Small Farm, Big Success
When Frank and Terrell Newberry married five years ago, they had a hard decision to make – Salers or Simmental? Terrell began raising registered Salers in 1993, and loved the breed for its calving ease. She had a few Simmental in her herd and Frank preferred the gentleness of that breed a little more. "Now we breed for calving ease in Simmental," said Terrell. It's a compromise that seems to work well for the Newberrys on their 63 acre farm in the small community of Urbanette north of Berryville, Ark., that they share with four-year-old daughter, Addey as well as Taneia, 12 and Shantae, 14.
Both from farm families, Terrell and Frank enjoy working with and being around their herd of 21 momma cows, calves and one herd bull. Each with full-time jobs at the local Berryville Tyson plant – Terrell as a Supervisor and Frank in the maintenance department -their time working cattle is limited but yet focused and efficient. They keep a close eye on their herd and work to breed for disposition, color (Terrell likes a white face) and calving ease. "Frank bought me a spotting scope for Valentines Day," laughed Terrell. "That way, I can check the cows standing in the kitchen window."
The Newberrys AI all their registered Simmental cattle and are pleased with their 80 percent success rate. "Frank's bragging rights is our herd bull right now," said Terrell of the cleanup bull they raised themselves. "He throws tiny calves." They participated in a bull test last year and their herd bull's calves achieved the acclaim of 3rd highest gainer and the 5th highest gainer. "We also had the highest gainer of the whole test," Frank said, referring to his herd bull's AI'd brother.
"We have breeding dates on everybody," said Terrell who keeps computerized records on each cow. "I took a week of vacation to stay with the cows so I could know when they are coming in heat."
Their greatest time-saver is their Teez Cowcatch, a moveable piece of farm equipment designed to catch cattle in twelve separate head gates as they eat at the feed bunk. The Cowcatch allows either Frank or Terrell to safely work the cows alone if needed since they are rarely off work at the same time. "We don't have to get the cows up," said Terrell. "We grain them, catch their heads, and then we AI them, vaccinate them, worm them – anything we need to do we do with the Cowcatch." "The cows actually work better with just one of us, " added Frank. "It (the Cowcatch) is great."
The Newberrys sell their calves at the local sale barn as well as take cattle to the Simmental of the Ozarks Golden Harvest Sale, Strafford, Mo., and Springfield, Mo.'s annual Farmfest. "We also keep some and feed them out and sell the meat," said Terrell. "We slaughter more bulls than we sell. We have so many people asking us for beef."
This marketing option is a growing segment of their farm and they are busy keeping track of their expenses in order to make sure that it is profitable for them with regards to feed and labor. "It is kind of an experiment this year," noted Terrell. "We'd also like to breed heifers and sell heifers." However, so far, every year they have had a very high percentage of bull calves.
It is easy to see that Frank and Terrell have a love and respect for animals; not only based on their health and breeding success of their gentle Simmental cattle, but also on the many varieties of chickens and turkeys that roam around their barn and scratch for grain amid the herd. "We collect rare chickens and Frank collects rare turkeys," said Terrell. "We have four or five different breeds of Leghorns.… they come in silver, black, white and two different colors of brown… and just about every color of the Wyandottes there is… the three colors of Brahmas, you name it and we probably have at least one of them." "We just raise them as a hobby," said Frank whose birthday present one year was wild turkeys that Terrell bought him from a hatchery. Those two hens and two toms joined two other breeds of turkey that enjoy life on the Newberry farm.
It's a busy life for this family – with a new house, daughters to raise, jobs, farm work and a stray kitten or two – but working with their cattle and enjoying their poultry hobby, "it's my de-stresser," said Terrell.