Date of this Version
Presented at Range Beef Cow Symposium XXII, November 29, 30, and December 1, 2011, Mitchell, Nebraska. Sponsored by Cooperative Extension Services and the Animal Science Departments of the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Blair Brothers are a family livestock and grazing operation, we have one full time employee. The rest of the labor and decision making is made by family members.
We market private treaty over 300 commercial angus bulls a year and are looking to expand that to 500 in the next two years. Blair Brothers is a total AI operation, what I mean by that is any cow that doesn’t stick AI in two cycles are sold. We have eighty six percent of our mature cows bred AI in 26 days. Twenty percent of our cow herd is turned over every year, to keep upgrading our genetics. Our bottom end calves are back grounded at home then sent to Kansas to be finished and are then sold on US Premiums Beef (USPB) grid. The steers consistently grade 100% choice 65% CAB and 15% prime. These calf feds will gain 3.6 pounds a day and convert 5.4 pounds of feed to pound of gain.
The ranch has a calf buyback program for our customers. We partner with major Kansas feed yards where all the steers are finished and then they are sold on USPB grid of which Blair Brothers is a founding member.
The ranch also operates a short duration grazing system and rents summer pasture within a 100 miles radius for yearling cattle.
I would like to share a little history of the Blair family and how our operation has passed down through 3 generations. In 1906 my great grandfather George told my then 19 year old grandfather Enos Blair to go find a place for the family to settle. He looked at places in Oklahoma and South Dakota, settling on a place in the northern Black Hills between Sturgis and Rapid City. Enos then brought out his 3 younger brothers, sister and his parents. With the family homesteading, buying land and cattle the original Blair Brothers amassed some 60,000 acres of land and Hereford cattle by the mid 1940’s. When my father and his cousins came home from World War II, the original partners split up their holdings. The story that I was told is all the brothers sat down at a table one afternoon and divided up the land and the cattle according to their personal interest in the operation.