Marketing at Every Stage
There is no shortage of Limousin cattle around Glen Parker’s neck of the woods.
Glen, who operates Piney Bay Limousin, said there are five breeders raising the cattle all within a 10-mile radius of his farm, located in London, Ark.
He owns 192 acres and has 40 head of registered cattle. There is an additional 54 acres that he leases, located a few miles north of his farm. That leased land is primarily for growing hay, although he will keep some heifers there in the weaning to breeding age range.
Glen’s father, Jim, has about 40 head of commercial cattle that he raises on his son’s farm, as well.
Jim drilled water wells for more than a half-century in Pope, Johnson, Logan and other counties, but also raised cattle, Glen recalled.
“Dad has been in the business as long as I can remember, 50 years, at least,” Glen said.
“He’s retired now and the cattle give him something to do.”
Glen has raised registered Limousin since 1992 and said he has always been pleased with his decision.
“I like them because of the amount of muscle they carry. When they are slaughtered, it’s mostly red meat and muscle,” he said.
“It’s a healthy breed of cattle and I’ve hadvery few problems maintaining them. Plus, their docility has really improved in the last 10 or 12 years. I just haven’t seen any breed that I like more,” Glen added.
One thing that has changed for Glen is his switch from purebred to fullblood Limousin.
“There is a difference in this breed,” he said.
A bull, for instance, can be classified as purebred while being 94 percent Limousin. For females, the percentage is “in the high 80s,” Glen added.
“There is a visible difference between purebred and fullblood. If you look down the flank of a fullblood Limousin’s legs, you will see the fullblood will carry more muscle, which in turn, they will pass along to their offspring.”
Glen uses artificial insemination and inseminates the cows himself. “AI gives you the opportunity to use many different bulls.”
He said he spends a good deal of time trying to match bulls with his cows. He pointed out a group of seven heifers in a pen and noted that each cow had a different father.
“AI just gives you a much wider range of bulls to select from,” he said. Some of the bulls he has used in the recent past have been deceased for several years, but they are still producing some of the best calves, he explained.
Glen sells some of his female cattle for breeding, but also sells a number after breeding. He said he will keep them until they are from about three to five months away from calving, and will then sell them.
Some of his bull calves will be taken to livestock auctions after reaching weaning age and sold as feeder calves. In Limousin, that is at about four and one-half to five months of age, he said.
Glen said he has also been involved lately with a firm in Wisconsin that is buying calves for the veal market. Calves must be between 420 to 500 pounds of live weight, he said, adding that if that arrangement works out, it will provide an additional market for not only his animals, but those of other Limousin breeders, as well.
As president of the Arkansas Limousin Organization, the success of other farmers is important to him. The organization, with more than 20 members from across the state, has been around since the 1970s. He said it provides a wealth of information and other resources for fellow Limousin breeders.
“It gives you a chance to talk to others about what you’re doing, what direction you’re heading in,” Glen said. “It gives you a chance to exchange information with some who have been in the business 30 years. Their knowledge is there. All you have to do is ask them and they’ll share it with you.”
The organization also provides members opportunities to refer prospective buyers to other breeders, if the buyer is looking for something in particular, he said.
Glen is also a member of the Fullblood Limousin Alliance, an organization that is about two years old with a membership from across the U.S. Glen is one of nine members from Arkansas.