Dyer Family work together, Dyer Ranch, LLC, runs Herefords, Angus to survive on the range
Crawford, Neb. – In November of 1974, Mike and Beverly Dyer moved their family to a ranch south of Crawford, Neb. after taking advantage of the opportunity to lease a ranch, its cows and machinery from Warren and Rae Broyles out of Lusk.
“We’re very grateful to the Broyles for leasing us this place to get us started,” Beverly says. “We worked for Moody Ranch at the time and were looking for a way to get our start. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Broyles family.”
The Dyer family welcomed newborn daughter Sam in December that year, and they added a herd of registered Hereford cattle to the Angus cows on the ranch.
“Dad’s love and passion was with the Herefords, so he bought some Hereford cows when we first started,” says Sam. “Back then, we would say the Angus paid the bills and the Herefords were the pretty ones. Things have changed, but that’s how it was then.”
Mike and Beverly welcomed son Kelly to the ranch a few years later, and the family of four cared for two herds of registered cattle, as well as several hundred yearlings, for many years.
“We didn’t have a full-time hired hand until eight years ago,” said Sam. “Mom and Dad did everything here, and Kelly and I helped out.”
Today, Kelly, his wife Tami and their three daughters Abby, Jasmine and Sage, live near Dyer Ranch, LLC. They focus on their own herd of about 90 Angus-based cows, along with raising a few bulls sold in the family sale.
Sam, her husband Don Edelman and their children Skyler and Teague live near Crawford, as well. The couple owns the Crawford and Harrison grocery stores and helps Mike and Beverly on the ranch.
The ranch today
Dyer Ranch, LLC runs a herd of registered Herefords and registered Black Angus today.
“For a little while, we tried to run Red Angus,” explains Sam, “but we didn’t have as much of a market, and it was too much to keep up three registered herds. We sold the Red Angus herd to my mom’s youngest brother, Evans Cattle Company in Gothenburg, Neb.”
Currently, they run 80 head of registered Herefords, with the balance of their herd in Angus cows.
They also run 700 to 800 head of grass cattle per summer.
“Dad buys steers, and we run them in the summer and sell them in the fall,” Sam says. “We market our steers through a video auction, and then, our bulls are sold in a different kind of bull sale.”
The right fit
When the Dyers first started selling bulls, they used a private treaty format.
“We would have people show up on the day we weaned wanting to buy bulls,” Sam says. “It was hard to even know what we were keeping at that point because we hadn’t really been through them ourselves by then.”
“Finally, we set a day where everyone could come to look at the bulls,” she adds. “Someone would show up at 7 a.m. and buy the best bull, and everyone would be angry because he was gone.”
Eventually, they settled on a time to come look at bulls, and they do a modified sale.
“At 11 a.m., everyone comes to look at the bulls. Then, we go down our list of bulls in the afternoon. We ask if anyone’s interested in the first one. If they are, the bull is sold to that buyer at the price we have listed. If there is more than one person interested in a single bull, we auction him off,” Sam explains.
The bulls stay in pens on the ranch and aren’t run through a sale barn, decreasing stress on the animals and the amount of labor necessary. The sale format also means they don’t put together a catalog, keeping it low-labor for the family, as well.
“It’s really worked well for us,” she adds.
Bulls that work
In developing their bulls, the Dyers look to produce a bull “that will only get better when he gets to the buyer’s place,” explains Sam.
“We don’t feed the bulls very heavy because we don’t want them to melt when they’re put out on the range,” she says. “We feed our bulls a growing ration, but usually, they’re out in their natural environment.”
While well-fed, fat bulls are nice to look at, Sam notes they strive to produce a bull that will work for their customer and can withstand a tough range environment.
“We turn the bulls out and feed them ground hay with dried distiller’s grain (DDG) for protein,” Sam says. “They’re not in a feedlot situation, and a lot of our customers appreciate that.”
While most of the bulls are registerable, Sam also notes they don’t register them unless the customer is looking for a registered sire.
“All of our Herefords can be registered, and about 50 percent of the Angus herd is registerable,” she says. “In the sale, we indicate whether a bull can be registered or not. Most of our customers don’t want a registered bull, though. They are commercial guys looking for a herd bull.”
Continuing to develop
In the last decade, Sam says, “We’ve also started doing some embryo work in our herds.”
At that time, Mike and Beverly purchased some Hereford cows from Churchill Cattle in Montana, and they hoped to maximize the high-quality genetics from those cattle.
“We wanted to really utilize them,” Sam explains.
They also utilize embryo transfer in their Angus herd, and Sam says, “We thought our Angus cows were good enough to flush, so we did.”
In 2017, the Dyer family also held an internet sale for a handful of heifers with Sellman Show Cattle, Huntrod Red Angus and several other consignors.
“We did well with that sale,” she says.
As Sam looks forward to the future, she sees Dyer Ranch, LLC continuing to improve while also maintaining a bull that meets their customer’s needs.
“We’re always going to continue working on the newest genetics and trying to improve,” Sam says. “We’re also going to keep working to keep the whole family involved in the operation. That’s our goal.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.