Here at Weller Farms, we are what is referred to as a cow-calf operation. We have a herd of momma cows that produce calves for us. But once they have had the calves, what happens? We believe in keeping them together as a pair for the next 7 months. This allows the mom to do what she does best - take care of and feed her young calf! Meanwhile, the calf is growing and developing into a healthy calf on its momma's milk and the grass in the pasture just like cows should be doing.
At 7 months the calves are sorted and weaned from their mothers to a neighboring pasture just across the fence, so they can be given a different diet developed specifically for their age, size and program. This weaning is also done for the health of that momma cow. That way the calf is not taking vital nutrients away from her that she is needing as she prepares to begin the process of having her next calf. We like the across-fence weaning because it allows the mommas and calves to still find comfort in each other's nearby presence.
These weaned calves will be placed in one of our five programs we have here on our own farm, in our own pastures. We divide them based on several factors, including body characteristics and genetic makeup. The five programs include retail beef production, premium heifer sales, bull sales, farm internal replacement, or removing the animal from our herd.
Here at Weller Farms, we only allow a quality animal meeting our standards to have the Weller name on it. If they don't make the cut, we remove them from the herd. We sell that animal at a local cattle sale barn to allow another farmer to finish out the calf.
The calves in the retail beef herd are sorted again into three groups: traditionally fed steers, traditionally fed heifers, and grass-fed steers. We separate the calves into these groups to feed them more precisely, allowing for the best growth and the best tasting meat while honoring the desires of the customer.
Finally, when the retail beef calves reach the goal weight we bring them to a local family-owned butcher shop. We chose this shop not only because of their processing abilities but also because of the family atmosphere in their shop, their eagerness to go the extra mile in working with our customers, and us directly, to ensure everyone's needs are met.
We want to assure you that our animals are never fed antibiotics in their feed program, nor do we use growth hormones. They grow based upon the quality of our pastures, our hayfields and the feed program we put them on. Our pastures and hayfields are not sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. The only antibiotics we would ever administer is to a sick or injured animal who needs individual attention. Any residual antibiotics will be long gone by processing time.
We take pride in our mommas. Currently we have a herd of around 200 momma cows, ranging in age from 2 to 8 years old. Our cattle are Gelbvieh and Balancers, along with a number of purebred Black Angus. We prefer this because the Gelbvieh side of the genetics gives our momma cows superior motherly characteristics like high milk production, good maternal care traits and docility, and the Angus side gives us the carcass characteristics that customers look for in their beef such as rib-eye size and marbling.
We take as much pride in our breeding bulls. They have just as much to do with our desired genetics as the mommas. We use our bulls in several ways. They naturally reproduce with our cows, and we also collect their semen to be used in both our own operation and to sell to other farm operations.
When a bull is born on the farm, we determine if it will be sold, utilized by us as a breeding bull or used for steer beef production. Once the decision is made, it will be sorted and managed accordingly.
Our goal is to utilize only our own genetics, Well-Gen, on our farm. That way we can have as much control over the entire herd as we can with health, quality, and constancy being our goals.