Family legacy, Stangle aims to raise the best cattle
Marsland, Neb. – Miles from the nearest town, Larry Stangle, manager of Stangle Herefords, spends his days managing both a commercial Hereford herd for the Davis Cattle Company and his own registered Herefords.
“Since I was three years old, I’ve had registered Herefords on the family ranch,” says Stangle.
Davis Cattle Company is a cow/calf operation with 575 commercial Herefords, according to Stangle, whose 110 purebred registered Herefords run with the Davis Cattle Company herd.
“When my dad Tom came to work for Davis Cattle Company, we were able to run our cattle with their herd as part of the wage,” Stangle explains, noting the Stangle family has worked for Davis Cattle Company since Tom went to work for the company in 1969.
The Stangle family includes parents Tom and Joyce and siblings Vicky, Russell, Larry, Kenny and Linda. Stangle mentions all five siblings have their own Hereford cattle operations.
“This is the 101st year of operation for Davis Cattle Company. My dad started here almost 50 years ago. Then, I started working here 21 years ago,” states Stangle.
Five years ago, Stangle bought his own ranch close to Davis Cattle Company operation, and his herd is a cow/calf operation where 12 to 15 bulls are sold privately every year.
“My place is only half a mile from the Davis operation, which is great for managing both herds,” he adds.
Stangle says his year starts with calving season around Feb. 1 every year.
“Since my mother and I are the only ones still working for the Davis Cattle Company and managing my herd, I stagger the calving times between my Herefords and the other cattle,” he states.
The registered Stangle Herefords start calving Feb. 1, and the Davis Cattle Company commercial heifers start around Feb. 20. The Davis Cattle Company commercial cows then start around March 15, notes Stangle, adding all three calving periods last for 45 days.
“As soon as calving is over, branding time rolls around, which can be a challenge for gathering help,” Stangle mentions.
Going into May, he states there are 50 to 60 miles of fence and multiple windmills to maintain.
“It seems like we always have 14 projects going on at one time,” notes Stangle.
All of the cows are turned out to pasture and graze year-round.
“I try to get as many pounds on the cattle from the pasture as possible, while still leaving the pastures in good enough shape for next year,” he explains.
During the summer, Stangle is busy managing and harvesting two pivot-irrigated alfalfa fields. Stangle owns one pivot, and Davis Cattle Company owns the other.
“Along with the alfalfa, I also harvest 500 to 600 acres of prairie hay to help feed the cattle in the winter months,” he says. “In between cuttings, the bulls are gathered after breeding season.”
Then, in August, the calves are pre-conditioned and videoed for Western Video Market’s sale in Cheyenne, where the steer calves are sold. Both Stangle and Davis Cattle Company heifer calves are also sold privately.
“In September, we process and wean the calves off the cows,” states Stangle.
“There is always something to do. I never have to wonder about what to work on because there is always something that needs to get done,” he adds.
Stangle admits there are challenges to ranching in western Nebraska, but the few he has run into are location, weather, finding labor and taxes.
“My ranch is located at least 40 miles from the nearest town, which ends up being an 80-mile round trip for parts, supplies and anything else we might need,” says Stangle.
He states the weather is always a challenge because it can get very cold in his area.
“Property taxes are the probably the biggest challenge,” adds Stangle. “The taxes seem to go up every year.”
“Plus, it is really hard to find good labor because everyone is branding or haying at the same time, so finding help is pretty hard,” he adds.
Despite the challenges faced on the ranch, Stangle has goals in mind to keep the family legacy and Davis Cattle Company alive.
“Davis Cattle Company has been here for 101 years, and it would be nice to see it last another 101 years, even when I’m not here,” he states.
Raising the heaviest grass-fed calves possible is another goal Stangle aims for, while also striving to keep good cows and producing steer calves that yield well at market.
“My plan is to continue what I’m doing and expand my herd in the future,” he says.
Stangle also mentions there are multiple benefits to ranching in western Nebraska, including groundwater and the wide-open spaces.
“With the Ogallala Aquifer and the groundwater, I don’t have to worry about water for the rest of my lifetime,” he notes. “The wide-open spaces are great because there are miles and miles of grass and rangeland.”
The main reason Stangle started ranching and has stayed involved in agriculture is because he was born and raised in the cattle business.
Stangle went to college and received a degree in agriculture education. He taught for three years before deciding teaching wasn’t where he was meant to be and went back to ranching.
“Ranching is where I’m meant to be. Through the good and bad times, I never want to leave,” he states.
For more information, visit stangleherefords.com.
Heather Loraas is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.