The Oaks may be new to the Brangus breed, but are not new to
the business of seedstock production.
The Kasslers own The Oaks Farms Brangus in Newnan, Georgia, which is just 50 miles southwest of Atlanta. The Kasslers spent 20 years producing registered Polled Herefords and dispersed that herd in October 2006. Their first Brangus cattle were already purchased six months prior waiting to be shipped to Georgia.
“We found it extremely difficult to market our Polled Hereford bulls in the Southeast, so half of our calf crop annually was going to the feedlot. This area has only a few large commercial operations that utilize Polled Hereford bulls, and at best we could sell five to ten bulls a year,” explains Kassler.
The switch to Brangus was based on research, discussions with commercial producers and their professional contacts at Auburn University, other breeders, commercial cattlemen and personal experience. The Kassler's had purchased a 100 head of commercial Brangus females several years prior to use as recipients for their embryo transfer program.
“This can be a hot and humid environment. The Brangus cows adapted to it quickly and we were very pleased with their ease of calving, mothering ability, udder quality, overall efficiency and we found them to be very low maintenance. Plus we knew we wanted a moderate-sized breed that would fit our environment, our operation and management style and would provide marketing channels for both sexes,” describes Kassler, who is also involved in designing and building commercial bank building all over the U.S..
In the Spring of 2006, the Kasslers decided that Brangus was their breed of choice and that they would run both a purebred and commercial operation. Then, through additional research they decided to purchase their first set of purebred Brangus cattle from Camp Cooley Ranch. They purchased 125 females and 50 embryos to be delivered in the Fall. In addition, they added another 200 head of commercial Brangus females to be ready to be utilized as recips.
“We studied the program, the genetics, the services of Camp Cooley and were impressed with the depth of the genetics, as well as the longevity of this herd, tracing back to the original Brinks breeding. Plus we found the service aspect to be awesome and the knowledge of Ken Hughes, Mark Cowan and Joe Fuller, who was with them at the time, provided such credibility and potential,” he says. The Kasslers also realized that with Brangus they would have a strong female market and that the bulls could be sold across a wider spectrum than their previous breed.
“We wanted to be able to be in a breed, where there was a market for range bulls, but also herd sires and even show bulls,” Kassler adds. One area that was an incentive for the Kasslers to purchase from Camp Cooley was the bull marketing program. Since they are so close to Atlanta, land availability is becoming a big issue. Camp Cooley 's bull program allows them to wean their bull calves and ship to Texas and then use that land for their females, which in their opinion adds to their efficiency.
They are currently running 375 momma cows on two ranches that are just a few miles apart, which includes the registered and commercial cows and calves and have the capacity to run about 400 mommas, once the current drought is over.
At the November 2006 Camp Cooley Sale, the Kasslers made a statement about the direction of their program, by purchasing interests in Csonka and Unitas as well as the donors 392R18 and 535R11. In this spring's Customer Appreciation Sale, The Oaks added a flush from one of the greatest cows in the breed, Miss Brinks Transformer 795H from fellow breeder Mike Weathers of Genesis Ranch.
Brangus and Camp Cooley fit the Kasslers' business plan of producing one of the highest quality seedstock herds in the nation and they are excited to now be a part of the breed. Camp Cooley is excited to have them as one of their cooperators.