Our herd of Charolais was developed over the last half century on the rolling hills of southeast Mississippi, and after 60 years, we feel that we have one of the best herds of Charolais not only in the Southeast but also in the United States.Harlan Rogers began the Rogers Bar HR Charolais cow herd in 1959. He saw some Charolais calves and observed how much faster and bigger they grew than other breeds of calves. He started buying small herds of Charolais cattle across the Southeast.
These herds usually numbered between 20 and 50 head of cattle. He then bred them to the best bulls he could buy. Using weaning weight ratio as the primary criteria he would keep the best offspring and sell or slaughter the rest. After 45 years, he had selected the best from more than 10,000 head of Charolais females. Harlan would line breed bulls that he had determined to be “superior” in order to establish the most uniform and best milking large herd in the nation. Harlan did not buy a herd hoping it would adapt to Southeast; he carefully selected the cattle and devised a grazing plan that would ensure the herd would thrive in our area.
We have been working hard to improve our cattle, and our hard work is paying off. Most people agree that EPDs are the best way to measure the value of an animal. We have some of the highest EPDs in the country. Total maternal is a value used to predict the weaning weight performance of calves from animal’s daughters using genetics for growth and maternal ability. The majority of our herd consistently ranks in the top 10% of the breed for total maternal.
How did we get our EPDs so high? It was not by magic, but by hard work and persistence. We pay very close attention to our contemporary groups. We do not stir the milk; we let the cream rise to the top. We make direct comparison with other breeders either through heifer purchases and/or AI comparisons. We put our bulls on Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) approved tests and see where they fall.
Many people say Charolais breeders should not be concerned about milk. You might agree if you only care about half of your calf crop; remember half of your calves are heifers. We do not creep feed our calves, and we like heavy weaning weights. Our females flourish on grass, and their outstanding milk production results in very desirable weaning weights for the calves. Unlike chickens and hogs, cattle get fat on grass, a commodity that we have a lot of in the South.