TOBY AND CHERRYL FORTE'

6006 EARLY BRANCH RD, MULBERRY AR 72947 - (972) 679-9898

 

 

 

 

 

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Success Builds Success - from front page

Wild Oak's Marketing Strategies

      Cherryl, who has served on the Board of Directors for Central State Beefmasters Breeders Association, Arkansas Beefmasters Breeders Association and on various BBU Committees, said her background in marketing gives her a strategic edge in the highly competitive beef industry. One of the biggest challenges she faces is effectively marketing  her seedstock and commercial animals since they have different channels of distribution. Their website, www.wildoaksfarms.com, has brought sales from across the nation.

     Cattlemen in the Southeast like black cattle, and the Fortes are developing a black Beefmaster herd without sacrificing quality or breed traits. "This process has been slow because we do not want to sacrifice any quality for color," Cherryl said.

Herd Health    

     “Our farm is Johne’s free”,  Cherryl said. They recently participated in the state-funded Johne’s testing program. She also said that the key to good, healthy cattle are mineral supplements. They practice regular de-worming, vaccinations and use a combination of minerals, permethrin and ear tags to control flies.  "We are also very fortunate to have two outstanding local veterinarians who work with us," Cherryl said.

Feeding Practice    

     One of the most effective feeding practices the Fortes use is keeping cows with similar needs together.  “A first calf heifer won’t get in there and fight at the feed trough with the other cows,” Cherryl explained. Wild Oaks Farm also groups the cows according to lactation cycle, and feed range cubes and creep when needed. While building their seedstock operation, they have started contracting the hay and grazing their hay land.

New Technology
     Toby said they have been using embryo transfers (ET) seriously for the last two years, using their Beefmaster females for recips.  He said that although the price of an ET calf adds $500 to the cost of a conventional calf, the profit potential far outweighs the cost. “By using AI and ET we are able to breed for selected traits and jump ahead two to four generations yearly,” he said. 

     Their embryologist is Dale Whitaker, of Geiger AL, whom Cheryl said is “the best in the business”. Their success rate supports their claim with an 83 percent pregnancy rate on their best flush and an overall average of 65 percent to 68 percent.

Herd Improvement  

     This month Wild Oaks Farm will start carcass ultrasound testing in their breeding stock.  The data will be a breeding development tool since it provides an actual IMF (intramuscular fat) and rib eye score, unlike EPDs based on predictability.  Toby and Cherryl travel across the nation to buy the best donor females they can find.  “We are developing one of the strongest Beefmaster herds in the nation. Our main focus is to increase farm profitability by developing those traits in our commercial and purebred cattle," Cherryl said. They also have access to one of the best bulls in the US. Their herd bull, Crown  Prince 920,  was  the 2006 National Beefmaster Bull Grand Champion.


         Toby and Cherryl make every effort to learn from other producers. When  they tour operations around the country, they always ask “what are the best and worst things that have been done?”     
"Success builds on success," Cherryl said.

Please note that these are not the cow photos originally published in the article.


 
 
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Sweet Georgia Peaches Classic Sale, May 28, 2005 in Covington, GA.

 

 

Wild Oaks Farms, Volume Buyers, take home 13 head from the heart of the Schell breeding program!  (more)