Building a Herd at Silver Springs Angus
Linda P. Hicks, North Carolina Angus Association
Starting with five commercial Angus cows purchased about five years ago, Preston and Erin Beth Pinkston have grown their herd to 60-plus brood cows. Currently they have 40-plus registered cows with some of the top bloodlines in the Angus breed plus 20 commercial cows that they use as recips in their embryo transfer program. What an accomplishment!
Erin Beth was raised on the farm where they live in the Aquadale community, located southwest of Albemarle, in Stanly County. They chose to name their farm Silver Springs Angus because the community was called Silver Springs Community back in the early 1900’s. Both her grandfather and father had cows, but she never worked with them before she and Preston started buying theirs. Preston was raised in Charlotte, where he said he never had a yard that was more than a quarter of an acre. His father had a lawn mower repair shop in Charlotte, and his grandfather had one in Wadesboro in Anson County.
When they bought the land for their house from Erin Beth’s family, they decided they wanted to start raising cattle. Cotton used to be grown on much of the land they now have in pasture. It was overgrown, and they thought they should be doing something with it. They cleaned it up, built high-tensile fences and planted fescue to establish pastures.
Preston and Erin Beth looked at a lot of different breeds before they chose Angus. Their former extension agent, Steve Lemons, told them Angus were the most marketable. He was a big help to them, answering lots of questions that they had as new breeders. Preston and Erin Beth bought their first registered cow at a Blue Q production sale and then another at the NC Angus Association’s Out West sale. They’ve bought several cows from Springfield Angus and Blue Q. They’ve also purchased from other producers in North Carolina - the Upper Piedmont Research Station in Reidsville, Wood Angus in Willow Spring, Uwharrie Ridge Farms in Asheboro, Gordon Brothers in Kings Mountain, and Brian Redfern at Quail Valley Angus in Indian Trail, NC. They’ve gone to neighboring South Carolina and purchased from Yon Family Farms in Ridge Spring and to Angus Hill in New York and Hillhouse Angus in LaGrange, Texas.
Preston and Erin Beth use all AI breeding. Erin checks for heat detection every day, and Preston does the breeding. Preston went to AI school through a program that Select Sires sponsored in Norwood. They synchronize for their embryologist, but use natural heat for the majority of the herd.
This year they have used some of the leading AI bulls. GAR Prophet, a high accuracy calving ease bull is one of the highest marbling bulls available in the Angus breed. His daughters are known for beautifully designed udders, and he ranks high in docility. EXAR Denver 2002B is a younger bull, but has great numbers on calving ease and growth. His great grandsire on his dam’s side is Bon View New Design 1407. Quaker Hill Rampage 0A36 is heavy muscled with impressive calving ease, growth potential, and outstanding carcass merit. R B Tour of Duty 177 is a calving ease curve bender who ranks in the top 2% for $W and $B indexes. Sydgen Black Pearl 2006 is a younger bull, big bodied with excellent feet and leg structure. He’s also low birth weight and high CED with outstanding carcass merit.
Preston and Erin Beth have approximately 30 acres of pasture at their house. They have waterers where the cows are, and there’s a pond in the pasture with their three donkeys. Additionally, they have 52 acres of leased pasture in Wadesboro, where they keep their commercial herd. They have two waterers and a pond in Wadesboro. They have two donkeys at the property in Wadesboro. They’ve recently leased 30 acres of pasture in Norwood. They have not put cows on this parcel yet, but their future plan is to put bred cows there and keep the calves at their house. Although they have heard coyotes at the home place, they have been fortunate not to have any problems with them.
Preston and Erin Beth feed fescue hay and corn silage. They use Crystlyx® protein tubs year round that they purchase from Blue Q. They use 17% protein tubs except in breeding season when they use the Crystalyx® Breed-Up® 28, which are 28% protein. They are specifically formulated with organic and chelated trace minerals and are designed to help beef cows to re-breed in a timely manner
Dr. Jeff Broadaway, with Rocky River Large Animal Veterinary Clinic in Pittsboro, NC, has been very helpful. Dr. Broadaway, a 2008 graduate of the North Carolina State University veterinary school, has a special interest in advanced cattle reproduction using embryo transfer. In addition to the advice he has given Preston and Erin Beth regarding their embryo transfer program, he has also suggested their vaccination protocol. They vaccinate the cattle once a year pre-breeding. They also vaccinate the calves pre-weaning, again post weaning, and then again at one-year old.
They deworm two to three times per year. They were using Cydectin®, but recently switched to Eprinex®. They use SweetLix® CopperHead® loose mineral year round.
Preston and Erin Beth have been trying to build their herd numbers and have kept most of their heifers. Their goal is to have about 100 brood cows. They expect to have about 50 calves this year. They have sold some bulls off the farm and are just now beginning to sell some females.
Their former livestock agent, Steve Lemons, told them a good way to market bulls and get their name out was to consign to the bull test stations. They’ve consigned to the NCBIP Butner bull test station for the last three years, to the NC Angus Spring Fever sale for two years, to the NC Angus Down East sale in 2015, to the NCBIP Waynesville bull test station in 2015, and to Bruce Shankle’s Stanly Select sale in 2016. They plan on doing all again this year. They are planning on consigning two bred heifers to the 2016 NC Angus Association Spring Fever sale – an EXAR 263C daughter and a Connealy Consensus daughter. They also may consign two to three cow/calf pairs.
Preston and Erin Beth said they owe a lot of thanks to other producers for helping them get started. They value the advice they have been given and the questions that have been answered. They are truly grateful for the assistance and support from both Mitchell and Jacob at Blue Q.
n addition to having their Angus operation, Erin Beth and Preston are parents to three boys – nine-year old Preston, who likes to pet and feed the cows, six-year old Isaac, who also likes working with the cows, and two-year old Jace, who loves the cows. He wants to ride the tractor and check the cows. Their nine-year old is very shy; the younger two probably will be more receptive to FFA, 4-H, and the NC Junior Angus Association programs when they get older.
Off the farm, Erin Beth works half the time at her father’s heating and air-conditioning business and half the time at Pinkston’s Inc., a lawn mower repair shop that Preston bought from his father. They sell Hustler mowers and are an independent STIHL dealer.
Over the years, the kids have made pets out of several cows and some of the bottle babies they’ve had. One bottle baby, Sophie, is now grown and has had her second calf, a heifer. One year she came to Isaac’s birthday party; she wore a cone cap. Another time, she came up on the porch. They have a picture of her taken from inside the house with her looking in the window. Now that she’s grown, she doesn’t realize she’s too big to be rubbing against people.
Their six-year old, Isaac, is an avid Carolina Panthers fan. He was able to attend his first NFL game when the Panthers played Tampa Bay and was the lucky recipient of a football from Cam Newton when the Panthers scored their first touchdown of the game. When one of the people working with the NFL pre-game show talked with Isaac and asked him “Why do you think Cam Newton gave you the football?”, he replied as a typical six-year old by saying, “because I’m so cute.”
In their “spare” time, the Pinkstons love to spend lots of time with their families. In the summer, they like to go to Lake Tillery, where they enjoy water skiing, boating, fishing, and swimming. In addition to their cows and donkeys, they have five dogs, some of which they are fostering.
Silver Springs Angus is located at 16212 Cagle Road, Norwood, NC 28128. Phone numbers are 704-985-3713, 704-985-3931 (cell). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org