 325 is their full carrying capacity.

“I really like the Brahman x Hereford cross female. They milk great, have longevity, they tolerate our heat and, in February, they showed us they could tolerate the cold. They are fertile, as we routinely have calf crops in the 90% range; this year we hit 95%. They raise a strong calf year after year that our repeat buyers want,” he stressed.

Bozka buys all his replacements. He expects these purchases to work for him for the long haul, so he is very selective about where he buys and the kind of female he adds to the family business.

He buys through special replacement female sales, as he has found these sales routinely represent the best from producers and give him the best opportunity for profitability.

“Very simply, I want to get the ones that will make me money and I buy the best I can afford,” he emphasized.

Cattle are purchased from the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Commercial Female Sale, where he also serves as judge for the bulls and females. He also acquires genetics from Jones Cattle Company’s Sale, as well as sales managed by Johnson Cattle Marketing.

            Previously, he ran Simmental bulls on the females, but recently he moved to SimAngus bulls. He bought the Simmental, and now buys the SimAngus from longtime, reputation breeders, RA Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, Texas, and 7P Ranch, Tyler, Texas.

When he goes to buy bulls he looks for ample bone, structural soundness, studies the breeding evaluation numbers for birth weights and the overall appearance and quality of individuals.

Bozka has also put together a small, registered Angus cow herd that he’s crossing with Simmental to raise bulls that will be three-quarter Angus x one-quarter Simmental in order to increase the Angus influence. 

            “My buyers want black-hided calves and I feel this cross gives me added marketing value. The calves perform well and with a SimAngus sire, they will grow hair if they get sent north. Our steer and heifer calves usually wean within 10-15 lbs. of each other, and I aim for the steers to average about 675 lbs. and the heifers at the 650 lb. mark. This year, I’m expecting weights to be higher due to the rains and the amount of grass we have,” he said.

            A 60 to 75-day calving season is a key tool Bozka utilizes for marketing and time management. His buyers want to buy in potloads and they want them uniform – not just in quality, but also size. All the calves, usually three loads of them, are sold to one buyer.

            “We start calving Nov. 25th and are done by Feb. 1st.  We aren’t at 100%, but more than 80% of our calves are born in that window. It just makes it easier from all standpoints to have a defined season. It cuts down on time needed to work the calves, as they are given two rounds of shots and wormed, prior to weaning.

            “Then weaning and shipping the calves is all done at once, which is what our buyers will pay for,” he said, adding bulls are turned out on all cows at the same time, which again cuts down on labor and time.

            His calves sell to repeat customers through a bidding process he conducts.

            “I call several buyers and tell them what I want for the calves and the one that is closest to that mark is the one who gets that year’s calves,” Bozka explained. “I have one buyer, now, who doesn’t even come to look at the calves; he just trusts them to be like we tell him. Our calves go to the Panhandle of Texas, Kansas and Colorado. Last year, we loaded them and the buyer told the trucker to head north; he would let him know where to deliver,” he said.

            The calves are weaned, weighed and shipped all in one day.

            “It’s working for me and as along at it’s working, I’m not going to change. Our cow program has worked for years and as long as I have a strong market for my calves, I’ll stay with the Tiger Stripe and my choice of bulls,” he stressed.

            The family ranch encompasses close to 1,300 owned acres and one small lease place that have some coastal Bermuda, but mainly native Bermuda grasses. The goal is one cow to 3-3 1/2 acres, as Bozka also takes advantage of the built in fertilizer and feed source he has in chicken litter.

            “Poultry litter is a great source of fertilizer and feed. The TDN of litter is about 20% and it's 12% to 14% protein. We mix it with rice meal and some hay silage to feed. In the last bad drought, we never sold a cow because we had this cheap feed supply. We also sell litter locally for both fertilizer and feed,” he said.

            Management of the operation falls on Bozka and in his words, “No one messes with the cattle but me.” His nephew, Brent Tieken, a Texas A&M poultry science major, oversees the chicken houses and represents the fourth generation of the family on the place. He is assisted by three fulltime employees.

            Outside cowboys are hired to work the cattle and gather them for weaning and selling. The office work is still largely handed by Bozka’s mother, Emilie, who is 85-years old and his youngest sister, Donna.  Bozka is supported in his love for the family ranch by his wife of 30 years, Gina; daughter Carly, a CPA in New Braunfels and his son, Landon, who has a successful welding business nearby. Landon is involved in the  cattle working and chores as needed.

            Bozka says life doesn’t have much time for hobbies, but he does like to fish and volunteers with his local Elk Lodge. He rarely leaves the ranch but feels it is important to be involved and attend conventions related to the cattle and poultry business.

            “It’s a good life with the chickens and the cows.”

           

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