The Landscape at the Chapman Family Ranch
The Chapman Family Ranch (CFR) of Clarksville, Texas is primarily open land with Coastal Bermuda, Jigs, Giant and native Bermuda grass. In the winter time, there is Fescue grass for grazing. The ranch has one stock watering tank with several more in the planning stages.
There are four running, fresh water springs and two water wells. The north boundary of the ranch is the Red River, which is also the north boundary of Texas.
In the Red River bottom, along with many pecan trees, there is one large duck pond, originally formed by beavers, which harbors many different types of ducks.
The CF Ranch is naming all pastures, tanks, and corrals after family members as a way to honor those relatives and to be sure that future generations know who their relatives were and a little history about them.
New Program Isolates Tender Beef
The CF Ranch uses a relative new testing program that is able to isolate beef cattle which will be more tender than some of the other cattle from the same genetic pool. The CF Ranch has three bulls with one or more of these tenderness genes.
Animal to Land Ratio
The CF Ranch is divided into 20 pastures to better use the highly productive soils. The pastures have the ability to graze one animal unit per two acres of unfertilized pasture or, one animal unit per acre if the land is fertilized. However, with these types of numbers and grasses, hay is required during the winter months.
The ranch made approximately 250 tons of coastal in the summer of 2004. To date the ranch has been able to produce all of its own hay needs. The average rain fall for the area is over 47 inches with sufficient rain falling in each of the normally dry months to keep the ranch green from spring into the winter. The ranch is preparing to plant a pasture in Max-Q Fescue for better winter grazing.
National Ranch ID Number System
The Chapman Family Ranch was one of the first in Texas and in the nation to get a National Ranch ID Number and was the first in Red River County to start using the new Electronic Identification (EID) ear tags. The EID ear tag system allows the ranch to store comprehensive data about each animal in a computer data base and retrieve it when needed.
An example of how the ranch uses the EID ear tags is to record the weight of each animal. The ranch operates its own scale system which is built into a set of working chutes so each animal is weighed, and the weight recorded each and every time the animal enters the working area. All cattle are weighed several times a year.
The health of each and every animal at the CF Ranch is very important; therefore, the cattle receive some of the same immunizations that humans get.
Examples include influenza and pneumonia vaccines.
To hold stress at a minimum, the cattle are freeze branded and bloodlessly castrated. The goal of the ranch is for the cattle to always a good day without any sickness and as little stress as possible. Less stress make more tender and better tasting beef.
For more information about freeze branding, see www.lhbrandingirons.com
Wildlife at the CF Ranch
At certain times of the year there are Canadian Geese on the property. Many species of birds live or travel through the ranch because of its location near the Red River. In the winter of 2004-2005, a pair of American Bald Eagles and an Eaglet nested on the ranch. They are expected to return again next winter.
In addition to the birds mentioned above there are deer, wild hogs, turkey, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes (lots of them), bob cats, lions, possums, rabbits, beavers, armadillos, gofers, moles and foxes.
Winter at the CF Ranch
Some winters can be really cold on the cattle. When there was wet snow on the ground, the cattle required extra cotton seed cake and lots of hay. The weather was bad for the cattle: however, it really wasn’t that bad for the workers.
The biggest problem during freezing weather is getting enough water to the cattle. Ice must be broken from the water troughs and also on the tanks and springs. The workers must be careful to not fall into the freezing water.
The ranch is working on a solution so the pipes do not freeze where the water enters the troughs and the valves stay open in the troughs. The ice will still need to be broken on the troughs so the cattle can get to the water.
Cattle Feed at the CF Ranch
The Chapman Family Ranch uses a T&S Trip Hopper to feed a measured amount of cotton seed cake to each pasture depending upon the number of cattle and the type of cattle in the pasture.
Cotton seed cake is a 41% protein feed. The oil is pressed out of the cotton seed for human consumption, and the balance of the seed is then fed to cattle. This year the protein tested nearly 50%. The Chapman Family Ranch cattle eat very well. People eat the same oil in many of their foods.