50 Year History of Bieber Red Angus
Written by our founder, Ron Bieber
In July of 1961, my brother Leroy and I were looking for a place to produce good beef cattle, so we purchased Julius Binder’s and Frank Sieh’s properties amounting to 2300 acres. In September of that year, I was called in to the army as a result of the Cuban missile crisis and while serving for ten months, Leroy and I purchased some available land from Jacob Jakober. This purchase expanded our operation to 3600 acres. In the spring of 1962, we began tagging all cows and calves and started keeping weaning weight records. At that time, we were calving mostly Hereford cows bred to Hereford bulls. We also had a group of baldy calves that produced 60 pounds more at weaning than the Herefords. In 1964, Leroy and I split our operations and in the late winter Lois and I purchased our first Shorthorn bull from Fred Kiesz.
March of 1966 brought a tremendous blizzard our way. By the time we were able to dig out to find the cattle, some were four feet below the snow and still alive. We pulled them out and rolled them on to a toboggan to pull them home. We lost 30 Hereford cows, but were able to buy 35 Shorthorn cows later that spring that were bred to a polled Hereford bull. This purchase pushed us to convert our entire herd to crossbred cattle. We soon realized that systematic crossbreeding would result in superior weights, and we went from 380 to 560 pounds average weaning weight in a period of ten years. Crossbred cows eliminated pinkeye, cancer eye, and prolapse issues, and we had consistently better breed back.
In September of 1967, I decided that we would take a working vacation to Montana to search for the next cross on our herd. Our first stop was at Miles City to have a look at the USDA cattle research station where an acquaintance had success using Line 1 Herefords. Next, we took in the Montana Hereford tour looking at numerous herds and meeting with several Hereford breeders. When I said we were considering using Red Angus, one of the Hereford breeders from western North Dakota said, “Red Angus are like women’s hats—here today, gone tomorrow.” Twenty years later he started using Red Angus and no longer produces Herefords.
In October of 1968, I saw an ad in the Western Livestock Reporter for the sale of 50 registered Red Angus cows in May, Idaho. When I arrived, Gene Cook took me around for a tour of his Red Angus herd. I selected 14 cows which Gene delivered with a pot that was filled with feeder cattle headed to our area. The cows arrived in early December and we were officially a Red Angus Seedstock herd.
In the late 60’s, the beef cattle industry was changing rapidly. Suddenly, performance records became important and many cattlemen were looking for larger framed cattle. The pursuit of more frame and the introduction of continental breeds was recognized by keen observers of cattle breeding as something that could be detrimental to profitable beef production. A trip I took to Montana with Harlan Ritchie and Ora Erdmann enlightened me to this idea and gave us contact with many leading cattle breeders in the beef industry.
In September of 1969, R.C. Buckner of Tyler, Texas was having a Red Angus dispersion sale. Albert Erdmann and I made the trip in a two-ton truck to watch Buckner sell 750 head of Red Angus cattle. When we left, we ended up filling the truck with 20 head. After that, every chance we had we acquired more Red Angus cows and heifers. Soon our herd numbered 250 breeding females. In the fall of 1975, we sold our cross bred herd to Henderson Ranch of Lodgepole, South Dakota.
In 1975, we had difficulty selling bulls, so we made the decision to have a production sale at our Ranch. In May, we moved enough soil to form a level spot to put up an insulated Morton building. In those early years, we provided birth weight, weaning weight, and gain from weaning to yearling at each sale. Now we provide fourteen EPDs and eight weights and measurements.
In the spring of 1983, we purchased the west ranch from Harold Geffre. In the spring of 1988, we were able to purchase 800 acres from the Morrison Brothers, which was land that ran along the west side of our property. Then in the winter of 1989 we were offered the Jonathan Brenise place which was 480 acres. We presently have enough land to run 800 cows.