Longhorns More Than Just A Pretty Face

US - The Texas Longhorn, America's oldest breed of cattle, has bounced back from near-extinction and is now trying to horn in on the Idaho beef industry. Giving the breed a hand are Dusty and Melissa Weitz, who are promoting the Idaho Texas Longhorn Producers Association, organized in January as an affiliate of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America.
calendar icon 4 May 2007
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A Texas Longhorn cow surveys its pasture on the Flying DW Ranch near Viola, Idaho. Owners are Dusty and Melissa Weitz.

Dusty is a dentist in Moscow, Idaho. He and Melissa are a couple of 4-H kids who grew up enjoying the rural life and decided a few years ago to get into cattle.

They bought their first Texas Longhorns in June 2004, after a Texas friend invited them to an auction.

The Weitzes came home with three bred cows and a calf. Twenty breeding cows and three bulls - all but one registered Texas Longhorns - now grace their 140-acre operation, the Flying DW Ranch, on Fourmile Creek, tucked up against the western side of the Palouse Range of the Clearwater Mountains.

Idaho Texas Longhorns will be exhibited at the Riggins Rodeo on May 5-6. The Weitzes said the ITLPA will sponsor a calf scramble and a raffle for longhorn beef.

Why Texas Longhorns, besides their image as the living symbol of the Old West? Melissa was quick to answer. "They're not very high-maintenance," an important consideration for part-time ranchers with jobs in town. Dusty said Longhorn producers don't spend a lot of time pulling calves.

Easy calving and strong mothering traits are part of the Texas Longhorn's market value.

"Some Hereford and Angus producers breed heifers to Longhorn bulls for their first calves," Melissa said. That's because the Longhorn's smaller calf size results in easier births.

With about 100 head, Dean Goodner of Kuna is Idaho's largest registered Texas Longhorn breeder. He said two elements come into play in the Longhorns' easy breeding characteristics.

Source: Capital Press
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