Monday, October 31, 2011

Annual Meetings

Going to a meeting usually isn't at the top of everyone's list of things they want to do.  Often they feel like it isn't a good use of their time.  But meeting can play an important role in the business that you do.  Even if that business is Agriculture.

Annual meetings like the Canadian Simmental Association Annual meeting that is going to be held in Edmonton on November 11, 2011 at 9:00 am is a great place to spend a few hours.  At this AGM you will have the opportunity to:
  • Network with fellow breeders
  • Meet the staff that work hard for us in the office
  • Learn of our associations financial position
  • Learn of the work that has been done in the last year to advance our breed
  • Give direction for the breed for the next year
  • Elect 3 new board members that will represent you
This year the Alberta Simmental Association Board of Directors
has asked me to run for the Canadian Simmental Board.  I have been asked "why would you want to do that?"  In short, I want to give back to an association that has been very good to my family and a breed that plays a significant role in the beef industry.  If elected the areas that I would like to work on are:
  • Promotion
  • Working with and enhancing the great work that the Provincial associations are going
  • Young Canadian Simmental - our Youth program. (YCS)
I was a founding board member of the YCS and feel that with a strong youth program, we strengthen our parent association.  Currently all of the directors on the Alberta Simmental Association were former members of the YCS program.

It would be great to see you out at the AGM on November 11, but if you can't attend you can either fax a proxy vote ( by November 1) to the CSA office or send an originally signed proxy with a member to the meeting.  I understand that there will be an election for the 3 director positions.  Let's get involved in our association.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We're Having a Girl......

In the spring of 2010 we looked at using some new technology, Sexed Semen.  The thought was to use the semen on a few of our heifers that were out of genetic lines that produce superior females, in order to increase the number of females born. 
This would enable us to market some females out of our top cows while at the same time keeping some as replacements. We researched the Simmental bulls that had "heifer" sexed semen available in Canada. 

We found out that there were very few to choose from.  Although we were excited to hear that HTP In Dew Time was available. 
HTP In Dew Time 
Here is how the semen companies describe In Dew Time,
"In Dew Times cow family is strong and proven for many generations. His dam HTP SVF Honey Dew was a many time champion being named Reserve Grand at the 2003 National Western. In Dew Time’s full sister and litter mate HTP SVF Dew Drop claimed calf champion honors at the National show at the American Royal and the North American. Also, a full sister to Honey Dew, Makin Honey claimed champion honors at the 2004 North American Junior and open shows. In Dew Time has breed leading EPDs 8 CE being in the top 20% on calving ease, 1.2 BW in the top 35%, 47.8 weaning in the top 4%, 84 yearling in the top 2%, a positive 2,1 on maternal milk, 16 on CW in the top 1% and ribeye 0.35 in the top 3.5%. R94 is homozygous polled and Genmark tested homozygous black. a young herdsire that combines many of the positive aspects of the Simmental industry. (American Simmental Association EPD's)"

So we ordered the semen, breed 4 heifers and 3 conceived to the A.I breeding.  One of those was RJY First Date 1W. (Black Joker x SS Ebony's Dreamdate S27).
Fast forward to January 29, 2011.  First Date was in the calving barn.  We were very excited to see the Homozygous Black heifer calf that would be arriving soon.  We were checking on her regularly and walked into the barn as she gave the final push.  It is natural to walk over and lift the hind leg to see the sex of the calf is.  Rob was teasing me, as she was having a heifer.....or not.  She had just given birth to a 80 lb BULL calf!  I guess the semen companies are right when they say the semen is 90% female / 10% male. 

RJY First Date 1W
RJY First Time 18Y
Although initially we were a bit disappointed with not getting a heifer out of her, (the other 3 had heifers) we certainly are not disappointed now.  Here is her bull calf - RJY First Time 18Y  that will be at her side when we show them at the National Show at Farmfair and also at Canadian Western Agribition. I think she was meant to have a bull in 2011.  Stop by the stall at the shows and check him out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

All I want for Christmas

Some of you may remember that about this time last year Rob came home and said "I know what I want for Christmas."  Now this is not an unusual statement for most people, but Rob never asks for gifts.  What he really wanted was Lot 3 at the NAILE Simmental Sale in Louisville, KY.  I think my reply was - you and a lot of other people.

Fast forward and with a partnership formed with our daughter Stacy - CAJS Elegant Force W24 (Lot 3) found her new home at High Country Cattle Services. 

CAJS Elegant Forc
Elle - as a 2 yr old - Summer 2011
 "Elle" as we have fondly named her has exceeded our expectations.  She has turned  into a beautiful young cow and produced one of the best heifer calves to date at HCC. 

RJY / SLY Southern Elegance
Her BMR Explorer daughter will be a part of our show string this fall.  "Elle" has entered into our embryo program and due to the success we had flusing her this year, we have decided to consign 6 embryos (that are exportable worldwide) to the NAILE sale on November 14.  Lots 9A & 9B are embryos by CAJS Elegant Force W24 (Steel Force daughter) and your choice or HC Power Drive 88H or PVF-BF-BF26 Black Joker. 

HC Powerdrive
Black Joker
The genetics that the Elle embryos present are quite unique.  To date, there is no SVF Steel Force semen available in Canada, her  3/4 brother  - Mr. HOC Broker is the current Reserve Champion Bull at Denver,and there is an extremely limited amount of both Powerdrive and Black Joker semen available.  Maybe it's time to do a little Christmas shopping for yourself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Boys of Fall

The Boys of Fall can mean a lot of different things.  It can be the great song by Kenny Chesney, your own local hero's such as the Breton Cougars, or in our case the boys that we just brought home from pasture.

This past Friday night, I went out to watch the local high school football team. 

Breton was one of the first small high schools in Alberta to form a six man football team.  In the last few years the league has grown across the province.  Friday night Breton played the Sedgewick Rams. 

It wasn't a close game but it was fun to see the son of our good friends Darryl and Debbie Snider out on the field.  Cooper is much younger than the other players.  he's only in Junior high but has the size and ability to be playing with the big boys. 

Also want to give a shout out to Darryl.  He is the fieldman for the Simmental Country.  He travels thousands of miles a year across North America attending sales and shows.  He is the staff person representing us breeders that you see the most.  He does a great job for us and it is often during these times that his boys are playing sports or participating in school activities and he is spending time on the road with us instead of seeing them.  Thanks Darryl, we do appreciate all of the time in the spring and fall that you spend with us instead of your family.

Our boys of the fall came home from the pasture on Saturday.  They have been weaned since September but were able to stay with their mommas since we use weaning guards, it allows them to stay on the grass for a while longer.

There are a couple of really special boys that we will be taking to Farmfair and Agribition.  If you are at the shows stop by the stall and have a look at them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Same...Only Different

October 20, 1984, Rob and I said our "I Do's"  Today the weather is over cast and a few showers are expected, 27 years ago we were recovering from the first major snow storm of the year and trying to figure out where we would take our wedding pictures, since we didn't book a studio.

A few things have changed throughout the last 27 years.  When we were starting out on our farm - High Country Cattle Services it was located at Bentley, Alberta.  Our herd consisted of 90% Horned Hereford cattle and 10% Simmentals - the traditional spotted and yellow variety.  Rob worked sales, clipping and fitting (we fitted all the sale cattle in those days) and showed for Goose Lake Cattle Company at Calgary and Kilmorlie Herefords at Bowden.  We received $.75/lb for our calves that fall and the steers averaged around 670 lbs in November .  The interest rate on our farm was 23.8%.  This was a deal for young farmers.

Today High Country Cattle Services is located further north at Breton, Alberta.  Our herd is 99% Simmental - the red and black variety and 1% Angus - recipient cows.  Rob still works shows and sales but now it is for ourselves. 
We concentrate more on growing and working hair on our cattle with minimal fitting.  The property that Goose Lake Cattle Company was on is now a gravel pit, Kilmorie Farms is now home to Simmental breeders Saugeen Farms.  Our calves this fall brought $1.40/lb and the steers and heifers together averaged 705lbs the middle of September.  Today you can get an interest rate for 3.8%

In 1984 gas was $.93 compared to $1.11 today, a new 1/2 ton truck was $9,000 where today you will spend double that.  Labatte's brewery came out with the twist off cap.  We took hundreds of pictures for sale ads that had to be developed before you knew if you got the right picture.  You anxiously awaited for the Hereford Digest and the Simmental Country to arrive to see what was the latest news in the purebred industry.  Today you almost know minute to minute by following Facebook, Blogs and websites. (We haven't started to tweet yet!)  Sales can be followed online and purchases made.

We are planning another wedding - no not ours, but our daughter Crystal's and Jon's.

 And their herd will consist (in the beginning) of 99% Hereford cattle and 1% Simmental.  Stacy and Crystal are the 4th generation in both of our families to raise purebred cattle.

So much has changed over the last 27 years, technology and running our farm more as a business with family values.  But somethings have stayed the same too......our love for each other
and being a part of the Agriculture Industry!