Out of the Red. . .Into the Black
Keeping the Beefmaster herd black has become an adventurous and challenging task for Charles and Evelyn Rieder. The Rieders have had many types of cattle in their lives, but in recent years, have found their pleasure in black Beefmaster cattle. “We currently have a black Beefmaster ratio of around 90 percent of our herd,” explained Charles.
The black color in the breed has been harder to come by than one might think. The Rieders moved from a farm in Fairland, Okla., to the Ozarks in recent years and purchased about 77 acres near Spokane, Mo. Charles purchased their first Beefmaster cattle in 1987 when they sold their herd of Simbrah. He was interested in staying with a Brahman influence in his cattle. “The Brahman influence in cattle is good for this area. They take the heat real well and their disposition is good,” added Evelyn. Due to the genetics of the breed consisting of 1⁄2 5f Brahman, 1⁄4 5f Hereford, 1⁄4 5f Shorthorn, the black color is somewhat more difficult to come by.
With the emphasis being black, in 1999 Charles went all the way to California to purchase Beefmaster cattle. He started the backbone of his current operation with a donor cow, “Black Pearl,” a herd bull, and approximately five other black Beefmaster donor cows. He purchased “Black Pearl” for around $12,000 at that time.
“Out of the whole Beefmaster sale there were only six or seven black cattle. That shows how bad I wanted black.” In recent months the Rieders were pleased to find out one of their three-month-old bull calves was homozygous black. Charles leans towards the black as a personal preference as well as a selling point. “We stay with black because they seem to sell better. In 1999, when I first bought black Beefmaster, that was not the case,” recalled Charles. Almost all of the Reider's cattle are A.I. and a black clean up bull is used if the A.I. process fails. “I try to get it (calving) done by June and start again in September,” stated Charles.
The Rieders sell most of their cattle in Beefmaster sales in the Ozarks. “We usually sell at the Heart of America sale in Springfield or the Arkansas and Branson sales,” stated Charles. “I try to keep real good show bulls. You have to be very selective now because there are so many bulls in the breed,” said Charles. The Rieders have also bought cattle in joint shares with Fiddler’s Ranch owned by Shoji Tabuchi.
Charles also prides himself in showmanship of the Beefmaster breed. “In 1994, at the Main Event in Jackson, Miss., we had the Grand Champion Bull, ‘Cherokee Pride III.’” As soon as I walked out of the show ring, I was offered $25,000 for the yearling bull, but my pride and the excitement of ownership wouldn’t let me sell him at the time,” said Charles with a smile.
Keeping a good nourished cow is important to the Rieders, so they pay special attention to what they feed their cattle. “We feed a Vita Ferm molasses tub year around. There is a different type of tub for every season. I have been using the product for four years and it is very good,” Charles pointed out. Charles also uses pasture land, hay and salt blocks as a food source.
The feeding and cattle maintenance doesn’t take care of itself. One of the most important aspects to the farm is the Rieder’s grandchildren, Dakota, Chasey and Dalton. All three of them live on the same farm as the Rieders and are quite helpful. “I don’t know what I would do without them. They help me a lot,” said Charles with a smile. It’s obvious black Beefmaster cattle are what keep the Rieder farm going, but the grandchildren are what keep them smiling.