Posts Tagged With: climate

Goodbye U S of A!

What a wonderful 11 weeks I have been able to spend here in the United States. I have learnt so much and made a wealth of contacts within the beef industry. What an amazing opportunity to be able to learn about, and from, one the worlds largest cattle and beef producing nations.
From National Junior Breed Shows, purebred breeding operations, artificial breeding centres, feedlots, abattoirs and universities, I certainly was able to cover a lot of the beef industry in the US. This of course would not have been possible without the generous help of so many people! I will get to thanking these people at the conclusion of my study tour. It is not all over yet though! Now back to Canada to look at some more breeding operations.

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WHR Shorthorns

After a short plane ride, I finally arrived in the Lone Star state to have a look at the WHR Shorthorn herd of the Rasor family. As we were driving through the front entrance to the property, the herdsman was holding up a Rattlesnake that he had just killed!!! What a great introduction to Texas!

The Rasor family run around 300 cows. 150 being registered Shorthorns, with the other 150 being recipient cows. They flush about 10 of their best cows every year and put their embryos into these recipient cows. One day was spent pregnancy testing some of these cows and heifers that had either been joined by either A.I or natural service, or had embryos implanted. The cows were preg checked by ultrasound. One of the heifers that was checked was in calf about 30 days and you were able to see the foetus pretty clearly, along with the heartbeat.

I also got to help out with their show cattle, of which they sell a number of (mostly heifers) to junior cattle enthusiasts every year. They give these young people all the assistance they can to get them more involved and to be successful in the beef industry. They have a production sale every year, held the last Sunday in March, selling show prospect and donor females, as well as bulls. We also did some general cattle work, which included taking some cull cattle to a sale barn and weaning calves.

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Sydenstricker Angus Genetics

After leaving the Jordan family and a long day traveling, I arrived in Mexico, Missouri to visit the SydGen Angus herd. The herd was established in 1952 and operated as Sydenstricker Angus Farms and went under the S A F prefix. Then a little over 10 years ago they started to operate as Sydenstricker Genetics to signify the business they are in and bring forward a unique naming prefix for their cattle, in SydGen. Two of perhaps the most identifiable bulls in the Angus breed, S A F Fame and V D A R New Trend 315 are also buried on the property.
We toured around their entire herd, which included weaner and yearling bulls, cows and calves, and joined heifers & cows to calve this autumn and herd sires. They have around 800 breeding cows of which they will calve 500 this autumn and 300 in the spring. Of these calves, around 25% would be by embryo transfer. They run their cow herd on about 3000ac of owned and leased land. We got to talk a lot about genetics and cattle throughout my time at Sydenstrickers, which was great!
It was great to work with the SydGen team for the week, and a very busy one it was at that! We hauled sale cows from different pastures back to their home place for their upcoming sale this November. We also preg checked cows, did pre weaning treatments for calves, tattooed calves, fly and worm treatments, put out mineral and blocks, fed cattle and other general duties. Like a lot of the country, it is very dry where Sydenstrickers are, and as their corn crop wasn’t as good this year, they chopped it all and made it into silage, which they will then be able to utilise as feed for the winter. Thanks to the Sydenstricker crew for a great week!

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Waukaru Farms

Going further north in the US, to visit Waukaru Farms, didn’t seem to cool the weather down, but a swim in Lake Michigan certainly did! Waukaru is a Shorthorn herd located in Rensselaer, northern Indiana and owned by the Jordan family. The first registered bull purchased by the family was in 1902, which perhaps makes them one of if not the longest running purebred Shorthorn herd in the United States. It felt very much like home when I arrived at their place and saw this sign!
Along with breeding Shorthorn cattle, they also raise some crops, with 1225 acres of land this year planted to field corn. After the corn is harvested, they are are then able to utilise the corn stalks (left over after the ears are harvested) as feed to winter their cows on. A lot of farmers in the United States rely heavily on corn stalks to winter their cows on, and due to the prevailing drought (the worst in 50 years) that is affecting a big majority of the country, there will not be the feed available that there has been in previous years. A further 500 acres of pasture land is used to run their cattle on. They have a herd of almost completley pure red cows for greater market acceptability, and also breed some Durham Red bulls (Shorthorn/Red Angus cross). The Durham Red program is a composite breeding stratergy that capitalises on breed complimentary, between Shorthorns and Red Angus, and heterosis. This year they will join 300 females, including heifers.

I got to look around all their cows and calves, including some embryo calves and saw the mother of Waukaru Patent 8161 ET, that is being used in Australia at the moment with some great success by Sprys Shorthorns. As well as Australia, the Jordan’s have exported cattle and genetics to a number of countries around the world. We did some general cattle work, put mineral out, stacked hay, fed cows and prepared their show team for the state fair.

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Fair Oaks Farms

Not quite beef cows, but cows none the less! I got to visit and tour Fair Oaks Farms in North West Indiana, a 32,000 head dairy. The majority of cows (about 99%) are Holstein Friesian, with a few other breeds making up the rest. The 32,000 cows are not all at one dairy, as Fair Oaks owns a number of dairies and the cows are split up between these. It takes 800 cows to fill 1 milk tanker, so they work on multiples of 800, be it 800, 1600, 2400, or 3200 cows at each of their dairies, so as they are never filling a half or quarter truck, but always a full tanker. They have a big rotary dairy which milks around 72 cows at one time. The cows walk onto the rotary voluntarily, and then once the rotary completes a full revolution, the cows just back out to head back to their pens. It is not very often that they have to be pushed to go onto or come off the rotary. We took a bus tour around their facilities, showing where the cows get milked, their stalls, birthing areas, waste disposal facilities and where they keep their feed to make their own specially formulated ration for the cows.

As it is located between the two major cities of Chicago and Indianapolis, a lot of city people visit the dairy. For that reason, they have heavily focused on educating the consumer to try and dispel some of the misconceptions within the industry. They also have a shop where the public can purchase their milk, cheese, butter and ice-cream.

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Da Es Ro Angus Farms

The Da Es Ro Angus herd of Bob & Marillyn Schlutz had been in operation for almost 60 years with around 150 breeding females. We looked at some cows and calves, their show cattle as well as a couple of their best donor cows. We looked through the pedigrees of most of their cattle after looking at them in the paddock, which highlighted what was breeding well for them.
They recently had 3 winners at the Iowa Angus Preview Show, which is held before the National Junior Angus Show as a warm up to the event. Two of the bulls they bred themselves and the other was a bull they have just purchased a half share in. As Bob is also on the Iowa State Fair Board, we went and visited a couple of county fairs. No judging was taking place, but it was good to go and tour around the cattle sheds and have a look at the exhibits.

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Ohlde Cattle Company

While still staying with the Jensen family, I visited Ohlde Cattle Company near Clifton, Kansas. They run a total of 800 cows, with half of that number being registered Black Angus. Those involved in the Angus breed may recognise them as O C C. They are breeding a more moderate sized cow, with the aims of increasing efficiency and doing ability. As well as their purebred Black Angus operation, they have a herd of a number of different breeds which includes Simmental, Hereford, Charolais, Red Angus, Shorthorn & Senepol. They were instrumental in the development of the Senepol breed, and also exclusively developed high percentage Angus cattle, known as Angus II. They are normally about 7/8 Angus, with the other 1/8 being beef fresian. They A.I. 500 every year, which includes all their heifers being done at least once. They sell around 250 bulls annually that are mainly registered Black Angus, but also sell some crossbred bulls, like the Simmental/Hereford cross calf shown. I was able to look at their mature cow herd, as well as some of their herd sires, and talk with them about their unique approach to breeding.

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