Riding Shotgun – Who’s Leading Your Herd

Riding Shotgun Caption
As we travel the highways and by-ways of the Limousin family and breed we often cuss and discuss the cattle business, sports, politics, great cheeseburgers and most of the time, the promotion and marketing of Limousin cattle.

Through “Riding Shotgun” we invite you to join us in the right-hand seat, so that we can let you in on what we find to be our marketing pet peeves, shortcuts and some of the favorite habits of top-flight professional producers. Grab a cup of coffee and take the ‘shotgun seat’—we are pleased to have you riding along.

As the days get longer and catalogs start showing up online and in the mailbox, it’s time to consider the question that should be on your mind everyday and all the time—do I need a new herd bull? As I listen to my favorite sports shows, they talk about new coaches, new quarterbacks and who is leading the program. I think your seedstock business is much like a team—it needs to be a coordinated effort, with lots of talent to get you across the finish line.

I think if you are a progressive seedstock operation you also need to evaluate your current options and think about your program for the future. Years ago, a very successful and insightful breeder, when asked when he starts looking for his next herd bull, gave an answer I think is telling. “I start looking for my next herd bull the minute my current one goes out with his first cows.”

He was always on the lookout and had found that it might take a while and that he needed to always be ready to find not only a replacement, but also a compliment to the current head of the program. I also think that even if you think you are the greatest AI technician in America, you need a herd bull that can keep your cows bred in a timely fashion and on that year when you just don’t have your best stuff in the AI chute. Mother Nature made the best heat detector and breeding machine in the world—she put four legs on him and sent him off to get the job done. Don’t short yourself when it comes to a clean-up bull. I think you will find that down the road a lot of your replacement females will come out of the clean-up bull, so make sure he can handle the load if the first team goes down.

You owe it to yourself and your customers to always evaluate the team you have in place. Part of your job as Owner, General Manager and Coach is making sure your whole team is not only set up for next year, but for the years to come. There is a lot of great talent being offered every day. Study your lessons, grab those catalogs and think about your next draft pick. It’s ALWAYS time to add a piece for the future.

See ya down the road.


Mark A Smith
email: [email protected]
phone: 515-229-5227