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American Cattleman magazine features DeBruycker Charolais

Thu 06 Mar, 2014

DeBruycker Charolais Help Create Profitability for Producers

By Steve Weisman

With a guarantee that offers high quality bulls and females, genetics that create profitability for the producer and reliable service, is it any wonder that Charolais producers are preparing for the April 5 DeBruycker Charolais Bull Sale at Western Livestock Auction near Great Falls, MT. Roger Peters, owner of Dragging Y Cattle Co., Dillon, MT and a longtime satisfied customer of DeBruycker Charolais says this about the annual sale. “I am very pleased with DeBruycker Charolais bulls. It’s obvious the feeders like them too as the DeBruycker genetics have helped us see good premiums for our calves.

The DeBruycker bull sale is a bargain

When you compare the money being spent for the quality of bull you get, the bulls are really inexpensive.’ Roger goes on to say, “ Calving with DeBruycker bulls is no different than using black bulls. We calve in six groups of 1000 head each with one guy to watch over them and it’s real rare for us to have a big calf.”

For producers that can’t be on hand, the DeBruycker Charolais Bull Sale will be featured Live on Rural TV through Superior Livestock Auctions, so those interested can buy DeBruycker Bulls no matter where they are – and as Brett DeBruycker, says, “We ship bulls all over North America and our genetics are used all over the world!”

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Building success

Third-generation Montana ranchers, the DeBruyckers have been in the ranching industry for nearly 100 years, with almost half this time spent raising purebred Charolais cattle and Charolais bulls. At the fore of this large family-run business, you’ll find Lloyd and Jane DeBruycker, nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in promoting the Charolais breed. After more than 40 years in the business, Lloyd and Jane remain directly involved in the operation. Of their seven children, four are directly involved and the other three assist where and when they can – most all sell bulls in the annual sale.

charolais bulls

A family affair

For 43-year-old Brett DeBruycker, the sixth child and the general overseer of the Charolais operation and specifically in charge of marketing and advertising of the bulls and females, the DeBruyckers are a close-knit family. Lloyd, at age 80, and Jane, at age 77, continue to be integral players in the operation. “Dad and Mom are two of the hardest workers I have known,” says Brett. “They keep saying they are going to slow down one of these days, but I don’t see that happening much. They love the Charolais cattle and interaction with our customer friends too much to quit.”

As for the rest of the DeBruycker children, all of them are in one way or another part of the Charolais story. Tammy, age 56, is the oldest sister and a professor at Columbia Basin College. Even though she is away from the ranch, she and her husband own Charolais and sell bulls in the annual sale.

Mark, age 55, is an integral part of the DeBruycker ranch. “Mark owns the feedlot where we develop our bulls and breed our heifers. His family and he farm and have both purebred Charolais cattle and a commercial cow operation. Mark, Dad and I are partners in our cattle feeding operation, and much of that is centered around the feedlot,” notes Brett.

Meanwhile, 53-year-old Cathy and her husband Joe farm and raise Charolais on their ranch and market bulls at the annual sale.

The bookkeeping duties for all of DeBruycker Charolais are handled by 51-year-old daughter Jacque. “Jacque takes care of all of the record keeping and registrations for the organization. She has Charolais cows and markets Charolais bulls as well.”

Kelly, age 50, and her husband Bruce farm and ranch less than an hour away, they utilize DeBruycker bulls and their two sons carry on the registered Charolais bloodlines as well.

Jody, age 40, and her husband have a commercial cow operation and employ DeBruycker bulls on their cows. Jody is in charge of the on-line marketing and assists with the advertising of DeBruycker Charolais.

According to Brett, the next generations are coming into the industry. “As our parents gave the seven of us the chance to be a part of DeBruycker Charolais, we hope to give our children the same opportunity.” Currently, that means 26 grandchildren and six great grandchildren, he notes with a smile.

debruycker family

It began with one

The DeBruycker story began simply enough with one, that’s one, Charolais bull. Initially, they used the Charolais in a cross-breeding program on their commercial cattle and found they were seeing a tremendous gain in red meat production and an incredible enhancement in the quality of the beef. However, it wasn’t until 1963, after purchasing 12 percentage Charolais heifers and using artificial insemination that the foundation was set for the DeBruycker Charolais cattle herd. Now over 50 years later, DeBruycker Charolais has grown to include over 2,000 purebred Charolais mother cows, which constitutes the largest Charolais herd in the world. In addition, they now have an 8,500 head feed yard, market 20,000-30,000 head of fat cattle each year and on average market 850-900 purebred Charolais bulls per year.

At the core of this incredible growth is the DeBruycker family love for and belief in their Charolais breed. Their goal is to continue to nurture and enhance the Charolais breed with a mission crafted by Lloyd DeBruycker: “to create an eye-appealing package with calving ease, extensive growth and profitability for commercial producers.” Through their knowledge and expertise, DeBruycker’s have sold broodstock throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, South America and even as far away as Korea. At the same time, semen from DeBruycker herd sires has been sold to all of these countries, as well as to Australia.

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A cut above

Brett says that keeping the course has made a huge difference. “It’s easy to chase fads, but we avoided doing that. We have always stayed focused on what makes the commercial rancher money.” This includes three key factors:

  • • It all starts with bulls that produce calves that calve well. “In other words, our breeding provides calves with small heads, smooth shoulders and good length of body. Plus, the calves have good vigor and a desire to live!”
  • • Secondly, growth of DeBruycker stock is outstanding with excellent natural performance. “Our genetics have been bred to utilize feed efficiently. Calves sired from our bulls show more pounds of gain per pound of feed.” This means a bigger bang for the buck for both ranchers and cattle feeders.
  • • Finally, through the DeBruycker feedlot, data shows that their purebred Charolais will grade and yield as well as any in the cattle industry. “Our extra purebred Charolais heifers continually process at 85 to 90 percent choice or prime and yield grade of 85+ percent 1s and 2s.” As a result, packers welcome DeBruycker Charolais genetics.

The bottom line? “We have a great demand for our cattle whether it is from ranchers, feeders or packing companies. We believe in our genetics, and it is our goal to continue to grow the operation and ensure that our customers continue to get the kind of Charolais cattle they want and need to assure profitability for their operation.”

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30th anniversary

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the DeBruycker Charolais Bull Sale. Reflecting back, Brett says, “In 1984, our sale included around a 100 bulls. Now we consistently market about 850-900 bulls annually.” Certainly, individual animals can sell for quite a bit of money, but “what we are most proud of is that the bulk of the bulls all sell affordably for commercial ranchers, and with our herd uniformity, it doesn’t matter whether you purchase bull number 1 or 500, the quality is very strong all the way through the sale.”

As for the April 5 sale, he adds, “It really goes pretty fast. We will sell about 500 bulls in about five hours at the annual sale; the rest are then sold via private treaty.”

charolais bull sale

Photo: Previous year bull sale

Brett notes that the future will be a continuation of the present. DeBruycker Charolais will continue to provide customers with quality genetics and herd uniformity and an ongoing mission to create an eye-appealing package with calving ease, extensive growth and profitability for commercial producers.

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