Coleman Angus

Published on Wed, 08/23/2023 - 11:37am

Coleman Angus.

 By Heather Smith Thomas.

 The Angus cow has been a staple in the livestock industry for many years.  Traditionally, this has always been a maternal breed. At Coleman Angus, the momma cow continues to be the staple. “Our breeding program revolves around producing the best maternal genetics possible,” says Larry Coleman. “We believe it all starts with the mother cow. We sort our cows hard for economically sound traits: longevity, fertility, fleshing ability, disposition, udder quality, efficiency, and structural soundness.”

Larry and Dee Coleman are third and fourth generation ranchers near Charlo, Montana. “In 1996, Dee and I started buying our first Angus females, which became the base of the Coleman Angus Ranch cowherd today.” This year we are celebrating 25 years in the Angus business.

Coleman Angus Ranch is a family operation. Everyone in the family is involved on a daily basis including Larry and Dee’s two children, Erica, and Dawson. “We are fortunate to have the opportunity to raise our children in this lifestyle. They have both graduated but are still here working on the ranch and helping us.”

Jeremy and Jenny Haag are fourth generation Angus breeders and also an integral part of this operation. They have been in the Angus business their whole lives and are passionate about agriculture and this way of life.

“We also have a great crew that work with us. We are very fortunate to have such an amazing team,” Larry says.

Growing up, he enjoyed taking steers to county fairs. As a sophomore in high school, he had a steer he thought had a good chance of winning Grand Champion.

McDonald’s typically bought the Grand or Reserve Champion Steer, so Larry named his steer “Big Mac.” The steer won, and McDonald’s bought him. The money was enough to make a down payment on 80 acres and a home, the current headquarters for the ranch.

“Cows are what built the ranch; they have always paid their way. They had to pay the bills. We knew there were many extremely successful ranches in Montana that have been here a long time so we decided that the only way we might make our program work was to identify the very best females we could and build around them.

“That’s why we are so focused on the momma cow. We quickly learned how much impact a great female has on a cow herd. We didn’t know if we could ever sell bulls but felt that if we focused hard on the maternal end of it we could build a strong maternal herd,” he says.

“We started with 3 donor cows and 10 commercial recipient cows and began marketing our cattle through the NILE and the female sale at Columbus, Montana. We started selling bulls via private treaty the first few years then had our first annual bull sale in February 2005 with 45 bulls. This spring, in 2023, we sold 175 bulls. Our first female sale was held in October 2004, and we’ve had a female sale in October ever since,” Larry says. This year is the 25th Annual “Your Maternal Source” female sale.

“Currently, we hold our annual bull sale the third Tuesday in February at Five

Valleys Livestock Auction in Missoula, Montana. Our annual female sale is held on the second Tuesday in October at our ranch in Charlo. Typically, we sell around 180 bulls with 110 being 18-month-old bulls and about 70 yearling bulls. We also have a monthly online embryo auction,” Larry says.

The female sale this fall will be unique because it will be the total dispersion of the entire fall-calving herd. “It will be bigger than what we generally do. We usually just have an annual production sale, selling 100 to 125 females,” Larry says.

This year it will be 600+ head, of which 100 will be a set of good commercial spring-bred heifers all AI bred to Coleman Easy Decision, and 500+ registered. “This will be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our customers to acquire good breeding stock,” says Jeremy. “We are selling the whole fall-calving herd and not holding anything back.”

In this sale there will be donor females, fall pairs with calves at side, and all heifer calves from the 2022 calf crop, including all the ET and natural heifers from the 2022 fall calf crop. “We culled them like we normally do. We took off any that didn’t meet our requirements, so this is an extremely good set of open heifers that we’ve never offered in our entire history—to not only choose from but to buy all of them,” Jeremy says.

“These are the newest, freshest genetics at Coleman Angus, and most of them will be embryo calves. We are very aggressive in our program, producing top genetics. The cows in this sale have been the heart of our program.” There will be many Pathfinder females; some dams and granddams of bulls in major AI studs will also be offered.

Coleman Angus will continue with their spring program. This sale will only be a dispersal of the fall program. The February bull sale will continue, and there will also continue to be a fall female sale, along with monthly on-line embryo auctions.

“We are too busy to continue doing both herds; it will simplify our work, to focus on one herd.” The female sale will be Tuesday, October 10 at the ranch, starting at noon.

“We encourage people to get rooms booked; our normal Headquarters for our female sale is already sold out of rooms. There will be prime rib dinner Monday evening before the sale, and visitors are always welcome.

“From the start, we identified the best cows we could find in the Angus breed,”

Larry says. “We built our herd on those and have been very aggressive in our ET program and feel very strongly about the momma cow.  All cattle selling in our female sale average in the top 3 or 4% for $M for the entire offering, and over one-third of those females will be in the top 1% of the breed for $M. Our herd is built on cows that prove themselves in the pasture, with proper calving intervals, production records, nursing ratios, feet, udders, fertility, Pathfinders, etc. Our genetic selection has been extremely focused on maternal traits,” he says.

The future for most breeders—whether purebred or commercial—depends on the cow if they want to stay in business. “You’ve got to have good cows, or it doesn’t work.

They are the factory.”