Jeff & Lisa Liston
1234 606th Ave.
Lovilia, IA  50150
Phone: 641-946-8135
Cell: 641-891-1270
Email: jliston@iowatelecom.net

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Turtle Rock Angus

Some History, some Philosophy and a few Goals



Our basic goal in simplest terms is about the same as most cattlemen. Calve them easy, raise them big, fatten them fast, maintain them cheap and have breeding animals produce as long as possible. We have always selected for herd sires that have the ability to raise good, efficient females. The cows are the “factories” that process our forage to produce the product we sell. We think the difference between our herd and others is our genetic base, carefully chosen to maintain balance and quality, and time-tested to outlast fads that show rings and “hot” bulls offer. We run our cows without any extra pampering or unusual care. We realize that the majority of our customers expect their cattle to work for them instead of the other way around, and that is our goal as well. To even take this a step further, for the past few years we have been scoring every animal in the herd for shedding and fly population on their bodies to use in selecting animals to keep. The offspring of the first group of animals chosen and selected using this criteria show great promise. Those replacement female selections appear to also be the best animals for conformation and significantly above average performance. The new DNA testing available through Bovigen GeneStar shows our cow herd to have significantly higher rating than breed average. We have a high percentage of animals with well balanced distribution of GeneStar DNA, with 14-16 stars very common. By using those genetic markers, we are going to use the high scoring animals as our Tailwind Genetic base. Crossbreeding is known as the “free lunch” concept for the industry by the 5% gained through heterosis. The concept of Tailwind Genetics is similar in that the value of DNA gives a breeder extra value and a huge advantage in quality and tenderness of their beef without extra or additional inputs. During 2006 we tested 28 animals for their DNA composition. 24 of the tested animals yielded at least 50%- 11 stars- and 11 rated 14 stars or more. Those 11 represent 39% of the animals we tested and qualify for our Tailwind Genetics designation.

We price our animals with our customers in mind. We realize to be successful, we must provide value in our animals that is understood before the sale, and must be proven after the sale to earn repeat business. Our repeat business speaks for itself in this regard. It is also a time-proven fact that we will represent what we think our cattle will do honestly and won’t sell you an animal for your herd that we would worry about keeping or using ourselves. We breed for a variety of frame sizes as program and customer goals vary. However, whatever the frame, there must be balanced phenotype and economic characteristics. It was stated recently that you can produce any production level you are willing to feed, but to carry this further, without sound structure and longevity, you cannot raise good replacements of any frame.

The Turtle Rock name has been used for the past 7 years, but our first registered Angus cow was purchased in 1967. In the 70’s and 80’s our goal was to have ½ traditional Canadian bloodlines (for capacity, heart girth, and leg structure), ¼ Rito (for ease of fleshing and moderate size) and ¼ Emulous (for rate of gain and carcass). The capacity and heart girth allow animals to maintain themselves on a forage based program, the structure, reasonable size and balance factors contribute to longevity, and of course, the gain and quality carcass get you repeat customers for our end consumer product. Although our bloodlines vary from that base somewhat now, the identified reasons for choosing herd sires and genetics are still our criteria today. Bulls that are still breeding at the age of 9 and 10, and cows that keep raising calves well into their “teens” are indicators of what our balanced approach produces.

Females with the characteristics mentioned above can go whatever direction our customers decide: maternal- terminal- calf sales- low input- top carcass. Simply adjust your bull power and hit your target. Through our selection of matings and herd sires with strong breed character, we can offer the bull power or semen you need. For small to medium herds the balanced female is most important, as you are not able to maintain one herd group for one goal, and another for a distinctly different goal. In a limited manner, AI breeding can give you selected traits different than your herd bull, but the fact is, most years and most calves need to be geared for your merchandising goal. Keeping your cows balanced allows you to change your product more uniformly as you make plans for next year’s calf crop. When it comes down to the question: “Do I want breed for replacements this year or for maximum weaning, yearling, or carcass performance?”, our balanced female has the flexibility and adaptability to allow this to happen economically while still allowing for maternal replacements.

Many experts state that you can buy replacements more economically than raising them. If the only measure is the cost of the replacement at the point of entering the production herd, that is likely true. However, to have females raising calves for 10, 12 or more years, and to have cows that suit your production goals and match your farm resources and management style, we believe you can never purchase as good of replacement females as you can raise. That even goes for females that we offer for sale. We might be able to set you up for fewer problems and less transition factors with females from Turtle Rock, but your own replacements, raised in your environment, with your soil and forage are the best for you if you are in it for the long haul.

Our past herd bulls have contributed their genetics to many programs. Baros of Alcan Angus is behind the Crackerjack and Oscar lines of cattle. The famous OSU Empress cow that is behind a long list of breed foundation sires goes back to our Evaluation 454 bull, and H&H Rito 0715 is found in pedigrees of T510, Objective, 2T22 and others.

We will be introducing these older bulls back into future calf crops as time and numbers permit. The older foundation sires will be competing against our new herd bulls. We know that they will help maintain capacity and efficiency, as well as breed traits. EPD’s will suffer due to the formulas used to calculate the EPD numbers, but we will see what happens regarding the quality of cattle.

We think that our current herd sires are fitting together in some dynamic combinations. TL Bandolier 802 is a SVF Bandolier son with good feet and legs and plenty of thickness. His first daughters calve in spring 2007, but with his 14 star markers, there is little doubt of his and their value. PGA Porterhouse is a potential breed phenomenon. He was a 6 frame at weaning, not much over a 5 at yearling, and now as a 3 year old well under a 5 frame. Just think- fast early growth, maximum dollar return on 12-14 month old weights, and then replacement heifers that are going to maintain efficiency that comes with 1100-1200 # cows. He had an adjusted 16.4 REA and is by Meatpacker. His dam is about perfect. Perfect in size, udder, conformation, and disposition.
And now we have added Hoff Limited Edition. Limited Edition is an easy fleshing big bull. His 15 GeneStar DNA is spread across all 11 categories identified. His sons are passing on the desirable DNA just as he does. His pedigree is different than most, and he fleshes his massive size with a forage diet. We see him as the breed’s foremost efficient, easy fleshing big bull. We will be mixing him with the daughters of our other herd sires. To say we are excited about the potential of combining Limited Edition with our Bandolier and Porterhouse genetics is a drastic understatement.

Besides the power of our herd bulls, there are a few of our prominent cows under the Cow Power menu tab. We have flushed several powerful cows and have embryos for sale. Let us know if you would like to see an updated list of sale embryos. We will be having future flushes concentrating on proven bloodlines that are not readily available for regular AI use. The results will be some unique pedigrees with enormous potential.

And finally- the thing that makes cattle breeding so exciting- our new cow and calf crop. Our fall and spring sale bulls are few in number but exhibit excellent quality- right sized, right pedigreed, and gentle enough for anyone. Our crop of replacement heifers are uniform and what we are looking for. We would be pleased to visit with anyone about what that means to us. We had top performers by Bandolier and an outstanding sire group by Turtlerock Elluna Exec N29. He is a yearling bull that we raised from our very predictable Elluna cow and sired by Turtlerock Executive L29, another yearling bull that we used the year before. The remarkable thing about L29’s dam, Elluna G69, is her fleshing ability that goes hand in hand with her ability to shed off early in the season and have fewer flies on her body than our other cows. Her N29 bull calf was the first calf to shed off and he had the fewest flies when he was a yearling. His calves are very exciting in style and performance. We usually run one or two yearlings during their first summer, but since our yearlings are for sale, many of our natural calf-sires are only used one season. The few heifers that we have from N29 are not for sale. They are going to be kept together as a group to see what happens when they calve.
With our success in the GeneStar testing, we will soon have a meaningful data bank on cow families that can consistently produce scientifically proven genetics that add value to our time tested phenotypical selection process. What excitement to be able to combine all of these economic and functional elements into our calf crops more consistently each year!




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