We got our start in the purebred Angus business in 1989 with the purchase of 10 registered cows. Before our Angus cows, we had commercial beef cattle, and prior to those dairy cows. It is our dairy experience that showed us the importance of genetics, AI, and recordkeeping.
After looking for two years for the kind of females we wanted, we got a catalog for the Van Dyke Angus cow sale in September 1991. After going through the cattle, we knew we found the cows we were looking for. After several purchases of some excellent donor cows, we had the base for our present herd.
Today, our cow herd consists of approximately 160 females. We are still growing and want to build our herd to around 200 females. We feel this will enable us to offer about 75-80 bulls per year.
We chose the motto — The Maternal Herd That Performs — because we honestly believe that the Angus cow is the best beef cow there is. Every mating we make is to breed a calf that is better than her dam. We also believe that with a strong cow herd, you will produce growthy bulls that will keep our customers in business.
In addition to growth, we are finding that using good maternal bulls will give you superior feed lot cattle. Along with one of our very good bull customers, we have gotten individual carcass data back on close to 1300 steers and heifers over the last two years.
Results are as follows:
- CAB Prime 32.4%
- Prime 14.6%
- CAB Choice 29.8%
- Choice 21.0%
- Select 2.0%
*A whopping 83% CAB and Prime and 97.5% Choice or better.
This was accomplished by using bulls that are average or below in carcass traits, but they are above average in maternal traits. We believe this is not a coincidence. We are trying to prove cattle bred for maternal excellence will also give you cattle that are very profitable when fed.
Another big change at Big Rok Angus-in 2008 we decided to switch to late summer/fall calving. This will allow us to offer older, more mature bulls. We feel this will be a big plus for our bull customers, as the bulls can be truly developed and not have to be pushed to be big enough to breed as yearlings. One more advantage is our cows will calve out on green grass. Cows will be allowed to sort themselves. They will be required to breed, calve, nurse, and wean her calf. If she doesn't, she will be culled. Cows and heifers are checked morning and night. They are required to do this on their own. We feel this will be an asset that our customers can't get from other purebred breeders.
We are a little different from most breeders in the way we raise our cattle, and our emphasis on the maternal traits that made the Angus breed. We would love to show you our cowherd and talk cattle anytime you are near Detroit Lakes.
The Olson Family
Kevin and Denise
Billi Jo, Anthony, and Nolan
Kelli, Jason, Ali and Kaia