“I feel like we are the ultimate stewards of our land. There’s no one that can care for it like we do because we know it so well. Everything we feed our cattle is grown either by us, or nearby neighbors, and we create our animals’ diets based on what’s in season.”
Between 6-12 months of age, cattle spend time at stocker and backgrounder farms and ranches where they graze on a variety of pastures. Here they gain weight and convert forage and grass into lean protein.
Garrett Foote just graduated from Texas Tech University and is currently attending Law School while also working on his family’s ranch, Tim Foote Cattle Company. Backgrounding ranches, like Garrett’s, play an important role in the beef lifecycle.
Read on to learn more about how the Foote family make the most of their location by growing crops to feed their cattle.
Garrett: We are a backgrounding ranch. That means we raise cattle from when they are weaned off of their mother’s milk and we facilitate the transition from grass pasture to a grain diet.
Garrett: Our ranch is located 15 miles north of Texico, NM, which is on the eastern New Mexico border. This region’s dry, mild environment is ideal for raising cattle. We graze cattle on wheat during the winter months and in the summer months they graze on grass. The grass and wheat grown in our area is very nutrient dense so it makes sense to use our local resources.
Garrett: Our cattle eat what’s in season! Everything that goes into their feed ration depends on the season, how much was grown and harvested, and the location of where it was grown. We raise our own crops to create the feed rations, but sometimes we also have to buy from neighbors. So, based on the season, our grain ration consists of dried distiller’s grains, soybean hulls, cracked corn, whey, and supplements to keep the health and digestive system balanced as well as wheat, corn, or sorghum silage depending on what is available each season. The cattle may receive grain and other feeds, but only in small amounts. Grass and hay are their primary feed sources.
Garrett: Cattle will stay under our care for anywhere from 30 to 150 days. The amount of time that cattle remain with us depends on how much they weigh when we receive them. We typically receive cattle that weigh between 400 and 700 pounds and we keep them until they weigh 750 to 800 pounds.
Garrett: We work with our veterinarian and nutritionist to develop comprehensive animal care programs which help keep our cattle healthy.