Chappell Hill, Texas
Office: (713) 695-6457
Fax: (713) 691-5241
Cell: (713) 829-0270
OAK CREEK FARMS
This year marks forty three years that John and Carolyn Kopycinski have been breeding registered Red Brangus cattle at Oak Creek Farms in Chappell Hill, Texas. John and Carolyn purchased fifteen registered Red Brangus Cows from a Red Brangus charter member, Zig Zag Ranch, in 1967. Through the years more property and cattle were purchased and now Oak Creek is home to approximately 700 head of purebred Red Brangus, Brangus, Red Angus and Angus.
Oak Creek has an annual bull sale each October, and for over twenty years John has been forage developing and testing his bulls. Through experience he has acquired an in-depth understanding of the importance of breeding cattle that are forage efficient. With the high cost of feed and fertilizer, the bull buyer is demanding more forage efficient bulls. The OCF bulls are forage tested in Oak Creek’s Brazos River bottom.
All bulls have a DNA profile so that the buyer has documented data on performance and inherent genetic traits when selecting their bulls. “Selecting and identifying bulls with favorable carcass traits for tenderness and marbling, plus identifying feed efficiency traits are key components in our cattle,” says John and his wife, Carolyn. This will be the seventh year they have been DNA testing bulls using the data in making critical management and breeding decisions. Oak Creek sells bulls throughout the states and around the world including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, and South America. Red Brangus Bulls are in high demand in Mexico and South America. Last year over twenty OCF bulls sold via the internet.
“Each year our customers become more interested in DNA test results. Buyers use the information in selecting bulls that will best fit their individual ranch program,” explains John. In addition to possessing favorable genetic traits these forage developed/ tested bulls must be structurally sound with good sheaths and performance data to meet sale criteria. The top sixty percent of the bull crop make the sale each year. On auction day sale bulls are in excellent breeding condition but not too fat, so that they are pasture ready.
Oak Creeks’ sires are selected for the same traits as their sale bulls. The bulls’ dams have bloodlines that run deep in Oak Creeks’ breeding program since only Bulls are sold in the annual sale. The best females are kept for further production of the herd. OCF bulls come from Oak Creeks’ medium framed cows that are forage efficient and easy fleshing. In order for the cattle to be able to thrive on forages, they are bred to be heat tolerant to endure the Texas heat and humidity.
Cows must have good udders and calf every year without calving problems. In addition, the cow must raise its calf out in the pasture on forages without supplements in order to stay in the herd. As part of Oak Creek’s straightforward Total Herd Management Program, about twenty five percent of the cow herd is culled annually keeping the top end of the heifer crop to replace the culled mature cows.
John has worked through the years to promote Brangus. One of his most memorable events was when he was invited to judge the first National Brangus Show in Brazil in November, 1999. He and daughter, Christi Kopycinski Strock went down for the show and met many breeders in South America. They also spent time with the presidents of the Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay Brangus Associations during their visit. As John started thinking about their discussions and the many ideas and goals that each countries association had, he thought that a World Brangus Congress like the one the Red Angus Association had would benefit the Brangus breed as well. John presented his idea to the Red Brangus and Brangus Associations, and it was accepted overwhelmingly. In February 2001 the first World Brangus Congress was held at the Houston Livestock Show chaired by Christi Kopycinski Strock and Pat Simmons. The Congress has since been hosted by various South American Countries to promote Brangus, both Red and Black.
In 1967 Red Brangus cattle were bred to be ½ Brahman and ½ Angus. In the early eighties, Oak Creek Farms began breeding Red Brangus to follow the guidelines of registered Brangus cattle, breeding Red Brangus that were 3/8 Brahman x 5/8 Angus. John decided in the early 1990’s that it was time to also have a registry that recognized these Red Brangus cattle. He visited with his friend and fellow Red Brangus Breeder, Jim Hunt of Sureway Stock Farms. John and Jim decided it was time to do something, so Oak Creek hosted an organizational meeting at the ranch. They invited other Red Brangus breeders who were interested in the 3/8 x 5/8 breeding program. Out of this, the beginning of the International Red Brangus Breeders Association was formed with Oak Creek Farms being member #1 and Sureway Stock Farms being member #2. The association has since merged with the International Brangus Breeders Association that registers both Red and Black Brangus.
John and Carolyn have held various offices and served on many Red Brangus committees throughout the years, especially in the breed improvement and cattle promotion segment. They were instrumental in instituting the first Junior Red Brangus Show at the Houston Livestock Show. In 1986, John and Carolyn along with fellow Red Brangus Breeders; Frank Stiles, John Sosnowy and Todd Brachmeyer, Junior president, traveled to Houston and met with Don Jobes of the Houston Livestock Show. Mr. Jobes approved their request for a junior Red Brangus show on a trial basis. The first Red Brangus Junior Show at Houston met the quality and quantity required which also opened a venue for a Red Brangus open show that was later established.
Both of them have spent countless hours working with youth and served twelve years as 4-H leaders. They also chaired and served on the Red Brangus Junior Committee for many years. John has also served as a director in Red Brangus, the Texas Purebred Cattle Alliance, and The Texas Forage & Grassland Council. He has chaired the Beef Committee, received the Conservation Award and Rancher of the Year in Washington County. John established and serves as chairman of the Chappell Hill Wildlife and Conservation Committee that has now partnered with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of TAMU.
By developing their cattle on forages, John and Carolyn realize the importance of knowing as much about their land as they do their cattle. DNA testing their bulls provides firm data that identifies heritable genetic traits to be used in selecting efficient easy fleshing practical cattle. The merits of forage developed cattle include efficiency, longevity, fertility and breeding structurally sound cattle.
Each October Oak Creek has a Forage Tested Registered OCF Bull Sale at their sale facility on the ranch. In addition, Oak Creek also hosts an Invitational Registered Red Brangus and Brangus Heifer Sale during this annual event. A field day for The Texas Forage and Grassland Council will also be held in conjunction with the October 2010 Bull Sale.
After 43 years of breeding registered Red Brangus and Brangus cattle, John and Carolyn continue to strive to meet what the market and bull buyer demands. To sum it up, they know that it takes grass, plus forage efficient easy fleshing cattle to make a profit in today’s cattle industry.