Friday, January 30, 2015

It's all in your hands.

I think
I may talk
With my hands
Just a little.
Well...maybe not aaaalllllll of the time. 
Happy Friday friends!

Keep living the dream!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2015 Young Cattlemen's Tour

4 tour buses.
3 educational stops.
2 hundred people.
1 great day.
Last Friday was the 2015 Young Cattlemen's Tour. Each year with the help of Beef Northwest, the Oregon Cattlemen's and Washington Cattlemen's Associations plans and hosts a free tour for young cattlemen.

What is so impressive is that 220 people registered for the tour this year - so many that they had to orer a fourth tour bus.  It was exciting to see so many young people interested in the cattle industry and livestock!


This year, the group traveled to Agribeef's El Oro feedlot in Moses Lake,  Rathbun Angus Ranch also in Moses Lake, and the day was capped off with a 3 speakers at dinner & a job fair at Booker Auctions. Along the way, various speakers presented on the buses about opportunities and hot topics in agriculture. I had the oppotunity to visit about FSA's farm loan and livestock programs - and was honestly surprised with how many great questions came from each bus.

A big thank you to Christina & Ron and the entire crew at Beef Northwest for all of the work they put into organizing the tour, and to the gracious hosts and sponsors who helped make the day happen.
Success is reason enough.
For more images visit here - and be sure to check out OCA's take on the day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The {Real} McCoy.

Double M is a Progeny Test herd for Genex.  I’ve talked about what a Progeny Test is here, but basically we AI cattle each year using new young sires in the Genex line up along with a reference sire.

Last spring, the ranch’s replacement heifers were bred to Thunder and McCoy.  We also bred a smaller group to Solution and a bull we call 1289 but the majority of the heifers were bred to the Thunder/McCoy mating.  Today I thought I’d show you a few of the McCoy calves since he’s so new.

McCoy is a new young sire that Genex calls a “Bet the Ranch” bull – and I’d easily agree.  We have had zero trouble with the McCoy calves.  The heifers easily had their calves, the head & shoulder shape on the cattle is conducive to calving ease and the calves are phenotypically correct.  You can check out McCoy’s EPD’s for all of the info – but I think sometimes it’s nice to hear what really happens first hand after the calf is born.

We AI’ed about 185 heifers last year – and as of Sunday, we’ve tagged 112 calves.  The heifers due date was 1/22 for the first time breed so I’m calculating conception from this weekend – I know there were a few repeat breeds, but for the purpose of this post I’m not considering those.  So that means we had about a 60% conception rate, which we think is right on target.  Of the 112 heifers that calved, we had 3 sets of twins.  The lightest calf we’ve had was 44 pounds (it was 10 days early) and the heaviest was 90 pounds.  The average calf weight has been 70 pounds.  The McCoy calves have also coincidentally averaged 70 pounds as well.

The calves pictured in this post were born starting Jan. 7 up until this Jan. 21.  They are numbered in sequential order - so a calf with an eartag of 501 was born before 502, etc.  The heifers are commercial, but are primarily Angus and Simmental.  Double M tries to keep the cattle at a 5/8 Angus, 3/8 Simmental cross as a general guideline.  The heifers are developed on flood irrigated pastures in the spring, summer and early fall and have been on long hay since October.

Now for the stuff that you don’t want to admit to – but if I were a rancher looking to use a new bull, I’d want to know.  We’ve lost three calves during calving – we had two sets of twins where we had one alive & one dead.  We lost another calf early on to a cow we ended up performing a c-section on but we missed her during the breeding process and should have culled her for her pelvic size then.  Out of the 112 calves we’ve pulled 7 of those – 2 had legs back, 2 were the sets of twins I mentioned above, and 3 heifers were just being dumb and wouldn’t lay down and have their calf. 
 I bet some of you can relate to that. 
I guess I mention the above because we haven’t had to pull anything due to size or shape – which is important to consider when considering a heifer bull.

A Thunder calf (left) and a McCoy calf (right) for comparison - both were born on the same day.

A Solution calf (left) and a McCoy calf (right) for comparison - again, both born within a day of each other.

And two McCoy calves.
Overall – we are thrilled with how the heifers handled being bred to both Thunder & McCoy.  If you haven’t used either of these bulls – I’d easily recommend using them in your replacement heifers.  (Heck – the calves are good enough, you could use them in your cows as well.)  If you’re a herd that’s used Thunder in the past and are looking for something new – try McCoy.

I think you’ll find he lives up to his name – he is The Real McCoy.

If you have questions about the cattle – feel free to leave a comment below, or contact us using the Contact tab above.  We love talking cattle and are happy to share both the positives and negatives…..although this year, we haven’t really found too much negative.

Which is a blessing when you’re calving heifers.

Success is reason enough.

Monday, January 26, 2015

AI'ing at 7UP

We bred cows at Terry & Debby Anderson's 7UP Ranch last Tuesday & Wednesday morning.

Terry & Debby live just down the road from us in Stanfield, so it's easy to do chores and check the calving heifers & cows first thing on the ranch, and then head over to their place.  This year we set up a double AI barn and a single (using a Y) and brought cows down one alleyway and sorted into the two boxes.  RJ, Clint & Tyler bred and I thawed for both boxes.

7UP always time breeds their cows the third week in January, and I think we've helped for the past 4 or 5 years now.  RJ is in charge of the project, so we just show up both mornings to help thaw & AI.  The cows are CIDR'ed ahead of time, and any heats are pulled off ahead of time and bred by RJ.  The majority of cows though are bred on a time appointment.  While we gave every cow a GnRH shot, most didn't need it as they'd shown great signs of standing heat.

Terry & Debby mated their mature cows to four bulls this year - Premium Beef, Absolute, Trinity & Beef King.    Terry would load three cows in the alleyway, find their mating and then call out the sires to me.  Then I would thaw the lineup Terry called out, we'd load the box in the same order every time and we'd go about our business.
I posted on Facebook the first morning we bred that the AI'ing was Efficient, Paced & Professional.  And while we play a large role inside the box in making those things happen, Terry & Debby play a large role too. 
Both are detail oriented, quiet around the cattle and they are prepared.  The mating sheet was color coded & laminated so even when it started to drizzle - Terry could efficiently and quickly call matings to me.  The cows were in great condition, and had ear tags that were easy to read.  The crew horseback (Shout out to Justin & others!) sorted the cows from the calves quietly and efficiently so that when the cows came to the barn they did so calmly.

Tuesday was beautiful - sunny & with just a slight breeze.
We didn't get quite so lucky on Wednesday morning - fog & a cold mist socked us in but we kept at it and in short order the cows were bred and back with their calves eating hay.  My 'real' camera stayed tucked in the pickup, but I captured a few shots from inside the barn with my cell phone.

The lead up to the barn.
We hope for a successful conception rate for the Anderson's!
- Success is Reason Enough -