Liking the Limousin Looks
At the ripe old age of “six or seven” Kenneth Phillips had his first cow. “My dad sold her. I didn’t get the money out of her,” he said laughing. “Other than that, I didn’t have any cattle till I was about 17.”
Kenneth has been farming and raising cattle for 54 years. “I’ve had Limousin ever since ’78, that’s when I got my first bull.” He liked the looks of the Limousin cattle he’d seen, and liked the looks of the calves.
“I needed a bull and went to the sale barn in Buffalo. They ran three little bulls in, and one was Limousin. I really liked the looks of him. Me and another guy ran them up way too high bidding on them. You get to take your choice, but I finally gave it up. He got his choice andhe didn’t take the Limousin. So I got to bid again and it didn’t cost me near as much as the first time, and I got the one I wanted too.”
That was the beginning of Kenneth’s Limousin herd on his 591 acre farm near Louisburg, Mo., in Dallas County. Before that his herd consisted of “anything and everything,” but now it is strictly registered Limousins. He has about 150 mature cows, plus calves and bulls.
At age 77, Kenneth has seen changes in the cattle industry since his youth. “We’ve got a lot better cattle now than there were back then, better over-all cattle. I think people take better care of their cattle than they used to. I know when I was a kid, I’ve seen lots and lots of awful poor cattle when spring came.”
‘Poor’ will not be found in a description of Kenneth’s Limousins. “They’re good, hardy cattle. They’re easy to take care of. I feed everyday and when the weather gets really bad, I feed twice a day.” It takes about 2 hours for him to do all the feeding “if I’m not in a hurry.”
He grows his own hay, mostly fescue. Like many in his area, Kenneth had a good hay crop last year and said, “I’d sell some this year. I’ve got more than I’m going to get fed out.”
Although Kenneth loves the Limousin breed, he said, “I don’t think they bring as much money on the market as the Angus cattle, but that’s been a going thing for the last 15 years.”
Loving his cattle has not blinded him to their faults.
We always break our heifers. We wean them and break them out in the barn. Until we get to where we can pet them all over, they stay shut up in a single pen by themselves until we can feed them a bucket of feed and pet them. And they never did break last summer and I’m going to have to sell 3 or 4 of them on account of their disposition.”
They’re out of the same cows and same bulls, but Kenneth says he’s never had this problem before.
“Maybe one would crop up once in a while that wouldn’t break. He said some people think strangely-tempered cows has something to do with the drought and dust 2 years ago, but he isn’t sure.
No matter what the temperament of your cattle, Kenneth offered some safety advice. “Always treat them like they’ll hurt you. Don’t treat them like your best friend, and very definitely not bulls. I’ve never been hurt by a bull. I don’t feed my bulls and pet them on the head like a lot of people do, cause he can just sling his head and hurt you, not even aiming to. I don’t make pets out of my bulls. I just don’t do it.”
Temperaments of recent aside, Kenneth and his family will agree that they have Limousin cattle worth being proud of, in body and traits.