These steer calves have the genetics to perform very well during feeding. The value of Long Pines’ Irish Black® and Irish Red® genetics should shine through. “Even though we’re now focusing on purebreds, we demand the performance of commercial cattle, and that’s how we raise them,” says Deb.
Irish Black and Red genetics lead to profits. In a 2012 feedlot study conducted at Diamond H Livestock in Charlo, Montana, Diamond H steers saw $66 per head profit, compared to a national average $50 per head loss during the same timeframe.
The study showed the group of 105 head of half-blood Irish Black steers had an average daily gain of 3.96 lbs. compared to a U.S. feedlot steer average 3.30, and a feed conversion rate of 4.79 lbs. of feed per pound of gain, compared to the U.S. average of 6.09. That means the Irish Blacks were 21% more efficient than the black-hided control group.
“It all comes down to simple economics,” says Deb. “If you have more units to sell at the end of the year, and your cattle are hardy and living off a lot less feed, then you’re going to have a better profit margin.”
Irish Black calves are also productive. The study lot graded 60% Choice, 40% Select, and 9 head met Certified Angus Beef criteria. Nearly two-thirds of the group graded YG1 and YG2.
What’s more, the Long Pines genetic base is highly predictable. “You can run them in different climates, they can adapt to about anything,” says Sterling Brown, Deb’s son who handles day-to-day management of the ranch. “There’s Irish Blacks from Florida all the way up into the higher mountains of Montana and Colorado.” And Irish Blacks are resilient to brisket disease, which is no longer just a high altitude issue.
As Long Pines ships all its steer calves to the area's livestock sales, its retaining heifers from the 2021 crop.
Long Pines Irish Red and Irish Black replacement females, shown here at about 16 months, have to meet a high hurdle for quality.
Long Pines is retaining only heifer calves from its 2021 crop. “We’ll have some very high-quality replacement heifers to offer the next few months, some will be going into our own feeding trials and we’ll be figuring out what numbers we can add to our own herd,” says Deb.
Irish Blacks and Reds are known for calving ease and maternal traits. Not only are the mothers easy to manage, their calves are vigorous and have all the economically important traits. Long Pines calves are born on the open range, where vigor is crucial. “If a calf can’t get up right away and start sucking it doesn’t make it on the range, so we have to make sure our cattle are vigorous for both our herd and our customers,” says Deb.
“They’re up and at it within 20 minutes. They’re just moving. They’re quick. They’ve got a belly full. They’re some of the quickest calves I’ve ever seen get up,” adds Sterling. And, he says, seldom does a mother reject a calf.
Irish Black heifers are productive. On average, across the breed, females mature and reach puberty at a younger age, and have a shorter gestation of only 277 days.
Irish Black cows are also predictable in their even temperament, making calving less stressful for everyone.
And, they’re profitable.
A moderate frame is a hallmark of the breed. Long Pines tries to keep cows at 1050-1100 lbs., and bulls at 1750-1800 lbs. More feed-efficient cows mean more cows on the limited pasture, and more calves to sell in the fall. “If I can run more cows that are more feed efficient on the same amount of ground, I’ll have more calves to sell,” says Deb. According to Sterling’s calculations, Long Pines is able to run 1.87 Irish Black and Irish Red cows compared 1 typical commercial cow raised in the area.
Long Pines Land and Livestock is the place to buy your bulls. Designed for the commercial herd, Irish Black genetics are a good investment in the future of your operation. Even though just a handful were kept, there might be a few available to customers. Long Pines offers their bulls at 18 months of age (or older), allowing Deb and Sterling to continually evaluate their quality.
Long Pines bulls are productive. They are known for their prolificacy, breeding 50-75 cows each, compared to other breed averages of around 25. Having a smaller bull battery means fewer animals eating precious foodstuffs.
They sport solid feet and legs, making it easy for them to do their job and graze the range. Irish Black and Red bulls contribute to their productivity with a pattern of longevity, making them proficient breeders that will stay in production for years to come.
The breed registry maintained by Irish Black Cattle Association is tightly controlled with high requirements, and Long Pines uses Neogen’s Igenity® Beef DNA to collect and assess genetic quality, meaning the genetics your bull calf brings to your herd are predictable.
What’s more, like feeder calves and replacement heifers, that bull calf you are investing in will be efficient to raise and keep. “They simply do well on less than other breeds,” says Deb.
If you want cattle that are productive, predictable and profitable; with good disposition, mothering traits, hardiness, rate of gain and feed efficiency – cattle that will save you money and make you money – then Long Pines is the source.
Long Pines offers their bulls at 18 months of age (or older), allowing Deb and Sterling to continually evaluate their quality.