Not far from Merriman, Nebraska, the Wobig Ranch has found a new way to add value to their heifer calves.
The family recently became one of the first ranches in the country to enroll in the Premium Red Baldy program, a collaborative effort by the American Hereford Association (AHA) and the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA), that combines the best of both breeds to produce productive females.
“As far as the red baldy heifers, it was a marketing choice where maybe we could fill a void or niche market there as well,” said Shane Wobig of Wobig Ranch.
Premium Red Baldy is a tagging program that helps producers access genetically verified females that have the best combination of longevity, fertility and adaptability.
The Wobigs, who raise about 500 Red Angus commercial cows, replaced their entire bull battery with 35 registered Hereford bulls. They saw it as a way to add value to their heifer calves. For the Wobig family, the program offers a unique marketing opportunity to build buyer demand.
“We invested in it,” Wobig said. “We thought about this for a while before that, the hybrid vigor with the calves and looking for bigger calf weights.
As far as the red baldy heifers, it was a marketing choice as well. Maybe we can fill a void or a niche market.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to raise a moderate-framed, fleshy cow that can raise a big calf, and by crossbreeding we’re hoping to do that,” he said.
Premium Red Baldy identifies quality replacement females that are predominately Hereford and Red Angus breed type. Females enrolled in the program must be sired by bulls ranking in the top 50% of the breed for the Baldy Maternal Index or Herdbuilder Index to ensure an ideal balance of maternal and carcass traits that will yield cattle poised to increase profits for commercial producers.
The Wobigs successfully sold their first set of Premium Red Baldies earlier this year – and plan to step up their commitment to the program. So far, Shane and his son Austin like what they’re seeing from both sires and their red baldy calves.
“This is our first year of having those F1 baldy calves,” Austin said. “You can get that crossbreed, you can get some bigger calves out of there, which helps with your weigh-ups. You can sell a steer for more if it weighs more, so the excitement of that is pretty fun.”
The American Hereford Association, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the largest U.S. beef breed associations. The not-for-profit organization along with its subsidiaries — Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC, Hereford Publications Inc. (HPI) and American Beef Records Association (ABRA) — provides programs and services for its members and their customers, while promoting the Hereford breed and supporting education, youth and research.