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Grass-Fed Corriente Cattle Perform Well
Iowa farmers Rick Schlutz and his son, Marshal, operate Yoke S Ranch near Russell, Iowa, a profitable beef operation raising the rare Corriente breed that thrives on grass but doesn’t do well on grain.
Corriente cattle are in high demand at rodeos for team roping and steer wrestling competitions and for training cutting horses and cow dogs. The Schlutzes got their start in the late 1990’s when they bought a registered Corriente heifer and three registered cows.
Today they maintain a herd of 100 Corriente cows and about a quarter of each year’s yearlings are leased to team ropers and rodeos around the Midwest.
Corriente cattle can be traced back to the first cattle brought to the new world by Spanish explorers as early as 1493. They’re a smaller breed, with cows topping out at about 900 lbs. “The Corriente breed is noted for its gentle disposition and great athleticism. Both my son and I competed in team roping so when Marshal returned from college, we decided we should raise the breed we had become familiar with from our roping experience,” Rick says.
Their herd is grass-fed year-round on 250 acres of pasture, divided into four paddocks separated by high-tensile electric fence. The only additional nutrition the herd receives is 1 lb./head/day of dried distillers grain and soybean hulls. Rick says the grain mix is fed primarily as a means of “enticement” to move the cattle where you want to work or move them.
In addition to selling cattle to rodeos, the Schlutzes butcher about 30 head per year and sell the meat as Certified Corriente Beef through the Iowa Food Cooperative and to individuals through their website and word of mouth. “Corriente beef is 92 percent lean and low in cholesterol, on a par with bison meat and much lower than beef or pork in fat and cholesterol,” Rick says.
Another benefit the Schlutz family discovered about the Corriente breed is that the best-tasting meat comes from animals that are at least 3 or 4 years old. “It’s a common misconception that meat can’t be tender in older animals. We’ve butchered at 17 years old, and the meat from these older grass-fed cattle is still tender and tasty,” Rick says.
“If I couldn’t have Corriente cows, I wouldn’t have cows at all,” he adds. “We’ve calved more than 1,000 calves and never had to pull a calf. The calves are only 25 pounds when they’re born and we just don’t have a problem with birthing.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Yoke S Ranch, 41610 270th Ave., Russell, Iowa 50238 (ph 641 535-2483; www.yokesranch.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1