I bought a Romagnola bull from Cherokee Ranch about a year and a half ago and bred him to a mixed herd of cattle. In this herd were several Brahmastein (Brahma x Holstein) cows with a very small frame, weighing about 700-800 pounds. Before we put the Romagnola bull in with our cows, we had a Beefmaster bull running with them. When the cows started calving around the end of February, we lost the first eight calves in a row. They were all out of the Beefmaster bull, and we figured the calves died because they were slow to start in the cold and didn’t get up and nurse. They had no vigor about them. The next group to calve were out of the Romagnola bull, and they dropped in the same weather conditions as the first eight. In this next group were about twenty calves that all hit the ground about the same time, all unassisted, and we didn’t lose one of them. They were small at birth, weighing around 40-60 pounds, and we thought they were mighty puny. But they were up following their mothers within an hour, and within two weeks, you could see them growing like weeds right before your eyes! The next group had another thirty-three calves that were also out of the Romagnola bull, and they all lived and were unassisted at birth. The same story repeated itself with this group. That is, they were the same small calves that exploded at about two to three weeks of age. Out of 53 calves we did not lose a one, and they were exceptionally gentle and easy to handle.
Then the drought hit, and the grass dried up and our fields looked like a parking lot. Some of the grass never came back. The calves kept growing and all we gave the cows was plain grass hay and a little eared corn about twice a week. We weaned the first group of twenty calves without steering the 13 bulls in the group, and sold them at the local sale barn. The thirteen bulls averaged 90 cents/pound and the heifers averaged 83 cents/pound, weighing between 700 and 750 pounds. These calves had no creep and they were weighing in the 700 weight at 6 ½ to 7 months of age. This amazed us! They did better that just about anything else sold that day, including Charolais and Simmental calves, and the buyers didn’t even know what they were! Our second group of 33 calves will wean off averaging around 750-850 pounds, and many will be as big as their mothers at 8 to 8 ½ months of age.
I was always amazed when I would look at advertisements for this breed or that, and they would have a cow-calf pair pictured. The calf was always shown l/2 to 2/3 the size of the cow. But I’m not impressed anymore after seeing some of my calves as big or bigger than their mothers at weaning. A few are even taller! No one believed me when I told them, so I took a picture of one of the bull calves standing beside his 800 pound mother in my holding pen. The only way I could get the two to stand still was to throw a little shell corn in a feed trough. The calf weighs about 850 pounds at around eight months of age. I know the buyers are looking at that growth potential and the lean muscle on these calves. We can make money selling calves like these.
I am 100% satisfied with the Romagnola cross and would not go back with
another bull after seeing this calf crop. We highly recommend you try one and
see if you don’t get the same results.