Friday, March 27, 2015

5 on Friday.

It's been a great week!
 
We got some much needed & wished for rain, and since this is Eastern Oregon - a bit of wind to go along with it.  The guys worked really hard to get calves branded in between the drops, and we're looking forward to breeding some cows & helping the Raymond crew brand again on Saturday.
 
The Hunter brothers are making SERIOUS progress on the house and this week I realized I needed to get my butt in gear on picking some items...but more about that below.
 
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1. The House.
 
 
 
The Hunter brothers having been hustling this week!  The drywall is all down, new studs have been placed, the floor that was an 1 1/2'' off at the south end of the room has been leveled, and the bathroom has been laid out.  They also ripped out the final existing wall between the old mudroom and the new addition, and laid down a new plywood base floor in the bedroom.  And I'm sure there is a lot more that has been done that I don't understand but it sure looks like things are coming together.
 
 We had one small hiccup with the closet placements that we caught early, and after robbing some space in the mudroom I think we came up with an option that will still let us have ample closet space, and more than 20'' of walkway between our bed and the closet doors.  :)
 
 
2. Tile and such.
 
We choose the flooring we're going to use this week!  After debating about using porcelain tile, or a new vinyl plank tile with ceramic beading, we ending up choosing the Engage snap plank tiles that look like wood.  The style we chose is textured like wood, is warm underfoot, has a lifetime residential warranty, is rated for commercial use, and is waterproof.


 
I had brought home a few samples in various colors to see what looked best next to our cabinets - since we're also putting the flooring in the kitchen and the cabinets are staying.  I had thought that Clint would like a lighter color than the one I liked, but when he came home and I asked him his opinion it turned out that we both liked the same one.
 
And that is awesome sauce.
 
So the planks are being ordered, and as soon as they're ready for them - they'll be installed!
 
Now I'm just trying to figure out paint colors.


 3. Last thing about the house.  Promise.

At least for this week.  ;)


I went to Tri-Cities yesterday to pick out the cultured marble for the shower - you can't imagine how excited I am for this - I think it's going to be SO easy to clean!!!. 

The Hunter Brothers recommended Columbia Cultured Marble for the shower, and basically you go up and pick a color and texture.  They have a beautiful product that looks like granite, but it's about 40% more than their marble product so we're going for the marble look.  They custom blend the colors you choose and mold it into a shower and pan that fits exactly into the space you want.  I chose the greenish color above called "Khaki" and then it will have the white (shown) and "Dark Mexican Sand" (the tan base shown behind it) blended in to make the "marble" effect.  I think it'll look good with our plank tiles (shown behind the marble tiles) in the bathroom and hopefully will be a classic look that will look nice for many years.

The best part of using this product? 

There aren't any seams!!!

Which means it is super easy to clean.  They actually just recommend a spray of daily shower cleaner every other day, and a rinse off the next morning.  Plus the shower door comes with a 10 year guarantee against water spotting - and if you've been to our house (which is right next to the feedlot) you know we have hard water that spots on everything, so I'm really looking forward to this feature!

 
4. Branding at Double M

Photo Credit: EJ Harris, EO

The guys have been branding calves all week at the ranch, and are just about done.  The East Oregonian (our local paper) was out yesterday and wrote a neat article about branding. 

You can find it here.


5. Simple Surprises.
 
I was shopping for groceries on Tuesday after work (because all we had in the house was a block of cheese, corn tortillas and a few cans of Coors Original in the fridge) and as I was in line to check out I thought;
 
"Well crap, I meant to pick up a bundle of daffodils.  But I don't want to get out of line."
 
So I checked out, drove home and walked in the house to see these:

 
Lindsay had stopped by earlier and droppped them off and they made my day.
 

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Any simple surprises for you this week?
 
Brand of paint you love?

Are you done calving, or just getting started?

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Happy Friday friends! 

Keep living the dream!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Genex Progeny Test Update.



{Insight calf}

We AI about 75% of the cow herd at Double M, using bulls in Genex's Progeny Test.  This just means that we use unproven or young bulls, and breed them to cows along with a reference or proven sire.  We keep data on all of the calves, and turn that into Genex.  Because we're mating across a large population, and using a reference sire, Genex gets a good cross section of data and they can see if a bull will work for their lineup.
 
Last year the bulls we used didn't end up making it into the lineup, so I didn't post too much about them here on the blog.

But this year is going to be a different story, I think!
 

The cows at Double M are kept in separate groups, and are grouped by age.  In the spring cows, the H's are replacement heifers, the R's are 2 year old cows having their 2nd calf (along with a few high maintenance 3 year olds) and then the older cows get sorted into the "big bunch" and the "small bunch".  Clint calves the R's and H's, and Jack calves the big and small bunches.  (Mike also has a group he calves at his place, and I think they're called the Taylor bunch.)
 
In the H's we used McCoy, Thunder, Pioneer and a bull we call 1289.  In the R's we used Montana & Chisum and in the big bunch we used Dominance, Insight, Chisum and Envision.  We also AI'ed a smaller set of mature cows to Full Power and Impressive.
 
I posted about the McCoy calves here - and they just keep getting better.  They branded the H's a week ago, and Clint thought that the McCoy's looked even better than the Thunder's.  Who knows what they'll look like at weaning, but if you're looking for a heifer bull to use this year - both of us would highly recommend McCoy.
 
Today I thought I'd post a few pictures of calves from the cows over at Jack's in the big bunch.  For convenience, I sorted them by sire below.  Jack keeps his own calving book, so I don't know any of the calving data, but from talking with him I don't think he had any significant problems tied to birth weight.   All of the calves pictured below had just been branded, and were 7 weeks old when I pictured them at the beginning of this month.  The cowherd here is not registered, but records are kept like a purebred herd and the cows are primarily Angus/Sim-Angus bred.  This group was also still on a full feeding of long hay when I took these pictures.
 
The guy's favorite progeny are the calves out of Dominance.
 
I like the Dominance calves a lot too, but I'm still kind of partial to the Insight calves.
 
I think the main difference is the Dominance calves have the edge in stoutness/weight and the Insight calves are probably just a tick better phenotypically.
 
Dominance Calves:






 
Insight Calves:






 
 The Chisum calves are good too - and from what we've seen with Chisum calves in the past is that they really start to put on the pounds as they get closer to weaning.  (See my post about the progeny test we did with Chisum and Full Power in the 2013 fall cows here and here.)  He may not sire the calves with the prettiest fronts, but if you're a cow calf guy who sells pounds at weaning time, Chisum is definitely a bull to consider.
 
Chisum Calves:
 




Envision Calves:

I didn't get a lot of pictures of the Envision calves.  I think most of them are in a different group, but because of the way cows got sorted after breeding, there were a few in the bunch I pictured.  They're long bodied, but not quite as flashy or commanding as the Insight and Dominance calves.



 
If you're wanting to use AI in your program but just don't know how to get started - or have questions about the bulls mentioned above, we'd love to visit with you.  Genex's Chuteside Service makes it easy to stand back, and let a qualified crew come in and take care of your AI'ing.  You can tailor the level of involvement from a little to a lot, depending on your desire.
 
If you want, leave a comment in this post and we'll be sure to answer any questions you have. Or you can send an email using the contact tab here.
 
We want you to be successful with your cows & calves - and AI'ing is a great way to create that success.  With AI, we've experienced not only lower dystocia and problems at calving, but increased weaning weights and quality of calves.

And as always, success is reason enough!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'Tis the season for AI.

I have this sign that hangs on my china hutch all year around that says;
 
'Tis the Season
 
And it's still hanging not because I'm lazy, and don't remember to take it down after the holidays.  Although I wouldn't put something like that past me - I did just take down my artificial Christmas tree and decor last week.
 
It still hangs because it's a phrase I catch myself saying a lot.
 
'Tis the season for calving.
'Tis the season for branding.
'Tis the season for bull sales.
'Tis the season for tiredness.
'Tis the season for late nights.
 
And right now - well, 'tis the season for AI.
 
We started the 2015 AI season last Saturday by watching the sun come up as we bred cows at the Knowles' ranch in Heppner, and then watched the sun go down at the Krebs' ranch in Enterprise.

The sunrise out of Heppner....

And the sunset outside of Enterprise....
 
We woke up early Saturday to get chores and feeding done at the ranch, and then climbed into the pickup to go help RJ breed cows at the Knowles'.  They mate all of their cows, so after getting that group done we hitched up to the AI barn and hit the trail for Enterprise.
 
But first - a few pictures from the ranch at Little Buttercreek.
 
We used to live right over the hill when I worked in Heppner, and I will always love the view out here.



 

 
The Krebs family had asked us to breed their heifers that they wintered in Enterprise, so we headed up there late in the morning after we were done at Knowles' and got there just around 3:00 pm.  Their place is out on the Zumwalt prairie down a long gravel road, and just as we were pulling into their driveway my tire pressure sensor light came on.
 
Uh oh.
 
Houston Enterprise we have a problem.
 
As we parked in the driveway, and opened the door we heard the loud HISS of air streaming from the damaged tire.  We weren't parked for long before it was totally flat.  Well, crap. 

At least that's what I thought. 


 
Turns out - the Krebs fix a lot of tires out there, and they were experts.  So as they got to work on changing my tire (thanks again Clint & Cameron!), Clint and I got to work on breeding heifers.
 
We joked the rest of the time about "outsourcing" to those who know best.  The Krebs' knew how to change tires, and we knew how to breed cows, so we all just got to work.  But seriously - I was so thankful.  It took a cheat bar & an air gun to get the lug nuts off, so there would have been NO way we would have been able to change that tire had it happened a few miles earlier out on the gravel road.



 
The heifers came through the barn well, and in no time we had them bred and went to enjoy the most delicious enchiladas I have ever eaten.
 
Seriously - I need to figure out that recipe.
 
After dinner, we hitched up the barn again and headed home to Hermiston.

 
So with two successful projects done in one day, and hopefully a lot of cattle settled to AI -

 I think we can officially say:
 
'Tis the season!
 
- PS -
 
Are you looking for bulls to AI to this season?   I'm working on a post of pictures with Genex progeny test calves but I thought I'd link to a few of our favorite bulls right now.  They're categorized as either bulls to use on heifers, or bulls to protect on mature cows based on our opinions. 
 
If you'd like visit with Clint about doing an AI project on your own ranch, send him an email at clint.sexson@msn.com
 
Because success is reason enough, and we want to help you be successful!

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The Sexson's Favorite Heifer Bulls of 2015:
 
McCoy

You can see my post about our McCoy calves here.  Clint said he likes them even more after they branded them last week.  It appeared that they were outpacing their contemporaries.

Effective

We used this bull in the Krebs' heifers. He'll be a go-to bull for us this year.
 
Balance

This is one of Clint's favorites.  Nice, eye appealing cattle.  We used him in the fall cows last year, and every time you'd drive by a calf you liked, it'd be a Balance calf.  Even though we used him in the cows, he's a heifer bull.
 
Victor 719T

This is a polled Hereford bull, and the main bull we use in heifer projects where customers want to use Hereford semen.

 
The Sexson's Favorite Bulls for Mature Cows of 2015:
 
 
We have a really nice set of Dominance, Insight and Chisum calves on the ground right now at Double M as part of the Genex progeny test.  Come back later this week to the blog to see pictures!

Innovation & Resource are Clint's picks. He really likes the phenotype on both of these bulls and we seem to put a lot of semen from both of these bulls into purebred breeding projects but they'd work in commercial herds as well.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Branding at the Raymond's.

I'm a sucker for a good branding.
 
And Ryan & Amy have good brandings.
 
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves - and there are a lot of them that'll do the speaking.
 
***wink****
 






















 
































 
 
Thank you Ryan & Amy for having us out again this year to help brand the commercial calves!
 
Although there weren't any {big sexy ninja moves} this time - we had a blast!