National Geographic : 1952 Jan
their sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons. The first public auc tion of Santa Gertrudis bulls did not take place until November 10, 1950. Twenty-nine bulls were sold for $99,000-an average price of $3,414. Nine of the animals went to Cuba. The rest were purchased by Florida, Texas, and Louisiana cattlemen. Among other contri butions to the cattle industry, King Ranch has pioneered in the development of grasses in its area. It was among the first to in troduce Rhodes grass from Rhodesia. This still is the best grass for the region, although recently it has been attacked by a deadly scale (page 47). Two new grasses are doing extremely well, because the scale has never damaged them. These are King Ranch blue stem and Kleberg grass, slight variations How many of the 11 of other species, de- to become ham and ba( veloped by accident, before weaning (page 3 The ranch's famous "running W" brand (page 41) was registered in 1869. It was picked because rustlers couldn't alter the flowing design easily. Va queros say markings on the coral snake in spired the design. Beyond its coastal strip Texas is princi pally Hereford country. Shorthorn ranches like that of Caraway & Sons, at De Leon, or Aberdeen-Angus ranches in the southwest ern part of the State are notable exceptions. But the whitefaces outnumber all others. Ranching De Luxe at Flat Top Of the purebred Hereford ranches I visited, none was more impressive than Flat Top Ranch at Walnut Springs, in Bosque County -a cattle showplace. It stretches over 17,000 acres of semiprairie country, with live-oak trees crowning the low ridges to relieve the monotony of flat land and, more practical, to afford shade to the cattle. Here 850 purebred brood cows and 15 prize bulls lead a contented life, as pictured in a recent Hollywood film entitled "Lone Star Roundup." Charles Pettit, the owner, a Jack McManigal First Come First Served Spotted Poland China pigs in this litter will grow up :on? A third of the pigs born in the United States die 5). former Dallas oil man, has spent a fortune in the erection of a palatial ranchhouse, paved roads, concrete bridges, a water system based on an artificial lake, and a modern auction barn. The barn, built five years ago, has never been used as such; private agreements have taken care of all the animals offered for sale in that period. Here, as on other ranches, I noted with some dismay the scarcity of horses. "We operate the whole ranch with only seven horses," William B. Roberts, the man ager, told me. "We saddle them and put them in a trailer truck and haul them to any point where they are needed to work the cattle. This requires only a few horses, saves them work, saves the cowboys more, and is an entirely efficient operation." Ardmore, Oklahoma, lies at the southern end of a strip of territory loosely defined as "Hereford Heaven," which stretches to within a few miles of Ada. The name was coined by a newspaperman who was describing a tour through the region by members of the Okla homa Hereford Breeders' Association.