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Finding the Perfect Niche | March 2024

By Cheryl Kepes

Photos courtesy Landgren Family

Landgren Ranch relies on a multifaceted operation to meet customers’ needs.

The innerworkings of Landgren Ranch are uniquely diverse. So much so, parts of the business operate as if separate entities. Yet in the differences, there is a common thread binding each segment into one viable operation. “It is diversified, but it all works together too. Good cattle are good cattle is the way I look at it. It is different niches for different customers,” Mark Landgren, owner of Landgren Ranch, explained.

Diverse Operations

Mark and Julie Landgren, along with their son, Matt, operate the diverse business consisting of a registered Hereford and commercial herd, as well as a club calf and show heifer venture. Four-generations of the Landgren family have dedicated their lives to operating Landgren Ranch located in Bartlett, Neb. The ranch’s herdsmen, Reed Parker, also plays an instrumental role on the cattle operation.

The roots of the Landgrens’ cattle business stem from a commercial cow/calf operation. Mark’s great-grandfather started the ranch in the early-1900s. Later generations of the Landgren family added registered Hereford cattle to the operation. “My grandpa had registered Herefords and sold bulls and then we kind of moved away from it and I had always wanted to do that and so I got back into it 15 to 20 years ago. I really like that part of it,” Mark shared.

Purebred Hereford Herd

The Landgrens kickstarted their return to the seedstock business with the purchase of purebred Hereford genetics from Brent and Robin Meeks, owners of Upstream Ranch. Through the years, the Landgren family has built its genetics and reputation in the purebred Hereford industry.

The registered side of the operation consists of approximately 100 Hereford cows, 10 donor cows, and an extensive embryo transfer (ET) program. “Our top cows are good donor cows. We do quite a bit of embryo work because we feel they are really good cows,” Mark added.

Through their ET program, they implant 75 purebred Hereford embryos in recipients each year. The ET calves are future herd bulls, champion show bulls and heifers, and topnotch replacement females. The desire to improve their herd’s genetics extends to other management practices. The Landgrens AI their registered cow herd for a full cycle and then send in quality, cleanup bulls.

Purebred Focus

The primary focus of Landgren Ranch’s registered Hereford herd is producing bulls for their commercial customers. The family seeks to utilize balanced trait selection. That means making breeding decisions that emphasize structural integrity, fleshing ability, and profitability. Many of the ranch’s purebred Hereford bulls are purchased by commercial producers with Angus herds who are looking to produce black baldie calves.

The Landgrens take care in selecting genetics that reflect the traits desired by commercial producers. “Growth and carcass are some of our biggest priorities. We want calves to grow well and feed well too,” Mark said.

Though Landgren Ranch encompasses a variety of niches in the cattle industry, the heart of the operation centers on the needs of commercial producers. “We are commercial cattlemen; that’s why I think we like to go towards the commercial cattlemen to sell bulls to them because we originated as commercial cattlemen,” Mark stated. “So, we know what works in our operation and we hope to do that in other people’s operations.”

The driving factors in their genetic selections and breeding programs start and end with the commercial producers in mind. “I understand a typical rancher, he just needs the bottom line to be profitable. You want to try to raise bulls that put pounds on their calves, and they can make a profit off of the calves,” Mark said. “That’s how we have always looked at it and if we aren’t producing bulls that do that, then we are not doing something right.”

Show Business

The Landgren family campaigns bulls at the Northwestern Stock Show (NWSS) each year with much success. They have earned Hereford grand champion carload of bulls numerous times. Many of the heifers raised at the ranch go to new owners and are also highly competitive in the show ring. The Hereford show heifer prospects are sold in Landgren Ranch’s online sale every November.

Additionally, Landgren Ranch implants 25 embryos each year to produce show steers. Mark and Julie started producing and selling show steers decades ago when their children were interested in competing on the show circuit. The family hosts an online show steer sale each year in October.

Commercial Herd

The commercial side of the operation consists of approximately 300 commercial cows. The commercial herd is made up of Angus cows bred by purebred Hereford bulls, or Hereford cows bred by Angus bulls.

The family appreciates the heterosis of the F1 cross. “There are two main British breeds that are left that haven’t crossed up with something else and that’s the Hereford and Angus. The only true way to get good heterosis is a first cross like that,” Mark stated.

All the Landgren’s herds calve in the spring. After weaning the commercial calves, the family backgrounds the calves until January and then sells them directly to feedlots. The operation appreciates the consistent market demand for black baldies.

The Landgrens’ point to extra performance, growth, as well as bone structure and muscle pattern, as traits the Hereford breed infuses into its progeny. “I think the Hereford breed is coming on good and a lot of people are wanting to use the Hereford bulls on black cows. It’s a good cross and I think you are going to see more of them down the road,” Mark explained.

New Marketing Platform

The growing demand for Hereford bulls and the continued success of the ranch’s operation prompted the Landgren’s to have an online sale on March 18, 2024, for their registered Hereford bulls. This is the first year for the operation to hold an online bull sale, up to this point Landgren Ranch has sold its bulls exclusively by private treaty.

The March sale will also feature 40 replacement heifers sold in groups of five. The heifers will be black baldies, Red Angus/Hereford cross baldies, and commercial Hereford heifers.

The family looks forward to this new avenue to market their Hereford genetics. They attribute their ongoing success to the variety of marketing opportunities they have created through their diverse operation.

Upcoming Sale:

Monday, March 18, 2024

Hosted on Ag Sale Day

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