Written by Donna Parker, OFN Contributor
Darrell Robinson, his wife Devetta and their three sons, Cole, Jacob and Garrett, have lived on the Five R Ranch at the foot of beautiful Mount Petit Jean, for about 14 years. Their home sits on top of 300 acres of meadows and wooded areas, where on a clear day you can see Mt. Nebo and surrounding farmlands below. Darrell said, “When we got ready to pick our home place out, we had to ride our horses up here, because it was too brushy and grown up to get up here any other way."
Darrell has been in the cattle business for about 20 years. "All my life really," he smiled.
"We have Angus and mixed cattle on the ranch, but last fall Cole and I went down to South Texas about 80 miles North of Laredo looking for Brahma cattle. We went to a sale and we bought 27 at first, and then we went back and bought some more. Now I have 60 head of Brahma momma cows. I love these cattle. They are disease resistant and the flies don’t bother them at all. They also take the heat really well, you can go look at my Angus cattle right now, and you’ll find them in the pond, covered with flies. I can spray them, and two weeks later the flies are back. But the Brahmas are just as clean as they can be. However, they are temperamental cattle, to say the least, especially if you try to rush them around or move them. I have found that the best way to move them is by horse back. This makes sense, because that’s all they know. Nearly all cattle are moved by horseback in Texas. I sent a group of 20 new cows down to a friend of mine, he trains cutting horses, and he’s going to use my cattle, which will train the cattle also, killing two birds with one stone you might say," replied Darrell.
But cattle isn't all that keeps the Robertsons busy. "My oldest son and I have a small construction company, Robinson Excavating. We have a couple of graders and a big brush hog. Cole and I work for the Forestry Department on their roads. We work anywhere from April through October most of the time, but this year we are taking off a week to build working pens and fences to hold the Brahmas. They are rough on pens and fences," Darrell said.
Crossing a Brahma cow with a Hereford, produces a white-faced tiger striped calf. Darrell explained that in Texas this coloration on a calf will bring $1,500 a head. "They love those down there," he said. He has seen a few of this color in his herd already.
Darrell has specific plans for the future. "Next year I’m buying a Brahma bull and putting him with about 25 cows, and that will give us about 15 heifers a year that will be purebred Brahmas.
"I also have a few Registered Longhorns, and I breed them to Charolais. They look really nice and you get the size and color of the Charolais. I also have about 72 head of Brangus cattle. I like raising different cattle, then it doesn’t matter what someone might want, I’ll have it to sell. I swap my bulls out about every two years."
With this many animals, nutrition is key at the Robertson's farm. Darrell keeps salt and mineral out all year long, along with protein blocks. He also puts out medicated feed to ward off sickness.
Darrell said he has tall fescue pastures, and he noticed recently there were a few cows losing their swishes on their tails. He blamed a magnesium deficiency, and has since been keeping magnesium out also.
"I would encourage the young cattlemen to join the Cattlemen’s Association, because they fight for the ranchers and farmers. I am a member of the Cattleman’s Association and have been for years," Darrell said. "I would also tell them to ride out the good times and the bad, because it’s all a learning process. That will help them in the future," he concluded.
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