Our Herd

Today, our herd is Black Angus.  A lot of the best genetics in the Black Angus breed are developed in Montana and we take advantage of that.  The trick is to find the right genetics within the Black Angus breed that perform well with the resources that our ranch landscape provides.

Like many cow-calf ranches in Montana, the Alton Ranch calves in February and March and weans a 700-pound calf in October.  Historically, those calves have been shipped to a feedyard in the Midwest, to be finished as grain-fed beef by the time they turn 14 months old.  Our cattle perform well in that production model, but our focus has changed.

We would like our cattle to finish on the ranch, eating the grass Mother Nature meant for them to eat as ruminating animals.  To do that, we have moved to a slightly smaller body size, and we keep the calves one year longer -- instead of finishing them on grain in the Midwest at one year of age, they finish on grass on the ranch at two years of age.  A smaller body size is more conducive to this.  Fortunately, we have the genetics available within the Black Angus breed to do that.

Why Black Angus?  The breed has a genetic trait for good marbling (fat within the meat, i.e. intra-muscular fat) which makes it juicy and adds to its flavor.  Plus the fat from grassfed animals is high in omega-3s, which is desirable for human health.  Black Angus do well in the environmental conditions we have here -- with their dark pigment they don’t get sunburned udders, they take to the cold well, and they’re not afraid to climb our mountainous terrain. The cattle we select tend to have good dispositions and to be good mothers.  The breed has been in Montana for a long time and they are well adapted to the conditions here.

Why Grassfed Beef?  Click here

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Alton Ranch Grassfed Beef   |   513 Varney Road   |   Ennis, Montana  59729

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