David and Elaine Dillard have seen a lot through the years. Both grew up on family farms in Hahira, Georgia. The two attended Hahira schools from first to twelfth grade when they graduated in 1957. The next year, David and Elaine were married.
"We have had a little bit of everything," Elaine says. We have had Angus, Charolais, Santa Gertrudis, Simmental, Simbrah, and now Brahman.
The Dillards crossed their Angus cattle with Brahmans and were very pleased with the results.
Starting in the late '60s, David would purchase feeder cattle and feed them out to market directly to the packers.
We always fed out Brahman-influenced cattle," David says. "We could buy them cheaper through the sale because the other shippers didn't want them."
David says the Brahman-influenced cattle gained better because of the higher hybrid vigor when Bos indicus is crossed with a Bos taurus. He continued this practice until the early '80s when he made his transition to purebred cattle.
"I've always been partial to Brahman cattle," David says. "We started with Brahmans in the early '80s when we bought a small herd for beef prices because of the drought."
Brahman cattle bring a lot to the table. The Dillards have sold to both purebred breeders and commercial cattlemen that are creating the F-1 calves. Brahman F-1 cattle are in high demand because of their hybrid vigor. The F-1 cattle are successsful as both replacement females and as feeder cattle.
"We have had success with Brahmans because they are productive on marginal pastures, heat tolerant and resistant to insects and parasites," David says. "All of which are typical of South Georgia."
Brahmans can withstand the extreme temperatures because of their short, thick, glossy hair coat which reflects the sun's rays. Unlike other breeds of cattle, Brahmans have the ability to sweat and dissipate the heat.
The Dillards were pleasantly surprised when they received the papers on that first group of cattle. The cattle had several legendary animals in their pedigrees.
"We buy bulls with some age on them that are about to be sent to the barn," David says. "This lets us get quality genetics at cheaper prices."
The Dillards are very active in the breed. They are members of the Florida Brahman Association, Carolina Brahman Association and the American Brahman Breeders Association. David served two years on the board of directors for the American Brahman Breeders Association.
"We have been lucky to travel and represent the breed at the same time," Elaine says.
The couple traveled to Houston, Texas; Dallas Texas; and Shreveport, La for board meetings. They would also