Our trip down to the Hampton Ranch in Arizona was one of the most interesting ranch tours I've been on. Steve took us around in his rougher country to look at some of his stock, and to be honest, I have no idea how those cows look fat.......
I'm used to lush green pastures with plenty of forage, but here - it's mostly rock. Steve told us on his rougher ground that black cows would be lucky to make a 50% pregnancy rate. "When the grass runs out, black cows just quit eating. They are too lazy to leave the water and they just give up." This explains why he still runs Barzonas and Barzona crossbreds right next door to the original Bard Ranch. "Barzona cows and bulls, on the same ground, will do 90-95% pregnancy. When the grass dries up, they just go eat something else. Plus, they travel. They will make a big circle out of all my water spots, and go 1-2 days between each one. They work the whole mountain."
Makes alot of sense to me, traveling the graded parts of their "roads" in those sections was rough enough, let alone looking up the side of the mountain covered in cat's claw and some sort of pine tree struggling for dirt.
Steve spoke of a recent bull sale he made to southern Utah, an unhappy buyer of black bulls who couldn't get any of his cows bred. Steve sent up some Barzona bulls. "You'd never heard a happier guy on the phone than one that finally found bulls to get his cows covered."
Alvin & Karen Havens started their herd in 1989. Barzonas were specifically chosen because of their maintenance free operation, and overall profitability. Alvin was too busy for babysitting heavy calvers and pinkeye. Karen runs her own accounting firm and knows what it takes to make money on the farm. Alvin & Karen strive to keep their herd producing under worry free management.
Alecia Heinz, Alvin & Karen's daughter, now keeps the records on the cattle herd, and her husband Matthew brings 6 generations of family farming and cattle background to the operation. They have purchased and raised their own Barzonas, and also try different crossbreedings to provide data for commercial producers.