Friday, September 28, 2007

Why Simmental, Part 5 (AND LAST!)

Cruising down the cattle highway.......I couldn't find the girls out north! I kept calling but I figured the gale force winds had something to do with it.

They aren't at the stock that thing is low! I did walk out to the top of my knee high boots and the water is still deep where there IS water.

When I did find them they were laying down, and when I called it startled them and they all jumped up and came running towards me!

I just had to take a photo of another two year old mom with her 6 month old bull calf. He's looking good!

The red bull calf I'm going to keep. He's related to most of the red cows so he will be bred to dad's black cows. (he keeps blacks, I keep reds, less confusing for him!)

One of my pretty girls from AI. She's a keeper too! See how much darker she is than the adult cow behind her?

Poppa Valiant standing proud amongst his harem of ladies and his offspring.

They decided to go for their daily run (literally) and went running back to the stock pond for their afternoon drink. Valiant the ever watchful protector stands guard while the women and children drink. what a guy!

Why Simmental, Part 4

A few of our yearling heifers that we did AI with this summer. I didn't have any 'traditionally' marked calves last year so that was kind of a bummer, but these girls sure are gorgeous!

Why Simmental, part 3

Some of 'da boys' from our west pasture. We are keeping the solid black bull calf as he is from AI, and he is the last of his mother's line, so totally unrelated to all other lines of our girls so he will be a GREAT outcross.

Gisele (black goggle face) and P06's red heifer calf. I love that facial marking. In the background you see a red cow, that's Rudie. She's the start of my most heavily kept line of females on our farm. I"d say 50% of our girls are related to her in some way.

Keeley is 1/2 Simmental, 1/2 angus. Her mother was our nicest Angus cow ever. Very typey and great mothering skills, and her bull calves were always breath taking.

Here is my cute little Ithaca (I found her name!) She is just too cute for words and very dark cherry red like they like them here in the US.

Here is our 18 month old herd bull Teddy, working hard. They are just so docile! Yet I never trust them. He's going for Butcher as his use was quite short lived. The US Simmental breeders are trying for more blaze faced animals. He wouldn't be going but we have better bull calves this year from AI. Well, that and our freezer died in the garage and we lost all of our meat!

Why Simmental, Part 2

These are photos of the Traditionally marked Simmental at our home pasture. Lots of photos so be patient.

Three calves from three different sires. All gorgeous in their own respect.

Father, Daughter, grand Daughter. The father is our mature 4 year old herd bull. The mother is a 2 year old and the daughter is 6 monthns old. Notice mother is still growing, and calves aren't normally weaned until nine months old...that's three months from now! She'll be nearly her mothers size when weaned. And her mom is in great condition!

This is Racine. I named them after major US cities this year :) She is from the yellow herd bull and a solid red cow. She is defintely a keep! This is breed type!

This is P47's calf. I can't remember his name of the top of my head. MAN IS HE WILD! I don't typically keep hyper cattle as most of them were in my camera as I was taking the photos and couldn't get a good shot :) He carries the yellow gene, is spotted and striking. Hopefully he'll settle down this winter in closer quarters with people. I don't need them to be tame, just not flighty

The twins that were born last taking a break from lunch to smile for the camera! First time mom Istas is such a good mom!

My herd bull Sherlock. His time is up here after being used for three years. I wish I could use him more as he's been THE driving force behind me getting more yellows on the farm. Now nearly 1/2 of my girls carry that yellow factor thanks to him.

Minneapolis is Maddy's son (I name according to first letter of mom's name) He will be the replacement bull for his father. Minneapolis was born quite light and I'm hoping that means he will throw more yellows! His mother is by far my smallest cow I've ever had in the Simmental. However she always weans the largest calf each year (over 700 pounds). That's over 1/2 her weight! She's been worth every blade of grass. I hope to get a female from her next year bred back to Sherlock.

Family photo of Sherlock with Bacardi and Bismarck. I was hoping for a spotted calf this year and ended up with a spotted YELLOW HEIFER calf! Bismarck is so gorgeous and my first true yellow calf born here. I have bred Bacardi back to Sherlock in hopes of repeating with another girl next spring!

Why Simmental?

I was looking at the British Simmental Cattle Society website today and had to agree with them :) These are the reasons I have my Simmental:

* Easy To Handle
* Excellent Mothering Ability
* High & Long Term Fertility
* Short Intervals Between Calving
* Good Grass Converters
* Early Maturity
* Longevity
* Good Growth Rates

I could give you many examples for each reason given above, but you'll have to come seem them for yourself to believe me! They are also used for being outstanding suckler cows and fast growing terminal sires.

Better yet, their meat is very tender and flavorful! In America there is even more good news for the Simmental. The American Simmental Association is the LEADING breed association the United States for their innovative Carcass Merit research, bull tests, complete cow data which furthers the importance of the female, after so many breeds have relied so heavily on only the bull side of the breedings.

Simmental Genetics in the US have gone through a transformation over the past 15 years like no other genetic source in the beef industry. Intense research and selection for production and end product traits have positioned SimGenetics at or near the top of all Continental breeds for growth, efficiency, quality grade and retail yield. The time has come to take advantage of these genetic improvements by identifying feeder cattle that carry the added value of Simmental.

A little more history on the breed:

Production strains
Three major production strains have evolved:

* Milk strain - Possessing higher milk yield performance
* Dual purpose strain - With balanced milk and beef performance
* Beef strain - Featuring higher growth and carcase performance

Simmental cattle have proved very successful in crossbreedings with beef breeds to improve growth and milk performance. Simmentals, when used in crossbreeding on dairy breeds improve the muscular-ity and beef quality. Simmental is of special significance when used for crossbreeding with different breeds best adapted to extreme environmental conditions, such as Zebu and Brahman. The excellent suitability for extensive ranch and suckler herds has further enhanced the spread of the breed. Good mothering ability and excellent temperament are important characteristics of the breed.

Functional traits
Simmental cattle are healthy, hardy and show an excellent adaptability to the different geographical and climatic conditions. Easy calving, regular fertility and a long productive life are, besides the high performance potential for milk and beef, the basis for efficient production.

There are polled lines in the Simmental breed which are further developed in breeding.

I'm off to take photos of these guys :)

What's better yet is all of our calves are raised on pasture, as well as our entire breeding stock herd is maintained on a grass fed base diet.

We do have beef available from time to time that is grass fed and free of growth hormones.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Photos from Sadie's NADAC trial

Thank you to Chris Rhea for taking the time on saturday to take 1100 photos of all the dogs competing. He takes them just for fun! Thanks for sharing.

She sure is happy!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cattle Breeding Groups

Its true, I just offered quite a few of my cattle up for sale. However we are quite set with feed and pens to allow them to stay on here if we do not find the proper homes/buyers for these cattle. I've been working heavily with the cattle for near 20 years and I can't just send them off to the local livestock sales barn anymore. They are worth much more than what I can get commercially. That is the problem with raising registered purebred breeding stock. Everyone thinks that they should be worth what the butcher/feeder animals are going for. In case they don't remember, this is a huge portion of my income each year and its a pity people don't realize that. What also irritates me is that most of the buyers are my dad's age or older and the moment they see me, a kid in their 20's, they brush me off as someone who doesn't know what they are doing and want to talk to my dad or try to discount my animals because of it.

Slowly they are coming around. Even the owner of the livestock auction told me that I could be getting more with private sales, and he would help me find those sales, of course with commission! What a nice guy! (sarcasm here) At any rate I am going to be selling our two large mature herd bulls. They are proven sires and can be found in the latest American Simmental Association list of proven sires. We are taking our yearling bull (going on two now) to the butcher as we lost our entire large chest freezer full of meat in the garage earlier this summer.

I am keeping back 5 bull calves for further evaluation. Since we won't have the large herd bulls this winter, we can keep the younger guys out in their pasture. I'm keeping the two free martins to feed out and butcher next fall and will be keeping for sure three replacement heifers, with possibly 5 more. Or I might sell those 5 as a group package this fall as a breeding group. They are the best I've ever raised and feel due to the lack of funds I currently have from buying all these sheep and goats this year that they will bring the most income back in for me. Sad but true reality, every cattle producer must face.

On that note a very highly nationally recognized farm in Minnesota is getting out of the Simmental breed and farming in general! Gramms Farms is selling out of their entire herd, cows, calves, bulls, heifers. Everything. If only I had enough money to bring some of their bloodlines in.

I need to get some photos of the calves from this year. I'm quite proud of them. If it was sunny out today I'd go get photos of their shining coats, their well developed muscling (all on grass mind you) and how great their mothers look (body condition scores). I'm quite happy with the lot of them. But I have 50 head myself and need to cut back again. If money and feed wasn't an issue I'd have a lot more ;)

Our first NADAC trial

The North American Agility Dog Council (NADAC) is a seperate agility club that allows all dogs, purebred and Heinz 57, to compete in their fun, laid back and welcoming agility trials.

On Sunday I arrived in Zumbro Falls, MN bright and early to help my friend Dawn set up camp for a day of a agility events! It was both Dawn and my first agility trials and we were nervous enough ;) Dawn owns Magic, a red fluff CWC that is litter mates to my brindle CWC Sadie. That is how i got to meet Dawn and we've been good friends ever since we got our pups, nearly three years ago!

This was Sadie and my first time outside practicing or competing EVER and our first event was Jumpers. Sadie stopped to sniff leaves, walked around the jumps, but man was she happy! Once she realized I meant business she finished the course cleanly but of course after the halfway mark when we were no longer able to get a "Q" (qualifying score). Needless to say it was a great learning tool and we need to practice more outside!

Sadie's 2nd and last event of the day was Tunnelers and she went through at a fast clip, but not fast enough to beat her brothers time :) We had finished in about 30 seconds....but maybe next time :)

Poor Magic would have "Q"ed as well in Hoopers but he was .02 seconds away from the time alloted. I think he should have gotten it but oh well. Next time! He sure looked good out there!

Needless to say Magic and Sadie both got one Q that day, and we got pretty ribbons to add to the scrap book :) The most important thing is that we all had fun and Sadie and Magic were all smiles out in the ring. That's what its about!

things for sale

If you guys check out my website: and click on the animals available page, you will see what I have available.

I can tell you that all the Silver Appleyard ducks are gone. I still have 2 pair of white cross ducks, 8 or 9 Swedish drakes (for butcher or pond life) and a trio of Saxonys.

I need to move my potbellied pigs out too. I feel kinda bad for them, they need their own space, their own outdoor pen to root around in and play and I just can't see splitting them up. One is bigger than the other but are the same age, just different litters. Price is negotiable as I want them to go to a good home, SOON!

I also have cow/calf pairs, bred heifers, bred cows, weaned calves and herd bulls for sale. I need to cut back drastically due to some other factors (not weather related). Anyone wishing for grassfed, all natural beef can inquire with me.

its been awhile!

I was getting so bummed to not see many new blog posts by my fellow bloggers! I went to Colorado to get away for a few days, regroup, relax, and try to figure things out. Vacations, however brief are a great way to relieve stress and to also realize how lucky one is upon returning 'home'.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All Ears!!

I was making a new page for my BFLs on my website (yes people still use those too!) and made a startling realization about something. I'll let you look at a few photos and tell me what you see is the main (and almost overwhelming) similarity.

Maybe that's why I like the Cardigans and the Bluefaced? LOL

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

$837.68 rock

The rock you see pictured here with a quarter shows you how large this rock is. Can anyone guess why this rock is so valuable? Well the Zoe-meister outdid herself and swallowed that bugger! That's pretty good for a 16 pound puppy! I'll leave the gross details out but after finding the rock with an xray in the stomach it had to come out. My friend said that that price was quite cheap considering its double that in Fargo. After my run of luck with the dogs maybe this is God's way of telling me I should have cats instead? Or He just wants me to be constantly broke LOL. Maybe I'll sell the rock on ebay? Think I'll get the value of the rock?

Below is what I found in the 50'x60' kennel run that is complete grass. I took a leaf blower out to the pen and basically blew out the entire pen so now it is void of any pine needles, pine cones, branches, leaves, rocks, dog poop or demolished toys. Guess I'll have to keep that pen more tidy. Can't afford another rock!!

Rally Trial and Canine Good Citizen Test

Well this week is a busy week with the dogs. Thursday night is Sadie's agility class. She's such a fast little bugger its hard to keep up with her! :)

Friday is Sadie's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test. We have been working diligently on our down stays and then proceed to walk 20 feet away, turn and walk back to her without her sitting up or standing. I had a left over lamb brat that seems to do the trick (thanks Gail!) and she is such a good pupil! We can then add CGC to Sadie's name!

Saturday and Sunday is Oliver's Rally Novice A trial. We have our first leg already from the last Rally/Obedience Trail in Fargo, ND. With any luck we'll get our 2nd and 3rd leg this weekend and can get Oliver's RN added to his name! Below is a photo of Oliver and I at the start of our first and only Rally Trial where we got our 1st leg.

Wish us luck!!

Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...