By Rachel Cutrer
Around a decade ago, Brandon and I found ourselves on a quest to acquire a bull for our Brahman herd. We visited different ranches, looked at bulls at the shows, and since we were young breeders about to spend the money we’d been saving for nearly 2 years, we were excited.
As we often say, “we had the picture in our head.” And, we actually found the ideal bull for us (so we thought), only to slip through our fingers. We visited a ranch, they showed us their sale bulls, and we picked out a bull. But, when we said which bull we wanted, the bull we chose suddenly became off-limits. They said it was a mistake: that bull wasn’t supposed to be in the sale pens, and he wasn’t for sale, but we should pick out another bull. We left, disappointed. At the next show, that bull was in their show string. It was a bittersweet moment; and while disappointed, we also acknowledged the rancher’s success in breeding such a nice bull, and we moved on.
At the time, this setback was disheartening. We believed that particular bull would guide our herd towards our desired direction—moderate frame, enhanced muscle, heightened maternal instincts, and improved functionality. Our cattle were already striking, but they needed that extra push. To put it in context, this was around the time when 259, as a calf, was just beginning to make a name for himself. If you’re familiar with the breed’s history, you’d remember 259’s distinctive features—he stood out due to his smaller size, robust build, and immaculately clean sheath. This bull and his traits pointed us in the direction we aimed to follow, and we sought another bull with similar traits to integrate into our breeding program.
However, as I mentioned, the first bull we had our eyes on slipped through our grasp. Determined not to be discouraged, Brandon and I decided to take matters into our own hands. Years of strategic breeding and careful planning followed, involving multiple generations of cattle. Eventually, our hard work prevailed. We succeeded in breeding a bull that not only met but exceeded our expectations—the remarkable Dutton. Dutton was actually better than that original bull we wanted. We had done it. We bred the bull of our dreams.
Now, I want you to think about Dutton and how we got there. It took many years. Without the collaboration of ours and John Lockes to produce Noble – we wouldn’t have Dutton. Without Brandon’s collaboration with Jeff Smith to produce 382, we wouldn’t have Boom Shaka Laka. The time, the collaboration, the thinking, the planning, the hours, the trial and error, and the work that went into breeding Dutton took years.
Since Dutton’s emergence onto the scene, those who have been following the BRC program are well aware that our efforts continue even more strong than before. We love Dutton but we’ve bred many bulls equal to, or better than Dutton in the last 4 years. We strategize tirelessly, often pushing the boundaries and embracing unconventional approaches. We sought out Captain as a 4-year old unregistered bull, and brought him into the BRC bull battery. Look at how that amazing risk has changed the Brahman world. That “unregistered” bull went on to be the co-#1 sire of the 2023 Houston Brahman Show along with 160, and one of the most popular Brahman bulls worldwide.
At the same time we bought Captain, we also acquired a share in Raider, a low birthweight bull from Randall Tipp with significant Bubba Hudgins bloodlines. Raider is without a doubt the most fertile bull we have ever owned. Raider settles cows unlike any other bull we’ve been affiliated with. The fertility is off the charts. This decision has proven immensely fruitful for our herd, yielding excellent result, including BRC Geronimo’s Cadillac 230.
The infusion of Imperator bloodlines, made possible through collaboration with the Sartwelle family, marked another milestone for our breeding program. This strategic move freed up our pedigrees – because the Sartwelle bloodline maintained a 100% pure Imperator bloodline – free of any Manso breeding. Manso is great no doubt, but, we believed the pedigrees were getting so tight that something needed to be done. The infusion of the Sartwelle Imperators enabled us to produce females suitable for breeding with any bull in our arsenal. Going forward, those daughters will be spectacular breeding pieces. Additionally, it introduced essential traits such as calf vigor, low birthweights, and increased survivability—traits critical for the well-being of our herd.
Recent visitors to our ranch may have noticed another exciting development: our collaboration with Partin bulls. This strategic move has also yielded exceptional results, evident in the outstanding quality of the calves produced. If you haven’t had the chance to witness these remarkable animals firsthand, I extend an invitation to visit our ranch and experience their excellence. You’ll see the first matings from this group in our spring born sale group.
In the realm of Brahman shows, one cannot help but notice the wide array of variation within our breed. You see cattle of all shapes, sizes, and colors. This diversity prompts me to ponder how many breeders truly have a well-defined game plan for their herds? Or, are people just breeding on a whim and then trying to market or show basically whatever they happen to come up with?
At BRC, we not only possess a game plan but a meticulously crafted vision spanning two decades into the future. This is no exaggeration; we have planned matings and decisions that extend 20 years ahead. We know what we want, and we know how we’re going to get there.
“The Modern Brahman” is a Dynamic Vision and a Strategy
Our mantra, “the Modern Brahman,” is not a hollow catchphrase but a guiding principle rooted in a comprehensive plan.
This plan encompasses various key elements:
1. Functionality: Our cattle embody sound structure and optimal frame size, aligning with industry standards (6 to 7).
2. User-Friendly Cattle: We prioritize cattle that calve with regularity, boasting excellent udders and gentle temperaments. Our cattle should work for you, not the other way around.
3. Visual Excellence: While functionality remains paramount, we also strive to excel in the show ring. Our cattle exhibit above-average muscling, distinct style, straight backs, and an element of flair. We hold steadfast to our century-old breed standards for Brahman breed character, recognizing their significance within the global Brahman community.
4. Industry Compatibility: Our cattle must meet industry demands for marbling and tenderness. Our benchmark is a minimum of 70% choice grade or higher, paired with exceptional tenderness.
The scope of the Modern Brahman encompasses far more than outlined here, but this offers a glimpse into our overarching vision. We firmly believe that the cattle we breed at BRC stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest in the industry – and that includes being equal to the best Angus, Hereford, and Charolais out there. As we navigate an evolving beef industry and a changing global ranching landscape, we believe “the Modern Brahman” will prevail as one of the world’s four most prominent breeds.
At BRC, we hold a unique commitment—sharing our endeavors openly with fellow ranchers. Curious minds are always welcome; we invite you to join us, visit our ranch, and engage in conversations about our vision and yours.
In a world where the Brahman breed seems to be operating of flux, whims, and inconsistency, the Modern Brahman is more than a vision; it’s a reality in the making, a testament to dedication, strategic planning, and a passion for excellence. It’s the future of not just the Brahman breed – but the Brahman breed’s place in the global beef industry.
Join us on this journey, and together, let’s shape the future of ranching and the Brahman breed. You’re always welcome at BRC.