Ted started his interest in Angus cattle with a registered Angus heifer and registered Angus steer for his 4-H project in 1959 at the age of 11. The current herd was begun in 1995 here outside of Greencastle in Putnam County Indiana.
In putting the herd together key goals were set before the first cattle were purchased.
- 1. This would be a performance Angus seedstock herd to support the commercial cattleman and improve their bottom line profit and that of WTR
- 2. Fertility, structure, and longevity would be critical elements to that profitability and should be built into our herd
- 3. Provide the right kind and type of Angus bulls for the commercial and registered cattleman to improve their bottom line
- 4. Herd health is, and will become an even greater concern of the cattleman... so protect it at great cost
With these goals in mind we have appreciated the many conversations and assistance of Henry Gardner, Bill Rishel, Jim & Bob Sitz, Leo McDonnell, and Keith Van Dyke. Chuck Brost and Bob and Cathy Watkins were also instrumental in those early years. To all these folks we are deeply indebted for the time, advice, and longstanding relationships.
In early trips to Montana and Nebraska in 1996-97 we became interested in two bulls: B/R New Design 036 and Traveler 124 GDAR. We also went to Bill and Barb Rishel's and purchased B/R Primrose 6172 (an '036' daughter). The next year we purchased 6 mature pathfinder cows, 8-10 years of age, for proven fertility and longevity. Those cows were led by Sitz Henrietta Pride 1800 and Sitz Pride 80. Some of those cows stayed with us until 16 years of age! Later we did a flush of Traveler 124 GDAR to Sitz Barbaramere Nell 1623, their top donor by VDAR New Trend 315. Our last major purchase was from Chuck Brost where we acquired Brost Miss Traveler 708, the dam of our outstanding donor, WTR Miss Traveler 903. Today over half of our herd traces back to these cows... a testament to the goals we set, our commitment to continually striving to meet the bar of expectations, and the type of cattle represented by this foundation group and the breeding programs behind them. Today, these cow families still produce most of our top cattle... both bulls and females.
We were told long ago that anyone can trade cattle, but to be a true cattlemen you have to learn to "breed up your own herd". Good advice and you will see that reflected in the generations of 'WTR' prefixes on our pedigrees. Nonetheless, we know that there are animals and genetics that can assist us in that herd development. We continue to scour the country to add to and improve our own genetics. In order to maintain purity of the herd health, that genetic input has come thru extensive use of AI and embryo purchase from outside herds.
In 2015 we had two major developments. Our son, Josh, came home to be involved with the program and is now the Herd Manager. Second, we made major commitments to cost competitive feed programs. We purchased a vertical mixer and embarked on a 3 year capital expenditure to improve our feeding set up with concrete bunk pads for 3 cow groups and one bull group. We have already seen the improvement in nutriment, cost control for feed inputs, and reduction in time and labor from the program.
As we look forward, we are very optimistic for the Angus cattle business. The Angus cow is a remarkable animal. Good mothers. Provide excellent growth. Angus is a profitable business breed with a strong national association. And the customer gets an excellent steak. It is WIN - WIN across the board.