The Underwood Farms cattle heard originated from the purchase of 10 cows and one bull from Alton Willingham of Remington, Virginia in November 2000. This purchased was followed by the purchase of 13 yearling heifers the in April 2001. In 2000, the Willingham cattle were the product of Knoll Crest, Feltons, and Rolling Hills genetics, along with a line of cow families that Alton Willingham had created over the last 30 years with a focus on growth, disposition, and long, slender heads. Of the original cattle purchased, the surviving stock traces mostly to RH PROSPECTOR 727 F57 (P23918890), a Feltons 727 low birth weight bull that has produced cows with very good udders.
Over the next two years, Tom Underwood grew the herd through purchases at registered Hererford sales. Some of the breeders from which Underwood purchased are Bay Brook Farm, Deer Track Farm, Rolling Hills, Knoll Crest Farm, Stone Ridge Manor, Feltons Ranch, Walker Polled Hereford Farm. More than 100 cows were bought in a three year period, almost exclusively from public sales.
Underwood Farms herd currently is registered either under the name of Tom Underwood (TSU5) or under Underwood Farms LLC (Underwoods). The Underwoods cattle were purchased primarily by private treaty beginning in 2003, and the herd generally has higher frame scores and more growth than the TSU5 cattle.
Beginning in 2003. Underwood Farms began to cull aggressively, focusing on disposition, longevity, and marbling. By the end of 2004, all but one of the original 10 Willingham cows had been culled. Today, of the original 23 cows and one bull purchased, four cows remain. Fortunately, two of the four cows are Dams of Distinction (DOD), and one of the remaining two cows will likely qualify for DOD status in the future.
With Tom Underwood leaving his equity research job in early 2005 and with the real estate market slowing in 2006, more time has been available for cattle study and breeding. The 2006 year will likely be the pivotal year in the development of the Underwood Farms herd. In 2006, Underwood Breeding surpassed outside breeding in count of dams producing. Further, in 2006, the overall size of the herd stabilized and actually declined slightly. Additionally, Underwood Farms began to sell select cows to other breeders.
In 2006, Underwood Farms devoted a portion of its registered herd to varied Hereford genetics. A few miniature Herefords were purchased, a few very large cows were purchased, and a few historic bloodlines were purchased. The purchases have led some to believe that we have lost our way or become a little crazy. Underwood Farms remains focused upon producing the highest quality beef from well-disposition, long-lived, easy-doing Hereford cattle. We now have a sufficiently large herd meeting our criteria to be able to take 10%-20% of our resources in terms of cows and land and experiment. The experiments may not improve upon our existing product, but over time, they may.
December 29, 2006