The Shudde Ranch was established in 1897 by my grandparents John and Anna Schuddemagen. They made payments on the 1500 acre ranch from the sales of honey and a few cattle. John was primarily a beekeeper with about 400 colonies of bees on the ranch's huajilla brush. They carved out a pretty good life for themselves and their eight children. The ranch provided most of what they needed. Numerous deer, turkey, squirrel, quail, dove and wild hogs made their home here. Small patches of land were cleared so that some crops like oats and milo grains could be planted. The family also kept a vegetable garden.
The ranch is long and narrow and in the early days the cattle could only get water from the Sabinal River that served as the western boundary for the ranch. The eastern end was almost five miles from water. This was much too far for cattle to roam for grazing. The first stock tank was dug by Emil Shudde, my father, using a mule and an implement called a fresno. This allowed the whole ranch to be used for the purpose of raising cattle. Over the years more stock tanks have been dug using bulldozers. There have been times on the ranch when most of the herd had to be sold because stock tanks went dry. Now, some of the stock tanks have wells on them to offer a dependable supply of water.
The ranch has been divided into several pastures. This allows us to rotate the cattle for grazing purpose. The cattle will spend about three to four weeks in a pasture, then they are moved. This gives the cattle fresh nutritious grass to eat and allows the pastures a chance to grow back before they are grazed again. We take great pride in our grass on the ranch. We have spent a great deal of time, money, and energy clearing brush and planting grass. What is not obvious to most people is that grass is our primary crop, not cattle. Cattle harvest the grass and convert it to something usable, beef. Most of the land on the ranch is rolling hills with a flint gravel top-soil. In my family's early days, it was completely covered in brush. In the years before civilization though, the land was prairie except along creeks and rivers. Because of our clearing efforts, about 50% of the ranch is now returned to grassland. The remaining brush will be left as a habitat for the wildlife, who also benefit from the grass.
We are proud of our grasslands. Now I would like to tell you why we use Longhorn cattle to harvest our grass. Different types of cattle have been on the ranch, but we searched for one that could use the grass more efficiently. Longhorns convert both grass and brush to beef very efficiently. Longhorns have developed some desirable traits developed during the time they ran wild. One special trait is the lower cholesterol of the meat, like wild game. Other Longhorn traits are calving easily without help, good mothering and being generally very hardy, healthy animals. They are a heritage breed and live and have calves up to twice as long as most other breeds.
The Longhorns on our ranch are worked and handled in a very gentle and easy manner, avoiding unhealthy stress on cows and calves. It makes working cattle on our ranch easier for the cowboys, too! Our mother cows like treats of cubed feed made of compressed cottonseed, so when we call, they gather 'round. Our round-ups usually consist of simply driving the truck in the pasture and honking the horn. We sometimes use a cowboy or two on horses for the few cows that hang back in the brush.
After we decided Longhorn cows were ideally suited for our ranch, we chose larger-muscled bulls (currently Devon) that would produce a beefier calf that marbles and finishes good on grass. We can now raise more beef per acre due to the efficiency of the cows.
The biggest benefit of Longhorn Cross beef is to the consumer. Longhorn Cross beef offers a low fat, low cholesterol alternative to other types of beef. Texas A&M studies have shown that Longhorn beef is lower in fat and cholesterol than skinless chicken or turkey (whole). We use no steroids, growth hormones, or antibiotics. On a tenderness scale where anything below 8 is considered "extremely tender", our beef scored 5.9.
At this point we realized we really had something truly special, a very high quality, natural product, grass fed and finished, and raised in a very efficient way. What happened next was disappointing. The market had no way to reward us for improved beef. Not only that, we found that any calves with Longhorn color markings brought a lower price at the auction than other calves. Longhorns have a reputation for not gaining weight speedily in the feed lot. This is due to the fact that, like other Heritabe Breeds, they mature at an older age. We believe this is the reason that Heritage Breeds have more flavor.
So, we have decided to raise them totally ourselves, staying as close to organic as possible, then bring the beef directly to you. We just couldn't stand the idea of our beef sitting right next to all the other beef on supermarket shelves. Longhorn beef is something special. We are now offering this healthy, tasty alternative direct to the public. This is "win-win", giving us a rewarding market and giving you the opportunity to have the nutrition and taste of premium natural, grass fed beef on your table.Try some of our Shudde Ranch Beef and I'm sure you will agree, we really do have something special.
Copyright 2003-2016, Shudde Ranch
♥ Gerry & Janelle Shudde - Ranchers/Owners
♥ Family Ranch since 1897
♥ Ranch is located outside of Sabinal, Texas
♥ Pride in GRASS FED, GRASS FINISHED beef,
♥ Unique cross of Longhorn cows and Devon bulls
♥ Grass is our primary crop, cattle is secondary
♥ We strive for healthy living and want to bring that
same lifestyle to our customers
♥ Low stress style of handling cattle
♥ Straight from our ranch to your table
♥ No pesticides used on grass or cattle
♥ Dedicated to providing "heart healthy," flavorful,
tender beef at a reasonable price
♥ We believe that Longhorns are naturally more
flavorful and nutritious because they flourished so
well in Texas when they were wild and only under