Thursday, March 29, 2012

History of Spade Ranch

Originally, the Spade Ranch two different ranches, which histories have linked together by the barbed wire and brand, the two ranches were ran by John F. Evans and J. Taylor Barr. Evans ran the first ranch, which was in the Panhandle of Texas. He and his company bought 23 sections of land from the J. A. Reynolds in Donley county. Evans partnered up with Warner and together they branded and herded the first cattle to the newly bought land. Nearby the Glenwood Creek they would establish their first camp, which was moved to the Barton Creek. The Barton Creek establishment would become the headquarters for the entire ranch. Both Evans and Warner had other business matters to deal with and turned over the management of the Spade Ranch to Baldy Oliver and Dave Nall. Alfred Rowe worked with the Spade Ranch to help establish his own operation, which was called the RO Ranch during 1880-1881. The Spade Ranch had their pastures fenced under the supervise of Warner. Barr was working our of his headquarter in near Renderbrook Springs in Mitchell County to run his ranch, which called the Renderbrook Ranch. However, in 1882 Dudley H. and John W. Snyder bought the ranch from Barr and later added more land. The ranch grows to be about 300,000 acres in four different counties. In late 1880s there was a hard drought followed by a bad blizzard. This caused the Spade Ranch to be sold to Isaac L. Ellwood, who also received the brand of the ranch and some 800 cattle. Ellwood later purchased the Renderbrook Ranch from the Snyder brothers, which Ellwood put the Spade Ranch cattle on. In 1902, Ellwood would add another 262,000 acres to the Spade Ranch. Ellwood appointed his oldest William Leonard as the manger of the ranch. IN 1910 Ellwood died leaving his two sons both of the ranches. The sons divided the ranch into sections and solved the water problem by using wells and windmills. In total, the both sons had about 30,000 head of cattle. The Renderbrook Ranch was used mainly for breeding and the Spade Ranch was used to graze the cattle. Before 1908, about 3,000 to 5,000 head of cattle were taken to the nearest railroad, usually Bovina or Amarillo, to be sent to market in Kansas. Between 1908 and 1912, the cattle were driven to Abernathy, then place on a train to go to market. By 1912 the Santa Fe Railroad had reach Littlefield, which meant that the cattle did not have to be driven far. In 1924, W. Ellwood had made the northern acreage of the Spade Ranch available as farmland. In 1926, about 80 percent of this land been sold and the town of Spade was now near the old headquarters. Due to the Santa Fe Railroad cutting across the Spade Ranch other new towns began to appear, such as Anton, Ropesville, Wolfforth, and Smyer. In the 1970s, the Spade Ranch began to use embryo transplantation in their breeding program.

By: Allen H. Anderson


Monday, March 26, 2012

Spade Ranch Breeding Program

The Spade Ranch currently use a four breed rotational breeding program that always them to have enough replacements to maintain their own herds. The idea of this program is to get best heterosis and to moderate the frame size of the cattle. Crossbreeding is not something new for the Spade Ranch, the people who first bought the ranch in 1889 started by using Shorthorns and Herefords to help in better breeding of the Longhorn cattle. In the late 1960s, Dub Waldrip becomes the president and CEO for the Spade Ranch. He went to Europe in search of better genetic and he brought back the Brown Swiss and Simmental breeders in hope of increasing the heterosis. The four breeds used today are the Angus, Hereford, Braunvieh, and Simmental. At the start of this program the ranchers wanted to the English breeds to help moderate growth and size of the Continental breeds, while adding growth, muscle, and yield to the English breeds. Eventually the cattle began to produce too much milk and became too large for the environment at the ranch. This caused the ranch to introduce some Jersey bulls in hope of reducing the size of the cattle.

From  Wes Ismael "Practical Composite" 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012