|DeRouchey Cattle Company…
Planning Their Future with Maines
After three decades of raising purebred breeding
livestock, and over 12 years of solely breeding Maine Anjou cattle,
the focus of DeRouchey Cattle Company to produce high quality,
functional, and industry driven Maine Anjou cattle has never been
stronger. The breed has been on notice about DCC enthusiasm and
dedication about their individual breeding program and Maine-Anjou’s
role within the beef industry.
“Our focus has always been on developing a powerful cowherd through
the use of A.I. and using those same A.I. bulls to clean up the
cows. We turn out herd sires, not cleanup bulls, to ensure superior,
predictable genetics. We have developed our females in large enough
numbers and have been able to cull heavily and group similar types
of cattle in breeding units,” say Fred DeRouchey.
DCC’s first major purchase in the fall of 1993 was Executive, a bull
who went on to win two national championships, claim two sire of the
year honors, become noted for carcass merit. While DeRouchey was
impressed with Executive, it was his dam LGH Miss Hans 805X that
convinced the cowman to buy him. “She is truly one of the breed
greats and is the best female we have ever seen.” This “super cow”
is also the mother of Black Ice, who was a national champion junior
bull and the sire of Black Dice and Fear This. Also, she is the
mother of DCC New Era (2003 Reserve Champion Bull at Denver and
American Royal). The genetics of LGH Miss Hans 805X has greatly
influenced the Maine Anjou breed and will continue to through her
DeRouchey’s have also added other powerful bulls along the way,
including Specialist, a two time Denver Champion; Legacy, a Reserve
Denver Champion; Heisman, the 1996 National Reserve Champion and
other power sires such as Heavy Hitter, Yukon, Titlist, Checkmate,
and Sizzler from top Maine Anjou breeders. In 1998, Polled
Energizer, an outcross bull to DCC genetics was purchased and he
forever changed the direction of the DCC breeding program. Polled
Energizer’s influence of calving ease, rapid growth rates, and DNA
tenderness and marbling ratings have set him apart in the breed from
all others. He is the sire of numerous leading herd sires in the
breed including DCC The Mann, who is a former National Champion bull
and widely used sired by other breeders. Most importantly, he is
siring high quality replacement females that will long have impacts
within the Maine breed.
Currently, the cow herd has grown to 325 brood females. In addition,
DeRouchey Cattle Company also works closely with the Lazy HU Ranch
in Montana as a cooperator herd for producing high quality
replacement females and an elite group of commercial breeding bulls.
DeRouchey Cattle Company has an active embryo transfer program to
maximize elite genetics for customers. The development of large
groups of genetically similar bulls and heifers has allowed DCC to
provide customers with uniform genetics.
DeRouchey Cattle Company maintains complete records including
medical history, performance data, temperament comments, and carcass
information, and EPDs.
DeRouchey, like so many cowmen, was attracted to the breed based on
the performance of a Maine-Anjou bull on his dad’s commercial cows.
This point of origination and his hog background make DeRouchey one
of the breed’s strongest supporters for gathering carcass
Maine Anjou cattle have been widely known for their growth rate and
superior grading on the rail. With the help of the latest DNA
technology, Maine Anjou cattle are leading the way in meat
tenderness for consumers. The GeneSTAR Tenderness Test indicates
that 97% of the Maine Anjou cattle carry at least one gene for
tenderness, with 83% of all Maine Anjou’s being homozygous (two
genes) for meat tenderness. The average of all other breeds being
homozygous is 64%. At DCC we have tested our sires for this
important genetic trait – you can use our bulls with confidence to
achieve this marketing advantage over non-Maine Anjou calves.
“It is imperative for breeders to know more about what we are
producing, what our product is producing for our commercial
customers, what we need to improve and what our customers
expectations are,” he stresses.
DeRouchey Cattle Company customers were honored with the Champion
and Reserve Champion pen of 5 steers in the 2003 National Maine
Anjou feeding trial on calves out of bull they purchased through
their annual ‘Optimum” Bull sale held each February.
DeRouchey brings an extensive hog background into his purebred Maine
program. His experiences in vertical integration, selection
processes and generation turnover play a significant role in his
He was raised on a diversified livestock farm in South Dakota, where
he was actively involved in 4-H and FFA. He graduated from South
Dakota State University (SDSU) with a degree in Animal Science in
DeRouchey raised Chester White and crossbred hogs for 25 years. He
also had a herd of registered Simmental cattle. In 1980, Fred was
honored as a Pork All-American and in the late 1980’s the
DeRouchey’s were the largest recorder of registered Chester White
hogs. He served on the national Chester White Board of Directors for
six years and led the membership as president for three years. He
was involved at the time the hog breeds consolidated and was
instrumental in the major changes the pork industry faced.
Many experts are now saying many of these same changes are ahead in
the cattle business and DeRouchey stresses the need for cattlemen to
be able to look down the road three to five years to survive.
Joan is employed as a registered nurse for a medical clinic in
nearby Chamberlain. Their oldest son, Jon, graduated from SDSU with
a degree in Dairy Manufacturing and is employed with Schrieber Foods
in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Joel graduated from SDSU with a BS
in Animal Science, MS and PhD in animal nutrition from Kansas State
University and is currently employed at Kansas State University as
an Extension and Research Livestock Specialist. Joel’s wife Julene
stays at home with their two children, James and Jenna, and has a
home based food company, Homemade Gourmet. Youngest son Jeff
graduated from SDSU with his pharmacy degree and works as an
assistant pharmacy manager for Wal-Mart in Sioux Falls, SD. ,
completing his doctorate in Pharmacy.
Jon, Joel and Jeff were active in school activities including
football, FFA and 4-H. All three have served as President of their
local FFA Chapter, and Joel was the State FFA Vice President. All
three were recognized with the American FFA Degree, while Fred has
recently received the honorary American Farmer Degree.
As a family, through 4-H and FFA, the boys showed beef, sheep and
swine at numerous local, state, and national shows. They were also
successful on judging teams and in showmanship contests.
In 1994, the DeRouchey family racked up a first in South Dakota as
they captured a “Triple Crown” with the Grand Champion hog, Grand
Champion steer, and Grand Champion lamb in both the 4-H and FFA
divisions at the South Dakota State Fair. At the prestigious
American Royal, Jeff showed the Grand Champion hog in 1996, Champion
and Reserve Champion 4-H hogs, with Reserve Champion overall in
1999, and in 1998 showed a Maine-cross steer to Grand Champion
honors. Jeff also has earned the Champion swine and Champion beef
showmanship honors at the American Royal.
Jon was a member of SDSU’s Collegiate Dairy Food Products Judging
Team and was high individual at the national contest. Joel was a
member of SDSU’s Reserve National Champion livestock judging team
and was a top ten individual at the Mid-Continent Livestock
Exposition, American Royal, and at the North American International
Livestock Exposition. Jeff placed second in the state and 13th
nationally in 4-H livestock judging.
The DeRouchey brothers also had a successful flock of 180 club lamb
ewes. The sheep program has been sold as the registered cattle
operation has grown and the two older boys have graduated from
college. The cattle run on grass and most feed is purchased.
DeRouchey has found it cheaper to buy feed rather than to buy more
land and devote help to planting and harvesting it.
They have an impressive show string and have shown numerous
Champions and Reserve Champions at the Denver Stock Show, American
Royal, Louisville, and various state fairs. Fred is especially proud
of the offspring sold to fellow producers that not only have
excelled in the show ring, but have produced high quality offspring.
While the show ring success has been rewarding, it does not compare
to the satisfaction of the genetics working for DCC customers.
In addition, DCC
sells approximately 300 replacement females and 50 show heifer
prospects yearly. The operation has
been involved in various consignments and choice production sales
over the past five years. Their numbers have now reached the point
that they hold their own sales annually. In February, they sell 100
bulls in their annual production sale and another 150 bulls by
private treaty. IN addition, DCC sells approximately 300 replacement
females and 50 show heifer prospects.