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The Big Show / Show help at the NILE
« on: September 26, 2017, 10:14:51 PM »
We are currently searching for show help while we are at the NILE for the Red Angus show in October. Duties will consist of typical daily work, Washing, blowing, fitting etc. Experienced individuals please. Message me if you are interested. RW

The Big Show / Summer internship
« on: April 08, 2017, 03:21:07 PM »
We traditionally offer a summer internship working in the show barn. As luck would have it, the individual that we had selected this year cannot fulfill the internship. So now we are once again in search of someone to fill the position. The job includes halter breaking calves, daily care of our showstring, feeding, washing, blowing, as well as many other tasks associated with show cattle preparation. The position starts approximately May 1st and runs through mid August. If you are interested in this position send me a message and I will email you an application. Absolutely NO drugs!!!! RW

The Big Show / Re: Basin hobo 79e
« on: January 27, 2017, 08:07:04 PM »
Calving ease bull that produced some pretty nice daughters. RW

The Big Show / Re: A good read on birth weights
« on: December 05, 2016, 08:01:31 PM »

Revenue per cow tells us very very little about profitability as it completely disregards the other side of the equation, the cost of production!  I'd bet the farm that the cows in your herd that generate the most revenue are not even close to being the most profitable ie revenue less expenses.  Weaning weight % is the only economically relevant trait as it is the only metric that accounts for ALL indicator traits. Females with narrow pelvic have dead calves and thus wean 0%. Same with cows w/ excessive Bw's. Poor milkers wean poor WW%.  Heavy milkers don't breed back and wean 0%.  High maintenance cows don't breed back and wean 0%. Poor udders? Poor ww%.  Bad legs/feet => cant travel, loses body condition, either weans poor % or fails to breed back altogether.  No matter the flaw, it will be exposed in the WW%.

Revenue generated per cow is huge for me. The cow that consistently produces progeny that sell for $3,500 to $10,000+ will more than pay for herself and her upkeep as well as make the payments on other things. Compare her to the cow that consistently puts one in the cull pen to be sold as a feeder calf for $800 to $1,000, the choice is pretty easy for me to make on which cow that I will be feeding the next year. Our most prolific money generating cows will average 1450 lbs. They will all consistently wean off calves that will weigh 700 to 850 lbs without creep and on endophyte infected fescue. I do not have a 4 frame score animal on the place anymore simply because they could not produce the performance that would make them keepers. The last of the 1100 lb cows that were here struggled to wean off 500 lb calves in the same conditions as the other cows. We weigh our cows twice a year so I have a pretty good handle on their weights as well as what they produce.

Rather than putting direct selection pressure on indicator traits such as frame or weight, or even birweight or calving ease!, start selecting for weaning weight % and you'll have a new found love for those 4 frame 1100lbers.  If you have 1500lb cows that are weaning half their body weight without supplementation then that's great! But for most environments, selecting for a 50% weaning weight % will self regulate cow size to 11-1200lbs,, and even smaller in many locations. 

I do not select for B.W. when I select a herd bull or AI sire. I select for a bull that has good feet and legs first and foremost, how the bull is made, cow families and actual performance next. I pay very little attention to EPD's as there is far too much corrupt data involved in their formulation to be even remotely accurate.

Now I don't know anyone who thinks 85lb calves are too big for COWS but MANY quality commercial heifers will need assistance calving 85lb calves as that is over 10% of their body weight.  And this is where this topic just becomes circular.  No matter the metric, weight without context is arbitrary! Cow or heifer size has to be taken into consideration when talking about 'ideal birthweights.' 

Truthfully, BW has a fairly limited effect on calving ease. It's the square peg in the round hole concept. Typically our heifer will have 78 to 85 lb calves unassisted, but that is due a large part to the fact that the calves are made to come out easily. Long, smooth shouldered with a nice sized head. I have pulled 75 lb calves from purchased first calf heifers that were built like a box, about as wide as they were long.

I also believe this is why BW EPD is still a valuable tool as it presents some context, when analyzing CE EPD, as to the type (size) of heifers the bull in question has been bred to. It gives context as to the size of heifers the CE EPD was generated around.  Just because a +2 BW bull has the same CE EPD as a -2BW bull doesn't mean their calving ease will be the same on ALL heifers.  They may calve the same when bred to 1200lb grown out heifers but when bred to common 800lb commercial heifers, this is where their ease of calving tends to vary.

For an EPD to be a valuable tool it has to be based on the belief that the data used to obtain that EPD is accurate and not manipulated. Our Association does not require a BW to be turned in. If there is not an actual BW turned in the Association assigns them "breed average" BW EPD. I fail to see how this EPD can be a valuable tool when thousands of calves are assigned a breed average EPD. In all actuality the EPDs on a young animal are pretty much irrelevant until it produces enough progeny to accurately identify it's traits. For the bulk of breeding bulls, they will not have enough progeny to identify until they are 5 to 7 years old and in most cases they are long gone by then.   

The Big Show / Re: A good read on birth weights
« on: December 05, 2016, 12:26:28 PM »
I really don't understand how we have arrived at the point where people are convinced an 80 - 85 lb calf is a calving issue especially for mature cows. My heifers will routinely have calves in that weight range without incident if the position of the calf is normal. This is a product of necessity as we are on the road 2 to 4 days a week during most of the calving season with our business. I simply cannot have heifers that struggle to have a live calf if it is above 70 lbs. My chore crew will check them in the morning while feeding and again at night while doing the evening chores but they are on their own the rest of the time. Last year we lost 4 calves out of 70 cows and heifers, all 4 were lost when we were at home and were not related to BW. One was lost in a snow bank in a storm, two were a set of twins that were not positioned correctly and the fourth was a first calf heifer that we had bought as a bred who had a 50 lb calf that didn't survive the cold.  We have a 7 year running average of having 82 lb heifers and 84 lb bulls. I can count on one hand the number of calves that we have had in the last 20 years that were 100 lbs. I recently read an article published by a university claiming that a 3.8 frame score cow that weighs 1100 lbs is the ideal cow and that may work for some people but out here in my little corner of the world it's not a functional idea. Yes I understand that the 1100 lb cow eats less but her 60 to 65 lb calf that they were promoting as ideal won't generate the revenue per cow that my 5.5 to 6 frame cows do having 80 to 87 lbs calves do. The simple truth is that 90% of our bull and heifer calves that are born here weighing 70 lbs or less end up in the cull pen because they typically are finer boned and low performing cattle that never catch up to their counterparts that are born in the 80+ lb range. Everyone likes to talk about about % of the cows body weight in comparison to the weaned calf weights. I much prefer to talk about the % of revenue a cow produces compared to their counterparts in the herd

The Big Show / Re: A good read on birth weights
« on: November 27, 2016, 05:03:49 PM »
The "old cowboys" all used the 8% rule. The idea was that any cow/heifer should be able to have 8% of her body weight in a calf assuming it is a normal presentation without complication. Example - a 1000 lb heifer should have an 80 lb calf without and complications if presentation is normal. The "old cowboys" also studied the way the bulls were made, clean fronted bulls with smooth shoulders and nice heads were selected for calving ease prospects. I think that we should all take a lesson from the "old cowboys" and pay attention to the animals more and the papers less with their computer generated guesses on what the bull will produce. There is far too much manipulated data being turned in for the EPD's to be even slightly usable in many cases. In my opinion, a 40 to 65 lb calf is a throw away. Yes I will concede that there are a few that occasionally go on and perform but the percentage is relatively small.  If your heifers can only physically have a 60 -70 lb calf unassisted, maybe you should be looking for a different maternal base for your herd. RW

The Big Show / Re: Red Angus Maternal Calving ease
« on: November 04, 2016, 09:03:03 PM »
For the 35+ years that I have been involved with Red Angus cattle, they have been known as a calving ease/maternal breed. In the past several years it has become fashionable in no small part thanks to the major AI studs and the association to pursue and promote extreme calving ease. It seems like a suicide mission to me to take a breed already known for it's calving ease and chase that trait to extreme. With every generation of compiled calving ease sires that is stacked on top of each other you will sacrifice pelvic area. I see people bragging about having 60 - 65 pound calves out of their heifers and the "chosen" bull and wonder why? Why would you want a 60 pound calf. They as a general rule are behind their whole lives, finer boned and consequently smaller pelviced. I am also hearing and seeing calves that are being born at 40, 45 to 50 pounds, in my mind they are throw away calves assuming they live if it happens to be -10 degrees below 0 when they are calved. I expect my heifers to be able to calve atleast 8% of their body weight, ie 1000 pound heifer should have an 80 pound calf unassisted. As many of you know, with our travel schedule we can't baby sit heifers. When we are at home we check cows 3 times a day and unless we see one that is in the process of calving we don't check them any other time. It's been over 5 years since we have pulled a calf because it was too big for the cow/heifer to have. I think that people need to look at how the bulls that they are using are made and not what the paper says. RW

The Big Show / Re: Looking for help at the NILE in Billings, MT
« on: September 22, 2016, 08:03:13 PM »
Always wanted to go to Denver and have a white Christmas Stu.
Family might not like it oh to be young again  (lol)

I hear you, things were alot easier 30 years ago than now. Things that were alot of fun back in the day just plain hurt now! Invitation is open if you get back over here in the future.

The Big Show / Re: Looking for help at the NILE in Billings, MT
« on: September 21, 2016, 08:10:13 PM »
Aussie, I might take you up on that but you would probably have to stay through Louisville and Denver too!

The Big Show / Re: Looking for help at the NILE in Billings, MT
« on: September 18, 2016, 03:47:38 PM »
Red Angus

The Big Show / Looking for help at the NILE in Billings, MT
« on: September 15, 2016, 08:25:20 AM »
We are looking for help with our showstring at the NILE in Billing, MT in October. PM me if you're interested.

The Big Show / Re: Red Angus
« on: January 16, 2016, 09:54:37 PM »
I'm a little late to the party here. We get the opportunity to see thousands of Red Angus cattle all over the United States and some in Canada every year. I can tell you that there are cattle in nearly every region of the country that will likely suit you. At this point it is a matter of how far do you want to travel from where you are located to see the cattle in person, which I would highly recommend. RW

The Big Show / Re: NAILE tips/advice
« on: November 09, 2015, 10:03:50 PM »
There is a section of permanent tie out rails but it is not nearly big enough to handle all of the cattle that are there. Some build pens along side of their trailers with corral panels. We usually tie to the side of the trailer and bed them down there.

The Big Show / Re: NAILE tips/advice
« on: November 09, 2015, 06:16:46 PM »
After you find a place to tie them out, you will be able to go to the NAILE office to get everything else you need. We generally tie to the side of our trailer for tie outs. We leave Wednesday morning to head down there.

The Big Show / Re: Testicle degeneration
« on: November 09, 2015, 06:13:51 PM »
We had two herdbulls come down with this at the same time. We had just showed them both in Denver as two year olds and I wondered if there was a connection with that. They both shared some of the same genetics and at the time I wondered if there was a connection there as well. It was a bad day having to ship $28,000 in herd bulls let alone having to replace them both before breeding season. RW

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