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The Big Show / The Canadian View of Mt. Rushmore N/C
« on: September 27, 2011, 01:32:58 PM »
Someday I hope I get to see the other side, to see what everyone is talking about!

The Big Show / Beef industry variations in different countries
« on: September 24, 2011, 06:52:43 PM »
We had a great visit with a Scottish breeder today who stopped in to see our cattlle. He has been here several times over the years, so it was great to see him again and to find out what is happening across the pond. When I asked him how things were in Britain, he replied that the Shorthorn breed is seeing unprecedented popularity in Britain. This man raises mostly Angus cattle along with a few Shorthorns, and he said that Shorthorn popularity almost appears to have no upper limit. We had a lengthy discussion as to what was fueling this trend in Britain and he said that there were several reasons for it. In his opinion, he said that Shorthorns were the perfect choice to add to their national cowherd  of mostly European breed base. Not only were Shorthorn genetics adding fleshing ability and carcass quality, but they were also improving maternal traits such as milking ability, fertility and disposition. Another reason he said, was the fact that one of the largest grocery chains in Britain had decided to promote the fact that they would only sell Shorthorn beef in their stores. This chain has gone so far as to pay a huge premium ( of well over $100 per head.. I converted from British pounds to dollars) for Shorthorn beef animals. This has resulted in more and more commerical producers looking for Shorthorn bulls to turn with their cows.

Of course, this discussion was music to my ears, as I am a Shorthorn breeder, but it also made me think about how different policies in different countries affected our beef industry. In the US,the CAB program has been a run away success story, and black hided cattle are king. It always amuses me to see signs in resturants that state that they only serve Angus beef, and I suspect most of the people working in these establishments probably couldn't identify an Angus animal if they had too. They have bought into the thought process that Angus beef is the best beef. I give full marks to the Angus breed for running one of the greatest promotional stategies in beef history. Here is Canada, black hided cattle are still popular but they don't control the marketplace as they once did. Any animal of any color can top a market on any given day, if it looks like it will gain efficently and produce a highly marbled carcass. I suspect that in each of these three countries, the goals of the beef industry are similar, that being the production of a beef animal that grows quickly and produces a healthy, tender, tasty food choice for their consumers. The differences are created by breed promotion and spin developed by industry leaders. Another thing about this story that I find very interesting is the amazing turn around made by the Shorthorn breed in Britain. Less than 3 decades ago, the Shorthorn breed in Britain was placed on the endangered breeds list, as their numbers had dropped to very small numbers. Today they are the fastest growing breed in Britain.   So, I guess the moral of this story, is that there is always hope that some things will change.

And if you think we have strong beef markets here, today in Britain an average cull cow will bring $3000 or more. Commercial bulls oftentimes sell for $10,000-$15,000 ( again I did the conversions to dollars). If we could ever see a beef market similar to this, some may not have to be as reliant on their day jobs!

The Big Show / More pasture pics
« on: August 21, 2011, 08:06:00 PM »
Since I usually carry a camera in my vehicle when I'm doing pasture checks, I end up with a few hundred pictures every year.... none of which are professional by any means. I think they do give a person a reasonable idea of what they are like . I know some people on here complain about people who show pictures of their cattle on here, but to me, these pictures are some of the best threads I see on here. So, at the risk of being accused of self promoting our herd , here are a few pictures taken here in the last few day. Hope you enjoy them!

1) SBR Dora 228 - one of our donors. We are selling 4 embryos from 228 and Saskvalley Ramrod 155R in the All Star Classic in Lacombe, AB on Oct 22nd. We have already sold embryos from this flush to Scotland, England and to two US states and have a few put in ourselves. She produced 41 grade 1 embryos from Ramrod in two flushes to him. They don't make many cows easier fleshing that this cow ( and she has a shot of that dreaded Rodeo Drive in her pedigree!)
2) HC Lady Louisa 12T - a flushmate to HC FL Touchdown 123T. She is a moderate framed female but she has an amazing amount of body. We're selling a flush from her in the All Star Classic as well.
3)HC Melba Niam 61X - a bred heifer that is also consigned to the All Star Classic. She is sired by HC Leader's Legacy 9U  who is a Leader 21st son now working att Galbreath Farms, Enderlin, ND. Legacy has proven to be extremely easy calving and there is semen from him for sale in Canada and the US. This heifer is bred to HC Bar Code 16X ET.
4) HC Secret Maid 16Y - a March heifer by Major Leroy and from our Secret Maid cow family. She also is selling in the All Star Classic
5) HC Beth Juliette 43Y ET - a late March ET heifer that also sells in the All Star Classic. She is sired by Eionmor Mr Gus 80C and is from Winalot Beth Juliette 9K. There are full sibs to this heifer at Cyclone Trace in Iowa and at Alvie Estates in Scotland. One of the few 80C daughters to be offered as his semen is almost all gone.
I will attach a few more pics later .

The Big Show / Kildysart cows and other pasture pics.
« on: July 26, 2011, 09:37:36 PM »
In a previous thread ( Shorty heifer bulls) I was asked to take some pictures of the Kildysart cows I got in Minnesota a few weeks ago. Here are some of them. I will try to get some of the others another day. I have also posted a picture of HC Bar Code 16X ET by Pheasant Creek Leader 4th ( by Kinnaber Leader 6th) and out of B Good Red Sue 1P, and a picture of a Touchdown bull calf that happened to be in this pasture.

The full Irish cow is sired by Deerpark Dividend and she has a big November bull dragging on her, so she is the thinnest of these cows. This bull calf is intensely inbred, as he is sired by her ET son by Deerpark Leader 20th, so there is generations of Kildysart bloodlines in his genetic make-up. He is sold to some Australian breeders, and he will be collected here and semen sent to Australia early next year. This cow and her daughter by Leader 20th will also be flushed for Australia, and one of the sires to be used will be Mandalong Super Flag.

A couple of these cows are out of the Deerpark Kildysart 25th and sired by a son of Pa Do Central Avenue.

The Big Show / You might be blonde if.... ( N/C)
« on: July 22, 2011, 08:45:08 AM »
 A couple were awaken from their sleep on night by a neighbour's dog barking. After listening to the non-stop barking for a long time, the wife got up and said she was going to see what she could do about the noise. When she came back to bed, her husband asked her what she had done. She said that she had put the dog in their yard, so the neighbours could listen to it for awhile!

I have just heard that okotoks mother passed away this morning. Billie Stephenson was a great lady who loved her family, her cattle, and her farm. She continued to operate Frimley Shorthorns after her husband passed away and still had her herd at the time of her passing. I'm sure okotoks and/or jaimiediamond can give much more information of this great lady. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stephenson's at this time.

The Big Show / Anyone want to buy some liquid unassembled snowmen?
« on: June 17, 2011, 01:03:54 PM »
I have probably spent over 85-90% of my life looking at the sky hoping to see a thunderhead forming to bring us some rain. I do not think I have ever complained in my life about us having too much rain..... but that may soon change!  Since 10 pm last night we have had 4.5 inches of rain and it is still raining hard.We were past saturation before this arrived, and in my area, I wouild say that less than 1 % of the crop has been seeded. The little that was seeded was seeded by airplane or by speading canola seed with a Valmar spreader on a harrow bar. The forecast has rain in it for the next 5 days and there is still a heavy rain fall warning in effect. I have never seen so much water here.... ever!!  We are fortunate because we did eventually get our cows sorted and delivered to pastures. I doubt if I can even get to some of the pastures now without a boat. More roads under water today and some washed out where there has never been water before. I spoke with a couple neighbors yesterday who don't have their cows to pasture yet. One of them, is in the process of building a complete new corral system as his old system has 4-5 feet of water in it. Now as of today, so does his new system. I have had a couple phone calls already from people who want to sell their cows because their pastures are under water and their hayland is flooded. Not only will this rain completely dash anyone's plans of even seeding some green feed, but I suspect it could even end some people's hopes for putting any hay up this year. I know some places are in bad need of some rain. I certainly wish I could direct some to these areas. I heard this morning that we have had the same rainfall in the last two months, that we normally get in 6 years during the growing season. All my life, I have thought that it might be drought that put me out of business, and so far I have managed to pull through a bunch of dry years. Never, until now, did I think that it might be water that put me out of business.... but now it is a possibility!  What is that old saying... something about when it rains.. it pours!   

The Big Show / Leah does it again!
« on: June 13, 2011, 04:44:28 PM »
I just received an email from our ET center, that our donor Six S Leah 55L produced 31 grade 1 embryos by Saskvalley Pioneer 126P.The first natural calf she produced for us ( she was an outstanding brood cow in the Butterfield herd in AB for several years)was a bull calf by Star P Matrix, that topped our bull sale two years ago and sold to Texas. We flushed her 6 times in 2009 and she produced 162 grade 1 embryos for an average of 27 per flush. After the 6th flush she then settled to AI breeding less than a week later, which resulted in a Pioneer heifer that topped our fall sale last fall. An ET full brother to this heifer topped our bull sale this spring at $6900. She was flushed again in 2010 and she produced another 69 embryos to average 17 grade 1 embryos. ( her average was less as one flush resulted in several unfertilized embryos probably from a issue with semen). Now with today's 31 grade 1 embryos, this makes 262 that she has produced. If I could find a few more cows like this, I would only need to have a few cows to survive.

I have  posted her picture before, but here it is again for those who have not seen it. For those who think big cows can't  be easy fleshing, you need to see this cow. She pictured here in January on a -35 F day when she was wintered on nothing but hay. The second picture was taken in the fall on the same day we weaned her calf.

The Big Show / A few Sunday snapshots
« on: June 12, 2011, 06:22:06 PM »
Here are a few snapshots of a few critters I pictured this morning, while checking pastures. 

1) HC Lady Louisa 12T ET - a flushmate sister to HC FL Touchdown 123T ET. She will be flushed on Tuesday to HC Timeline 17T ET. I have my fingers and toes crossed on this flush. We have 35 recips set up so I hope we get some embryos from this flush to implant

2) HC 5Y  - a January 28th ET bull calf   HC Timeline 17T ET X New Beginnings Elsies Jade  He had a 98 lb BW and was unassisted at birth.

3)  Another pic of 5Y  - He has tremendous muscle expression, especially through his lower quarter.

4) HC Timeline 17T ET on pasture 2011.

5) Elsie's Jade

The Big Show / Am I seeing things or not?
« on: May 28, 2011, 09:45:49 AM »
We just arrived home from a trip to Billings, MT, where we brought Touchdown home from Genex Hawkeye West. This was the third trip I have made in the past 3 weeks with the stock trailer on the truck. We have been delivering bulls and picking our herd bulls up from studs and we logged just short of 5000 miles and were in 8 states and 2 provinces. I'm down to 3 bulls left to deliver and they are going within 100 miles of home, so they will be short day trips.

On  our first trip to Southern Illinois, I told my wife Chris, that she would see mostly black cattle on the trip. We did see lots of black cattle in pastures, however, I was thinking that I did not see as many as I normally have seen. I thought it might just be my imagination. When we left here for Billings a couple days ago, I again mentioned this to Chris, that it will be wall to wall black cattle to Billings and back. By the time we had made a couple hundred miles, Chris said " I thought you said that all we would see was black cattle?"  I had noticed it as well, as we were seeing lots of red herds, some Hereford herds, and some Charolais herds, and even one herd that had obvious Shorthorn influence by the numbers of roans in the herd. By the time we got back to the Canadian border, I was a bit surprised by the numbers of non black cattle we had seen. ( Of course, we were only seeing a small fraction of the American cow herds on these trips, and they were all along some major highways).I have made this trip many times over the years, and I would say there has been a major shift to more non black cattle,  Chris said that she thought that over half the herds we saw were non black on the trip to Billings. I'm thinking she was high on her estimation,but I would guess the non black herds would have been in the 35-40 % range. Another observation was that I saw more Hereford herd bulls on this trip than on any trip through this part of Montana ever before. We also saw lots of Red Angus, polled Hereford, Gelbvieh, Charolais as well as quite a few Longhorn bulls ( obviously for use on heifers)

I know we have beat this color issue almost to death on SP previously, but I have been wondering about our observations since getting back home. If the black hide color is worth such a premium in the US marketplace, why are we seeing so many herds of non black cattle? Why did we see so many pastures with lots of non black herd sires? ( don't take me wrong, as we saw lots of black bulls on grass as well, but my point is that we saw what I estimate to be a huge increase in non black herd sires)  Maybe someone can answer another question that popped into my pea brain as we were driving, that being, do all cattle that qualify for the CAB program have to be solid black or would black baldys fit the program as well? I seem to think that they need to be solid black, but I am not 100% sure of this. Are some of larger ranchers in this business starting to look past the color barrier and if so, why would they do this if thre are such huge discounts on non  black cattle?

One more observation was that we had dinner at a high end steak establishment in Billings on Thursday evening, and they proudly proclaimed on their menu that they only served Certified Angus beef. I understand fully that some mistakes will happen, but the steak I was served was without any doubt the worst piece of fried shoe leather I have experienced in  a few decades. Seriously, I could have held the CAB program at ransom with it. Chris said her steak was fine but the one I had was far worse than ordinary. It was almost impossible to chew and if it had not been covered in steak spice, it would have had no flavour at all. I am not a person who complains about food placed in front of me, and I would normally suffer through a poor meal before I would make a scene, but I did comment on this steak. I told them that I felt that they should know that my steak was extremely poor quality and that I did not want them to cook me another one, nor did I want  a discount. When i got the bill they had not charged me for my meal.
I just thought I would toss out my observations and see if others are seeing similar things . All I know, is  that I have not seen as many non black cattle in the state of Montana in several decades.

The Big Show / On the road again!
« on: May 02, 2011, 10:33:52 PM »
We're heading out tomorrow delivering bulls in the US and will be heading to North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and possibly Missouri. My wife Chris, tells me that there is really something wrong with me, when I consider.... travelling about 2700 miles in about 4 days with a stock trailer full of bulls.... a holiday!  Well, it seems to be about as close to a holiday as I get! I hope to look at some cattle in Minnesota for an Australian breeder, and also hope to stop and see the Duis cattle again.

This  joke was told by a sale manager at a bull sale I was at on Thursday.

A cowboy woke up in the middle of the night by a very bad toothache. Being a tough cowboy, he decided he could  handle the pain, but by morning he was chomping down Extra Strength Tylenol as if they were candy. The pain would not let up and finally he listened to his wife and went to the dentist.
He sat down in the dentist's chair and he saw the dentist picking up his needle filled with freezing. The cowboy told that dentist that he was extremely allergic to the freezing so he couldn't have it. The dentist then suggested that he could use gas to put him out until the tooth  was pulled. To this, the cowboy said that he was also extremely allergic to the gas so that was not an option either.
The dentist thought for a minute and then said " I guess that only leaves the little blue pill as our only option"  The cowboy responded " blue pill? Isn't that Viagra?"  The dentist said " yes, the Blue pill is Viagra"
The cowboy said" now what does Viagra got to do with my bad tooth?"   To which the dentist replied " It really has nothing to do with you tooth, I just thought you might need something to hold onto, when I was pulling your tooth!"

The Big Show / Wheatland Bull sale.
« on: April 01, 2011, 08:42:34 AM »
A nice sale at Wheatland Simmenatals yesterday. The bulls averaged $9000 with a top of $25,000 to an American buyer. The same American buyer purchased the top selling half blood Simmental X Angus bull at $13,000. They also offered a first time ever " Pick of the cowherd " flush and it brought $40,000. I was unable to attend but will try to get some more information.

The Big Show / Sun Country Bull Sale.
« on: March 10, 2011, 11:09:19 AM »
 We are just starting to work on our sale catalog and I thought I would present a preview of some of the bulls we have on offer this year. The pictures were all taken in late February and many of those pictured were 10-11 months old. We feel this is our best offering to date. As usual, we will be offering delivery to a central midwest US location at cost.

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