Dave Lensegrav has been selecting replacement heifers since he was eight years old. For over sixty-five years he has kept back the best of the best, building a widely known herd of Balancer cattle and selling bulls to the public for forty years.
Dave and his wife Rhonda, of Meadow, South Dakota, started AIing their cattle to Gelbvieh bulls when semen first became available in the 1970s. They bred their herd up to purebred Gelbvieh but returned to crossing Angus blood on the Gelbvieh cattle due to the highly desirable traits that crossing the two breeds produced.
“We were one of the first spring calving programs in the U.S. to use Gelbvieh semen,” Dave recalled.
Over the years, Lensegravs have selected for easy fleshing, deep bodied, growthy cattle with strong maternal ability and good marbling. In the 1970s, Dave consigned five bulls to a bull test at the Matt Sutton ranch started by South Dakota Gelbvieh breeders. When the bulls were sold, Dave’s five sold in the top seven bulls out of approximately seventy head. Something was obviously working.
“When you put two breeds together the heterosis brings out the best of both,” Dave said. “You get something better than what either breed offers by itself. It seems like you can take straight bred cattle and breed on traits forever before they are consistent, but with combining the two breeds it happens much faster.”
“The Gelbvieh are gentle cattle,” Rhonda said. “Gelbvieh also reach sexual maturity very early.”
“The Angus add marbling,” Dave said. “The Gelbvieh are long and thick, but when you stick the Angus back on it adds depth of body. The synergy between the two breeds puts it all together. It’s easy to maintain and it has worked very well for us.”
Lensegrav’s Balancer cows have stood the test of time on the ranch. Spring, 2020, will mark their 40th and final annual bull sale. Their yearling bulls have averaged four to five thousand dollars per head for many years; their top sale averaged over $7,400 on 100 head.
Health reasons are prompting Dave and Rhonda to change their pace. Approximately 120 head of three to six year old cows are being offered for sale private treaty. Anyone looking for some fantastic proven cows should give Dave a call.
Dave and Rhonda would like to thank all of their loyal and faithful customers for their support over the years. Don’t overlook the opportunity these genetics could afford you.
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