Bullis Creek Ranch is owned and operated by Quentin and Anita Brawner and son Rob and his wife Brenda and family. The ranch is located in the Sandhills of North Central Nebraska. We are south of Wood Lake, a small town along Highway 20 between Valentine and Ainsworth, Nebraska.
Our family has been raising cattle for many generations. The original family farm is located in Delevan, Illinois. Rob’s dad Quentin raised Registered Polled Herefords for many years along with commercial cattle. In the late 1960’s Angus bulls were used on the Hereford cowherd. Quentin realized the benefits of crossbreeding and looking to the future began to investigate the new continental beef breeds that were coming into North America via artificial insemination. After trying different breeds, Limousin was identified as being the best suited for our operation and environment. They fit our management scheme very well. We found Limousin cattle to be very easy calving and vigorous at birth which was a necessity as the cowherd was calved out in the foothills in rugged country where it was next to impossible to keep watch over them during calving. Our calving pasture was comprised of three sections of unfenced tree covered terrain with deep draws and steep hills.
Quentin also foresaw the need for a breed that would increase meat yield and beef production. Limousin did this better than any other breed while remaining moderate sized, were winter hardy and very good forage converters.
At this point in time there were virtually no Limousin genetics available so A.I. was the only option as a way to utilize these new genetics. On a large scale this was impractical due to the terrain and pasture size so a small purebred herd was started to produce bulls for use in a majority of the cowherd. One thing led to the next as the purebred herd grew we soon had neighbors and area cattleman interested in buying Limousin seed stock from us. With this the cowherd grew to its present size of 150 females.
In the early 1990’s Red Angus was used A.I. on the commercial replacement heifers that were by this time fairly high percentage Limousin. This cross-worked very well and Red Angus proved to have very predictable “necessity traits” such as calving ease, growth, mothering ability and moderate mature size. Red Angus also has excellent carcass traits that complemented our Limousin base.
In keeping with what we have always told our bull customers “if you have used more than 2 generations of one breed, you need to switch breeds to take advantage of heterosis.” So in 1994 it seemed logical to start a purebred herd of Red Angus to provide genetics for not only our commercial herd but for our bull customers as well. We decided that it would be advantageous to start out with 100% 1A breeding stock. We have incorporated seedstock from some of the best herds in the US and Canada for our foundation. The commitment was made to buy the best, so it has been a slow process getting started with a limited budget. We have always felt that quality was #1 not quantity.
” Then ” January 23,1902 — Load of Shorthorn steers and heifers bred and raised by Henry Brawner, age 89, Delevan, Il. Average weight 1577 lbs., price $7.25 per hundredweight, .70 cents higher than any other cattle sold that day. Yielded 67.2 dressing percent.
“Now “ The cowherd grazes on native sandhills pasture with minimal inputs.