For over three decades the Callahan family has strived to build their operation with quality Limousin cattle. Brothers TJ and Jake Callahan are striving to build upon the legacy their father founded back in 1990.
Based in Centerview, MO the Callahan’s run their operation on owned and rented ground across a thirty-mile spread in the area.
“We are right around the three hundred head mark, which was our goal at one time. Now we are looking forward to three hundred fifty or four hundred head,” says TJ.
Watching the growth in their operation has provided pride beyond measure; but while looking to the future it is clear the growth will continue.
The brother duo says, “Ultimately we would like to own everything outright, eliminating the debt lowers the overhead which would allow us to operate easier.”
In a world where cattle margins are tighter than ever it is important to carefully watch the operation input. Feed costs account for a large part of input budgets, so a careful balance must be provided. Backgrounding cattle demands enough feed to have the average daily gain (ADG) at peak performance, while mitigating the cost of that feed.
“We have started using silage and that has helped cut back on the amount of grain fed,” says TJ.
Also helping with feed input cost is the brother’s feed business. They mix and deliver bulk feed to clients across the area while also able to provide their own product. Ensuring the proper mix and amount of feed for the cattle during each stage is crucial to their outstanding ADG numbers. Creep is fed as calves and once they move to the background pen they are started on a total mixed ration (TMR) which consists of silage, corn, and a complete pellet.
“We build them up to seven hundred fifty or eight hundred pounds through a balanced diet and then send them to market,” says the brothers.
Building the herd to its current size and growing their feed business has allowed Jake to work the farm full time.
“An ultimate goal would be for us both to be able to work the farm full time along with my son, but for now I continue to work off-farm full time,” says TJ.
Running a herd split between spring and fall calving allows them to be more critical of the head they retain versus the ones they sell. Having two seasons of calving allows them to work through and rotate heifers and cows to ensure their efficiency during the calving season. This also provides them with a twice a year opportunity to sell beef direct to consumers.
TJ says, “We take orders for spring and fall sales and keep enough head back for that. It is usually somewhere around fifteen to twenty head each year.”
The brothers attribute a host of their success to their critical culling protocol. Evaluating docility, confirmation, birth weight, and calving ease they can easily group them into a keep or cull group.
“We’re looking to raise the fertility level of our cattle, so now we’re picky; if they are open, they are gone,” says the brothers.
Evaluating their head this specifically calls for detailed records. As most traditional producers the Callahan Brothers utilize a paper record system. That system provides them birth and weaning weights, and any other illness or treatment records that provides them with a clear picture of each cow’s health and performance.
As the world transitions from hard copy to digital, producers may find it tedious to change how they keep their records. North American Limousin Foundation’s DigitalBeef system is a convenient way to input records and have traits logged digitally.
“It will be easy once I get comfortable with it, having everything right there will be great,” says TJ.
Bringing the Limousin breed back into the commercial sector is a goal the Callahan Brothers are hoping to aid in. Several breed characteristics make Limousin an ideal commercial beef breed.
“Muscling, that’s a big one and average daily gain after weaning. The performance after weaning for the Limousin breed is outstanding,” says the brothers.
With their outstanding leadership and production, the Callahan Brothers hope they can provide insight to other commercial producers to the benefits of the breed. Continuing to build their commercial operation on the solid Limousin foundation their father started has proven successful, and they want to share that success with other commercial producers.
“We do a good job and people see our success and that spreads through word of mouth. If we continue to perform then it will help push the breed,” says TJ.
The benefits to adding Limousin traits to a commercial herd can be observed in the Callahan operation. The performance of the breed during the backgrounding stage has proven to be profitable, even in uncertain years as of late. With lean cattle margins producers are forced to think out of the box to continue being profitable. One solution seems simple: adding performance characteristics.
“We have a small registered herd and raise our own bulls, I’m hoping with our performance being seen that more producers will look to add a proven Limousin bloodline to their operation,” says TJ.
By proving the benefits of Limousin characteristics with their intensive herd management the Callahan operation proves to be an essential component to promotion of the breed. Many years of continued hard work and dedication has brought their operation to the forefront of the Limousin community and provided them a spotlight to promote the breed in a commercial setting.
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.