Fancy and functional: Beckman Livestock and Farming focuses on family, cattle and farming
Wade and Vicki Beckman have both been involved in the cattle industry for their entire lives. Today, Beckman Livestock and Farming focuses on utilizing the top genetics in the industry to raise functional cattle that are also competitive in the show ring.
With their son Sedar, his wife Danna and their daughter Winston, the family operation raises Angus and Lim-flex cattle, as well as farms multiple crops including alfalfa, grass, wheat and malt barley. Beckman Livestock and Farming is located near Roberts, Idaho.
Fancy genetics and functional cattle
Focused on providing premier seedstock genetics to their customers, Beckman Livestock believes in quality over quantity. They run about 50 pairs in their spring-calving herd and around 40 pairs in their fall-calving herd.
“We don’t breed them for the purpose of being show animals, although we like them to look like show animals,” says Wade. “But, we also want our cows to be functional and be able to put on their work clothes.”
“We run a 100 percent artificial insemination (AI) breeding program to use the best genetics available,” notes Wade. “Thanks to Vicki’s work heat detecting, we have yet to turn out a cleanup bull.”
The Beckmans have ultrasound data, as well as genomically enhanced expected progeny differences (EPDs) on all of their bulls and are working to have genomic EPDs on their cowherd as well. This year, Wade and Vicki expect no calves with a negative marbling EPD – a feat they call a major win – due to their work to make smart breeding decisions.
The fall-calving herd summers on their desert pasture, eating crested wheatgrass Wade planted, brome grasses and brush until the cows are about a month out from their calving dates. In turn, the spring-calving herd runs on the desert pasture when the fall-calving herd returns, right up until Christmas.
“I’ve noticed our cows do really well on the desert pasture, often better than they do on their irrigated pastures,” notes Wade. “Their performance on the desert pasture is important to me because most of our customers run on rough range.”
Wade is also a firm believer anyone selling bulls to commercial producers should pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) test their bulls. Though Roberts, Idaho is short of 5,000 feet, Wade and Vicki send their bulls to elevation to be tested.
“So many of our commercial customers run at high elevations, so it is important our bulls get PAP tested to work at elevation for our customers,” says Wade.
“We bought our first Limousin bull in 1979, and we were so impressed by his calves, we decided to focus our investments in building a seedstock business raising Limousin cattle,” Wade explains. “We incorporated Lim-flex into our herd in 2000.”
Hybrid vigor obtained by the cross is important to the industry and their herd, according to Wade.
“This Lim-flex cross has kind of become our own composite over the years,” says Wade. “As a seedstock producer, this composite performs really well for producing commercial cattle or bulls for commercial producers.”
“We are also very proud of the demeanor of our cattle,” Wade shares, stressing hard selection on disposition. “Limousin cattle have not been known for docility. In fact, they’ve been known for the opposite. We don’t really have much of a problem, but anyone with an attitude here leaves.”
Industry and herd progress
Wade has been working hard to dial in winter nutrition for their herds. He’s seen the best response to is the winter ration he makes using their own alfalfa, grass hay and barley straw.
Many youth in the area have gained cattle and livestock knowledge at Beckman Livestock, as well. Wade and Vicki stress the importance of livestock judging and being able to read livestock to raise good ones.
Each spring, Beckman Livestock sells bulls in the Snake River Valley Genetics sale. This year, Wade and Vicki will hold their first fall female sale, the Gems of Idaho, Oct. 31 in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Along with working to improve their own operation, Wade serves on the North American Limousin Foundation Board to help improve the breed. With this association, Wade is always looking to add new technology into cattle production as a whole and their own herd.
“Anyone who thinks their operation is perfect, is wrong,” says Wade. “There is always something to improve upon.”
For more information, visit beckmanlivestock.com.
Averi Hales is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.