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151
The Big Show / I can't stop checking out the PLANET!
« on: June 19, 2008, 10:31:21 AM »
Hi everyone!
 I am on day 3 of my visit to Scotland. My ansectors left here in 1884 for North America, and I am now wondering why they did. What a beautiful place! Despite many health issues in recent years ( BSE,Foot and Mouth, Bluetongue, etc) the cattle business is flourishing. I am presently at the Royal Highland show in Edinburgh. Met a Maine breeder from Wyoming this morning that is a good friend with a good friend of mine in Alberta.... it really is a small world!!
Commercial cattlemen here really take good breeding stock seriously. A friend of mine here, sold all his yearling bulls at 4500 or $9000 US out of his yard. He said he would have gotten considerably more if he had held them until they were two years old. I think I would be happy with selling my bulls for a $9000 average out of my yard. Quite frankly, the bulls he sold at this price would be hard to sell at home... quite rangy and not near as well muscled as ours ( ie: all breeds in N America). I have seen several offspring from embryos I have sent over here. They look good even though they are not as tall as many of the cattle here. They show mature bulls here so there are some pretty impressive monsters in all breeds. Several Angus by US and Canadian sires that weigh in excess of 3000 lb. I am impressed with many of the Angus cattle I see here.

I was suffering from ''lackofplanetitis'' and finally found a computer at the... and I had to check out the Planet. Hope everyone is doing well and surviving the crazy weather many have been getting. Back home, we have started to get some rains... we are not out of teh woods yet but we are thankful for what we have received. The grass is at least growing now.
Just thought I would check in.....

152
The Big Show / Passing of a great Shorthorn breeder
« on: April 02, 2008, 09:53:28 PM »
I am on the road today, and i received a phone call that has left me in shock all day. Doug Schrag from Schrag Shorthorns, Marion, South Dakota passed away on Sunday. The funeral is on Friday. Doug was a great breeder of catlle, but even more was a genuine caring person. My condolences to his wife Candace, and to Cory and Melissa. I believe Doug's dad, Paul is now 98 years old and still lives in his own home and still drives out to the farm. Dougs mother is now in a home. I believe Doug was  60 years old, and he will certainly be missed. I did not see anything here in regards to this bad event so I decided i would post this in the vent that some who knew him had not heard. If this has been posted and i missed it, i apologize.

153
The Big Show / Sun Country Shorthorn Bull Sale
« on: March 21, 2008, 12:31:59 AM »
In the event you are looking for something to do, I thought I would let the world know that our bull sale catalogue is online now at www.horseshoecreekfarms.com. It will also be posted on uluru's website in the very near future as well, which is www.ulurushorthorns.com

154
The Big Show / Sex of calves
« on: March 04, 2008, 08:00:33 AM »
I am not sure if it is the luck of the draw or if there is a reason for this happening. For the past three years we have had a much higher percentage of heifers than we do bull calves born. In 2006 we had 72% heifers, in 2007 we had 80% heifers, and so far in 2008 we have 3 bull calves and 28 heifers out of 31 calves born so far. Some of these calves are ET, some AI and they are also from 5 herdsires. Maybe it will turn around but, if past history means anything, we may have another bumper crop of heifers again. These calves are from an array of sires, some are purebred Shorthorn, some are Shorthorn X Angus/Maine cross.
Don't take me wrong, as the heifers are easy to sell, but I really would like some more bull calves as we are trying to get a bull sale off the ground... and it is hard to have a bull sale with a bunch of heifers.

Anyone have any ideas? Is this random chance? Looking back over my records, I see a trend to more heifers born, but nothing like we have seen in the past 3 years.
I have heard old timers say that a high percentage of heifers in a calf crop means a dry year ahead. I have always thought of this being an " old wives tale" but then we have certainly been on the dry side for the last 3 years. If this is the case, this year sounds like fun!

155
The Big Show / Cows living on snow?????
« on: February 01, 2008, 09:58:43 AM »
From time to time I have seen threads on here that refer to the fact that cows cannot live on snow as a water source. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to view a herd of 400 cows that winters on only snow as their water source. These cows have been swath grazing barley cut fairly green, as well as a field of dwarf corn. They only have poplar bush as shelter with no bedding provided. How did these cows look?   Well, I have to say that these cows were one of the most impressive sets of cows I have seen in a long time. They were extremely well fleshed, and some would call them too fat. The owner was concerned that they were getting too fat as well, but I thought they looked near perfect.

The calves were weaned from these cows in late October and the cows were run on grain stubble until they had dried up. They were then turned into the field where the barley swaths and corn was. This works very well as there is quite a lot of bush so that the cows have lots protection from wind. It was -30 F yesterday and these cows were out grazing on the corn and looked like they were enjoying it. The owner had over 100 bred heifers running with the cows and they looked very impressive as well. Calving starts in mid April and ends by the 3rd week in May. Everything calves on pasture. Black Simmental bulls are used on all the cows and the heifers are bred to Angus bulls. 
These mature cows were mostly Angus/ Hereford cross with the younger cows mainly Simmental/Angus and Maine /Angus crosses. There were also about 30 Shorthorn cows in this group. All were in excellent condition.

What impressed me was that there was literally no work involved in  feeding this sizable herd in the winter months. The owner also works full time at his business off the farm. He said he had not started his tractor at all this winter and his only work involved driving through the field once or twice a week to see that everything was OK.

This type of management does not work for everyone or everywhere. I do think that this owner has done an excellent job of matching his environment to the most efficient management of his herd. We have had a very cold winter so far, yet this herd has actually gained weight with no water source , other than snow, no bedding, and literally little or no work. I thought I would pass this on... as it really made me think about the management I was using on my own herd. Some of these practices would not work for my environment, but probably some would.

156
USDA announced this morning that it will accept all classes of cattle from Canada, starting on November 19th /07 provided they were born after some date in 1999. (  I am going by memory and I cannot remember the exact date). Since Canada opened it's border to US imports early in 2007, there has been a major movement of breeding stock from the US into Canada. As of Nov 19th we hopefully will once again have a complete North American beef industry, just as it was built... and how it should remain.

157
I thought this topic could create some good discussion on here. In several postings since I joined this very elite group, I have seen several comments about there being too many females in flush programs that are not good enough. What qualities makes a female " good enough"?

 For example, if a female wins a major show, does that make her qualify as a female worthy of being flushed? Or does a female who has a famous female within her top two generations make her worthy.?... or does a female who has never had a halter on her head but always comes in with a calf that is in the top end of your calf crop?  Or is she good enough if she is really ugly, but has EPDs in the top 2% of the breed for WW,YW and is above average for BW and Milk make her an ET candidate? Or if she is a just a sound made cow that has brought in a few bull calves that are the first to sell out of your bull pen each year, reason enough to meet your ET vet? There are probably many more scenierios, but I think you should get the picture of what I am asking your opinion on.

Also.... while you are at it, include your thoughts on the topic of if when there is good cause to flush a virgin heifer?

158
The Big Show / Horned vs Polled
« on: August 06, 2007, 09:21:59 PM »
Here is a question for you to consider.....
You are a purebred breeder with a herd of 50 breeding age females. You are looking for a herd bull to use in your herd as you only A.I. a few head each year. Your cows are almost all polled and about 1/2 of them are at least 3 generations polled breeding and the rest are two generations or less. You have three horned females in the herd.
In your search for the next great herd sire, you find two bulls that you really like. Both have excellent bloodlines and both are selling in the same sale.The only problem is that the one you like the best is horned while the other bull is polled and not quite as good. You also know that the chances are that the horned bull will sell for considerably less money than the polled bull will. You also want to try to produce some bulls that can be developed to sell, so you are conscience of the discrepancy that often exists between horned and polled animals.
THE QUESTION IS>>>> WOULD YOU TRY TO BUY THE HORNED BULL AS YOU THINK HE IS THE BEST BULL.... OR WOULD YOU PASS HIM BY BECAUSE HE IS HORNED AND TRY TO PURCHASE THE POLLED BULL? Have at it.....

159
The Big Show / What is your definition of femininity?
« on: August 05, 2007, 08:24:04 AM »
As I mentioned in a previous posting, I often think that the word " femininity" is oftentimes one of the most misused words in the beef industry. I once asked the owner of an excellent commercial herd of 1500 cows, what his definition of femininity was. He replied that in his world, a female that gets bred, and calves without assistance,cares for her calf, milks well yet is able to maintain her body condition, weans a calf in the top 50% of the calf crop, and does all this within a 12 month period until she is 10 years old.... is a very feminine female. I am sure that his definition is different from many others. What is your definition of femininity or what does femininity look like in your opinion?

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