Bull Genetics: Family Ranch Produces Seedstock For Improved Customer ProductWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Albin – By the time the Malm family made it from Sweden to southeastern Wyoming in the late 1800s, much of the land in the area that contained water and streams had already been homesteaded. There was land east of Albin, however, that appeared to be relatively flat, without too many trees.
“The drawback was, when they started to build, they had to haul water with teams and wagons, and they had to sled logs in from the hills north and northeast of the place to build with,” explains Andy Malm, great-grandson of the original Malm homesteader.
Wells had to be hand-dug, and the family faced a lot of obstacles, but they established their homestead on the plains.
“The advantage was, they got some land, but the disadvantage was, they faced some hardships,” Malm says.
Before long though, the operation was producing workhorses and sheep. In 1951, Malm’s father bought Hereford cows, beginning the cattle part of the operation.
“This was an old sheep ranch that Dad built into a herd of registered Herefords. That turned into what we do now, which is primarily raising bulls to sell private treaty,” he notes.
Malm Ranch now produces Angus, Red Angus, Simmental and Simmental-Angus bulls, in addition to their own composite breed known as Carcass Master.
“About 25 years ago, Dad saw the need for improvement in the carcass and end product,” Malm remarks.
Data from taste tests at the time revealed that beef was an inconsistent product, and consumers indicated that half of their beef eating experiences were not enjoyable.
“We started searching and using our registered lines of cattle for crossbreeding to raise a superior product for the plate,” Malm notes. “From that aspect and from work done at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay City, Neb., we ventured out to find a way to produce a better product and a better steak for the plate.”
Looking at the work they have done, the Malms believe that one of the most desirable steers comes from a cross between Angus and continental breeds, resulting in an animal with both high carcass quality and cutability.
“We try to produce an animal that improves a producer’s herd and the end product of their steers using our registered herd and our composite breeds,” Malm says.
“We also try to sell natural cattle that return the highest profit on a grid basis. Our end goal is to make sure ranchers don’t leave any dollars on the table and that they can sell these cattle on the grid and get the most profit potential that’s out there,” he continues.
Although they are two separate entities, the Malm family operates one ranch in Albin and one in LaGrange.
Gordon and Fanny Malm currently reside at the ranch near Albin, as do their children Martha and Howard, along with Howard’s wife Dixie and their four children – Timothy, Bethany, Cassady and Jessica.
Lynette (Malm) Hunter and her husband Ken help when needed with the Albin operation while Malm, his wife Stacy and their three children – Katelin, Karissa and Kaden – take care of business in LaGrange.
“At Albin, the ranch merchandises about 80 to 90 coming-two-year-old bulls annually by private treaty,” Malm comments. “We sell bulls, females and also semen by private treaty.”
Although the family used to host a Hereford bull sale, they found that private treaty sales better met the needs of their customers looking for sets of similar sires for their operations.
“We try to put together a group of bulls that are genetically similar and phenotypically similar, and that’s why we sell them private treaty,” Malm explains.
Most sales are geared toward two-year-old bulls, which are sound and ready to do their job out in the conditions of the Wyoming range.
“We always have bulls for sale at private treaty, and we enjoy trying to help ranchers achieve their goals and change their profitability,” he says.