Welcome to Copeland & Sons Herefords LLC
This is a “NO Nonsense, REAL World” cattle operation.
The ranch was established in 1943 (then called Jack Copeland and Sons Herefords) by Jack and Mary Alice Copeland and Jack’s parents Otis R. and Belinda Copeland.
The ranch was strictly a commercial Hereford operation in the beginning and then diversified into a combination registered and commercial Hereford operation. Although from the beginning ranch cattle were exhibited at shows locally and nationally, the cattle have always been bred for survival under range conditions and to produce all of the performance our severe southwest climate will allow.
Strict performance records, feedlot testing, and even ultrasound scans and DNA evaluations are a part of the Copeland protocol. Today the ranch is even more diverse, not only selling registered and commercial Herefords, but also F1 black baldy replacement heifers and Maine Anjou cattle. A premier club calf division has also been established.
Clifford and his wife Barbara took over the management of the ranch in 1959. In 1983 Cliff and his wife Pat moved home and joined the family operation. Finally, Matt makes the fifth generation to continue the quest of producing the best cattle possible for our customers.
Northeastern New Mexico, with an elevation of about 4,500 feet, is the location of the ranch. This is known as “short grass” country. When adequate rain occurs, the grass is exceptionally strong and world-class gains can be achieved.
This environment can be severe. Annual rainfall is 15 inches in the good years. Temperatures can range from 110 degrees in the summer to minus 15 in the winter with chill factors down to minus 40 or more at times. Snow is a part of life here as well. The snow is almost always wind driven. It is normal for the wind to blow year round and in the spring months the wind blows 20 to 40 MPH on a daily basis. The old timers say we are always only 30 minutes away from a drought.
Getting the Work Done
We are very fortunate that the time-honored tradition of neighboring up to get the spring branding and fall shipping and cow work done is a part of our life. The best help, the best neighbors and friends are found in our working crew. It is like a social event . Great food, great stories, and occasional pranks make hard work a lot of fun.
The cattle are still gathered and worked on horseback. The commercial calves are still heeled with a rope and drug to the branding fire. The registered calves are run through a calf table.
It takes a special cow to fit our extreme environment.
The registered cattle are run under the exact same conditions as our commercial cows in order to prove that our registered cattle actually fit our environment and the commercial industry.
The cows must calve out on the range, get their calf up, nursing and often times fight off predators at the same time.
As a rule, the cows are not fed hay and must produce a good calf on grass and range cube supplementation.
There are no irrigated pastures here. Weaned heifer calves get to spend some time on wheat pasture and that is the only pampering they receive during their entire life on the ranch.
Medium size cattle seem to fit our area and customers the best.
Too much milk can be a problem with breed back, tends to shorten cow udder life, and adds a lot to cow maintenance costs.
Fertility is our only maximum trait. All others traits must be in balance with the environment.
Percent live calves is more important than any other trait when it comes to making a profit.
All cows must produce a calf every year in a 60 day breeding season or they are culled.
Convenience traits are high priority.
— Good teats and udders are one of the Hallmarks in our herd. We have no time to get cows in to get calves to nurse.
— Bad dispositions are rare but not tolerated.
— Good feet are a must because of the distance these cows are required to travel.
Our cattle are bred and selected from the ground up. If cattle are not structurally correct they self-eliminate in this rugged environment.
We utilize every tool available to help us select and produce better cattle. This includes performance records, EPDs, and feedlot testing. Also DNA technology specific to Herefords is evolving and we are most excited to start incorporating that into our selection process. We have not forgotten that the “Eye of the Master” is also essential to incorporate everything into a useable package.
Matt was selected as the 2011 Hereford Herdsman of the Year. A once in a lifetime honor.
We have always felt like performance cattle don’t have to be ugly!
As a rule we show our breeding cattle and don’t select for show cattle.
That being said we try to get to some of the major shows every year and see how our cattle stack up.
We sell heifers and steers to junior exhibitors and it is rare when we don’t have animals at Hereford Junior Nationals.
Our cattle seem to always be competitive, and have done quite well down through the years.