Brinks Genetics focuses on delivering value

ELKADER, Iowa — Tucked into the hills on Gunder Road north of Elkader, Jerry and Wanda Brink and Jerry’s brothers, Jim and George, and their families raise purebred Fleckvieh Simmental and Hereford cattle, Hampshire hogs and crops.

A visit to Brink Farms Inc. was part of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association northeast Iowa regional meeting last week.

The Brinks’ father started the farm’s first horned Hereford herd in 1936. In the 1960s they added purebred Hampshire hogs, and in the 1980s brought Fleckvieh Simmentals to the operation.

The Brinks maintain a 600-sow farrow to finish operation including purebred Hampshires and white line females. They specialize in replacement boars and gilts for their customers and commercial producers. The beef herd includes 85 full Fleckvieh cows and 15 Herefords. They are co-owners of the Hereford bull Diesel.

"We strongly believe in the value of purebred livestock and the amount of heterosis it creates for commercial herds," Jerry said. "It means extra pounds and uniformity."


The Brinks’ Fleckvieh herd is one of the largest in this part of the country. Fleckvieh is the strain of Simmental that originated in Germany and Austria where they were bred for meat and milk production.

Fleckvieh is a versatile breed, Jerry said. Fertility, calving ease and milking abilities are all strong traits of the Brinks’ herd.

"They exhibit early accelerated growth with ease of fleshing on a moderate frame with excellent carcass cutability," Jerry said.

They have used embryo transfer to intensify their elite females. All the Brinks’ foundation females are daughters or granddaughters of direct imports from Germany or Austria.

Jerry said customer Albin Ziemba of Nebraska reports that after using Brink Fleckvieh bulls, his market cattle went to slaughter 45 days sooner.

The Brinks test all Fleckvieh bulls for the diluter gene. If a bull is diluter-free, it will produce no gray colored calves out of black cows.

"The majority of our customers have black cows, and the majority of customers feed their cattle out," Jerry said.

The Brinks sell bulls, females, embryos and semen by private treaty. Between the Fleckvieh and Hereford herds, they sell 35 bulls each year.


The Brinks started direct marketing their Hampshire pork two years ago and received inquiries about beef and so they started selling Hereford and Fleckvieh beef, which is processed at the Edgewood Locker. The meat is marketed as Our Farm Meats.

"It’s gone over well at farmers markets," Jerry said.

The Brinks were honored as Iowa Conservation Farmers of the Year in 2008.

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