Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Wish List

As little girls, our daughters used to dilligently go through the catalogs at Christmas dreaming of what might show up for them on Christmas morning.  It started with the Sears catalog along with the flyers that would show up in the mail.  But as time went on their catalogs of choice were the cattle sales that arrived through November and December, along with the Sullivans Supply catalog.

I remember one time about 16 years ago we were consigning to the Simmental Sale Checkers (we still consign).  The girls had gone down to help Rob a couple of days prior to the sale and I arrived sale morning.  As I arrived at the barn, they greeted me and asked  "are you done Christmas shopping?"  They had found a red baldy heifer calf in the barn and stated that I could take all of their gifts back if they could own her at the end of the day. The auctioneer of the day Col. Steve Dorran over heard this.

Our cattle sold earlier in the sale and we decided to let them try to buy her, on the condition that they did the bidding.  They were 8 & 6.  "Gloss came into the ring and the bidding began."  When it was all said and done, Crystal and Stacy owned a heifer, they had no idea how much they had spent, but knew it was under budget, because their dad didn't tell them to stop and Col. Dorran  commented that there would be some gifts to return.
These days the girls still await sale catalogs arriving in the mail, now they are Hereford and Simmental ones to look through, have show / grooming supplies on their Christmas list along with a few other items.  It was fun to see the same excitment on that sale day trying to own a heifer as it is on Christmas morning wondering what Santa brought them.  It's starting to look a lot like Christmas.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Count Down Is On

December 1st has arrived and for many children ( including our adult ones) the count down began this morning to Christmas Day.  Here at High Country the count down is on to a few things

  • The last sale of the year for us - Checkers on December 14th in Red Deer, AB.  We have 2 open heifers and 3 breds including the one from Double R Farms - Stacy and Dan Romanyk
  • Jon and Crystal will be home for Christmas in 19 Days. All of us will be together this year. 
  • Calving will be underway in 32 days, unless there is an early surprise.

Stacy and Crystal were among those that will open advent calenders this month.  It is a tradition that we started over 25 years ago.  Peek our Christmas Elf fills the calendars for them to open each day before Christmas.  When the girls left home for college, we thought that they would be packed away until they had children of their own to pass the tradition on to.  But we were soon informed that no matter where they lived they expected PEEK to follow through with the tradition and so it continues.

The next month looks to be exciting and lots of fun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Class Act

We often get asked and sometimes wonder ourselves, why we are involved in Purebred cattle and the Livestock Industry as a whole.  If you worked out what the pay is per hour you would find out quickly that you might make more working in a fast food restaurant.

Tonight though I couldn't`t help but feel pride for the actions of my fellow Simmental breeders.  The story starts in July when we hosted the Charity Auction for the Garth Sweet Simmental Foundation to raise funds for our youth program.  Mark Shologan of DLMS donated a signed Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey from his brother Keith Shologan.  It was purchased by Bouchard Livestock International and Lewis Farms.  They decided since the Grey Cup was going to be played this year in Regina that they would re-sell the jersey at the Simmental sale at Canadian Western Agribition tonight. They did exactly that. 

They didn't know at the time exactly where the proceeds would go when they resold it.  In the weeks that followed a very close Simmental friend would need the assistance of STARS Air Ambulance for a family member.  The decision to resell the jersey and give 100% of the proceeds to STARS made perfect sense.

Tonight 50 Simmental breeders gathered $10,000 for the jersey.  The funds were given to STARS Saskatchewan and the young Simmental breeder whos life was saved this fall by. STARS

Our breed is founded not only on great genetics but great people.  Congratulations to everyone involved.  We are proud to be a part of this great breed. This is why we do what we do.  Because of people like this.  It's the Agriculture way.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sweet Satin

We will be on the road to the National Simmental show held during the 40th Anniversary of Farmfair International in less than 48 hours.
 We are excited for the display that we have prepared - 4 bull calves representing the bulls that will sell at the Simmental Bull Summit on February 24, 2014 and 5 heifer calves, including 2 that will sell at Checkers on December 14, 2013 in Red Deer, and a very pretty little lady - RJY Sweet Satin 30A that sells in the Headliner sale on November 8, 2013 at Farmfair. - Lot 16.

Sweet Satin is out of our oldest cow in the herd. Combined with her sire McIntosh Sweet Talker she has a great future a head of her. 
We invite you to stop by the stall for a visit and a look at the cattle. Safe travels to everyone out on the show road this fall.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Traveling Man

The last few months have been busy but some how Rob has managed to fit a few trips into his schedule.  At the end of September he flew out to Kamloops to judge the 75th Provincial  Winter Fair.  This was a great few days seeing kids enjoying their cattle and other 4H projects.

He made quick trip to Illinois and Iowa over the Thanksgiving weekend to see a Hereford (yes Hereford) Sale and visit Crystal and Jon.

Today he is flying to Toronto to judge the Simmental show at the Toronto Royal on Saturday.  He has never been to the Royal before, so is looking forward to being a part of this iconic event.

  The trip will be short though as he has to come right from the airport to Northlands Park to meet us for the 40th Anniversary of Farmfair International and the National Simmental Show and The Pen Bull Show.

It is going to be a busy 10 days, but filled with cattle, friends and agriculture enthusiasts from across the country.  Can't wait.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October here and nearly gone.

The days are getting shorter and these last few weeks and months seem to be flying by way too quickly as well.  Hope fully that is the same for January & February when we are getting a blast of the real cold stuff.

October has been a busy month for us. We were trying to get caught up on a few things after spending time in September celebrating the marriage of our youngest daughter Stacy to Dan Romanyk.
They couldn't take their real cows to the wedding site so Stacy incorporated these ones into the wedding. (The guests had to find their cow to know their table number.)

We usually sell our cull calves in September but this was pushed back to early October.  We were really happy with our steer calves netting $1085.00 for us.  Now I know that you will hear of other calves bringing more than that this year.  But remember this is the bottom half of our male calf crop.  Included in this were the March calves, twins, ect.
The bulls that will sell at Simmental Summit on February 24, 2014 are being fed down at Beechinor Bros., Bentley, AB.  We did keep 5 back at home that we will display at the National Simmental Show during Farmfair International - November 3 -9, 2013.
We made a quick trip to Iowa over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit Crystal and Jon.  During our time there we were able to take in a Hereford sale at Perks Ranch, Rockford, Illinois, Doug, Mary, Wade & Brie are great people if you are ever in the area.

 seen the corn get harvested                                                                                                
and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in Crystal and Jon's new home.
After returning home it has been full days of getting the feed yard full, working on fall show and sale cattle, picturing cattle for the fall sale catalogs, and trying to get everything in place before winter arrives.
We have some exciting breeding pieces (as Rob calls them) and a display of cattle for the National show that we are real proud of. We will be out and about for a lot of November so we hope to see you at one of the cattle events.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Hearts Go Out

This post is not about us directly, but about fellow cattlemen & ranchers in South Dakota.  The devastation that they have faced in the last few days is almost too much to imagine.  For those that don't raise livestock it would be like loosing your family or a business that has been in your family for generations.  Ranching families are made of tough stock but they have big hearts that are aching.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, for if we were in their situation they would be doing the same.

Blizzard kills 60,000 cattle in South Dakota as shutdown slows aid 
Disaster aid will be slow to come for South Dakota ranchers who lost as many as 60,000 head of cattle during an historic blizzard over the weekend, industry officials said on Tuesday.
Cattle died of hypothermia or suffocated under snowdrifts after a “perfect storm” brought rain, then record snowfall and strong winds to the portion of the state west of the Missouri River, said Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

 “It’s anyone’s guess how drastic this loss will be. The cattle were soaked to the bone. Then the wind and really heavy snow started – it just clung to them and weighed them down,” Christen said.

“Many of them just dropped where they were walking,” she said, adding that at least 5 per cent of the roughly 1.2 million cattle in the western third of South Dakota likely perished.
South Dakota is the sixth largest U.S. cattle producer with about 3.8 million head. The United States has about 89 million head of cattle – its smallest herd in 61 years.

The state’s ranchers could apply for disaster relief under the Livestock Indemnity Program that would pay them a portion of the animal’s market value. But the program is part of the 2008 farm bill extension that expired Oct 1 – the first day of the U.S. government shutdown over a budget impasse.
And with the U.S. Agriculture Department shuttered, livestock producers also are unable to file paperwork detailing their losses with USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

“Those (FSA) offices are furloughed and there are no employees there. They are unable to help us even though they desperately want to,” Christen said.
Snow was melting, exposing herds of dead cattle that had sought shelter in creek bottoms and valleys or along fence lines. The carcasses will eventually be hauled away to rendering facilities, often at the farmer’s expense.

In Rapid City, in the west-central part of the state, 48 centimetres of snow fell smashing a nearly 100-year record for accumulation in October, according to the National Weather Service.
Parts of Colorado and Wyoming also saw heavy snowfall during the storms that also brought more than a dozen of tornadoes to Iowa and Nebraska, injuring at least 15 people, damaging homes, closing schools and knocking down power lines.

For the cattle, the storms came too early in the season for the animals to grow their heavier winter coats. Many of the dead included young calves ready to be marketed as well as cows pregnant with calves that would have been born in the spring.

“A lot of folks are still trying to assess the damage and losses and regroup after the storm,” said Jodie Anderson, executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.
Anderson said livestock farmers should document their losses with pictures and identification tags in the event the government reopens and a farm bill is passed.

Farmer’s Creed

I believe a man’s greatest possession is his dignity and that no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming.
I believe hard work and honest sweat are the building blocks of a person’s character.
I believe that farming, despite its hardships and disappointments, is the most honest and honorable way a man can spend his days on this earth.

I believe farming nurtures the close family ties that make life rich in ways money can’t buy.
I believe my children are learning values that will last a lifetime and can be learned in no other way.
I believe farming provides education for life and that no other occupation teaches so much about birth, growth, and maturity in such a variety of ways.

I believe many of the best things in life are indeed free: the splendor of a sunrise, the rapture of wide open spaces, and the exhilarating sight of your land greening each spring.
I believe that true happiness comes from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun, your whole family feels the pride that springs from their shared experience.
I believe that by my toil I am giving more to the world than I am taking from it; an honor that does not come to all men.

I believe my life will be measured ultimately by what I have done for my fellow man, and by this standard I fear no judgement.
I believe when a man grows old and sums up his days, he should be able to stand tall and feel pride in the life he’s lived.
I believe in farming because it makes all this possible.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Family Traditions.

Exhibiting cattle has been a part of our lives for over 40 years.  Rob first began showing in the Junior Hereford Shows and myself in the YCS - Junior Simmental shows as well as showing for my dad in the early years of the Simmental breed to promote these "exotic" cattle.

Then came the years of junior and 4H shows for our girls along with them helping also at the fall shows, Farm Fair and Agribition.
Stay and her heifer.
 Now as the fall of 2013 approaches we are only attending one fall show, the National Simmental Show will be held at Farm Fair International in Edmonton, AB  during the 40th Anniversary of Farmfair.  We may be only going to one show but this will be one of the biggest strings we have exhibited in the past few years.  9 calendar year calves are getting ready.  5 bulls that will represent the group of bulls that will sell on February 24, 2014 in the Simmental Bull Summit and 4 heifers.  One that is selling at the Headliner Sale at Farmfair

RJY Sweet Satin 30A - sells November 8, 2013
and 2 that will sell on December 14 in Red Deer at Checkers.  The fourth one is owned by Double R Farms - Stacy (Young) Romanyk and her husband Dan.  
 We see the exhibitions as a place to display our program, connect with past and future customers, and educate those that do not have a direct connection to the farm about where their food comes from.

Entries for Farmfair close on October 1st .  Why not join us at this great show.  It will be an exciting time. Hope to see you there.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weaning Time

Fall has arrived and with it the ritual of weaning.  Several years ago we started to use quiet weans.  The have worked really well for us.  For our bull calves we put them in when we weigh them and leave them in for a couple of weeks.  During that time we also put a creep feeder in the pasture so they can start to get used to grain.  They are content to be with their mommas and the cows are only in discomfort for a couple of days while their milk starts to dry up.  Then when we bring the bull calves home we take them out and they are started on feed.

For our replacement heifers we do the same thing only they stay in until we bring the cows home from grass.  This year we are hoping that will be in November as we had a good year for grass.  The replacements don't need to be on feed before that.  We also find that we have less sickness with them out on grass instead of in dusty pens.

This fall also meant a different sort of weaning for Rob.....our daughter Stacy was married a week ago and I think this picture says it all.

She has a wonderful husband in Dan and we are excited to see what the future holds for them.  She may be married but I think she will always be daddy's little girl,  just like her sister Crystal.

Rob and Crystal - April 2012
I hope that your fall is going well.  We continue to hear of bumper crops and high selling calves at the markets across the Prairies.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A new partnership with an old friend

Several years ago the decision was made for a number of reasons for the Canadian Simmental Association to go back to having their EPD's with information from only our herd book.  We had been incorporated with the American Simmental Association  having North American EPD's previous to that.

Due to some conversations by both board of directors and staff and we are please that as of this fall the EPD's that all breeders are able to use as one of their selections tools will again be North American EPD's incorporating data from both the Canadian and American Simmental Associations herd books.

This will make comparisons of EPD numbers much easier for everyone.  Whether you are looking to purchase an animal in one country or the other their numbers will still be the same when you import them.  When selecting A.I. sires you will also have an idea what the resulting progeny's EPD's will be.  We see this as a positive move for our breed.  The cattle listed on our  website www.highcountrycattle have been updated with the CSA Fall 2013 EPD numbers.  If you would like more information on this check out the CSA's web page.

Fall 2013 CSA Genetic Evaluation
Breed Average
CE   BW    WW    YW    MCE    Milk     MWW    SC    CWT    REA    Fat      Marb
5.5    4.1      66.4     93.7    9.0       26.3       59.4         0.17  31.3      0.55     -0.073   -0.06
Current Population – all calves born in the last 2 ½ years (20112013)
Active Sire – any sire with a calf reported in the last 2 ½ years (20112013)
Active Dam – any dam with a calf reported in the last 2 ½ years (20112013)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Welcome Back

First of all sorry that it has been months since we have wrote a blog.  It seems like life has gotten in the way. That doesn't mean that things haven't been good just busy.  Here are a few things that have happened in the last 7 months.
  • The first Bull Summit held with Beechinor Bros. and Eagle Ridge Simmentals was a huge success.  Thank you to everyone that attended (standing room only).  Our bulls were very well received averaging over $5500. 
  • Calving went really well, we had a 104% calf crop due to a few sets of twins.  No death losses. We were excited to get the new calves out of The Fleck 59Y
  • We were saddened by the loss of our good friend Lyle Peterson of Bar L7 Simmentals. Just a reminder to all of our farming and ranching friends to be careful each and every moment on the farm.  Take the time that you need.  We miss your phone calls and visits Lyle and your enthusiasm for cattle and in particular the Simmental breed.

  • The spring was late, cold and the feed yard was completely empty when the cows finally went to pasture.  We are thankful for great weather this summer, rain when we needed it lots of sunshine and tons of grass.
  • We golfed lots in the early summer.  Rob tried a few new courses.  He really enjoyed the Sundre Golf Course, and the Black Bull.  Wished we had been able to do more in July and August.
  • We enjoyed many visitors over the summer.  Many from Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Iowa with Jon and Crystal home twice.
  • I had the opportunity to visit Colombia and the Congress of the Americas.  It was a wonderful trip to see Simmentals working in Colombia and meet some wonderful Simmental breeders.

  • We enjoyed celebrating our youngest daughter Stacy`s wedding just last week. Thank you to all of our friends and family that took the time out of their busy schedule to celebrate with us.  We are so pleased to welcome Dan in to our family and look forward to them developing their herd under Double R Farms.
The next few months will be equally as busy with  us getting fall work done, taking a trip to Illinois and Iowa,  the fall meetings of the Canadian Simmental Association, Rob judging at the Winter Fair in BC and the Toronto Royal, preparing for the National Simmental Show at Farmfair, and getting 6 head ready for the Checkers sale.  Stay tuned we will try to blog about these events.  Until then we wish you a great fall, huge yields on your crops and calves and look forward to visiting soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Venture

Over the years we have marketed our gentics through a number of ways.  Consignment sales like Checkers, Red & Black, Agribiton, Farm Fair, Private Treaty  for the Females, embryos and semen at the North American in Louisville and most recently at the New Years Resolution sale.  On the bull side of things we marketed them directly off the farm for a number of years  and then joined the consignment sale of The Red Deer Bull Sale for the last few.  For 2013 we are really excited to be a part of the Simmental Bull Summit on February 25, 2013 at Bentley, AB
Our good friends and fellow Simmental breeders John and Stefon Beechinor have built a beautiful and big sale facility at their farm just  south of Bentley.  They have been feeding our bulls along with theirs and those of Eagle Ridge Simmentals since weaning.  Sale day will be stress free (at least for the bulls) as they only have to move from one side of the farm to the sale barn on the other.

We will have 10 bulls in the sale.  Here is a sampling

  Most from our walking bulls McIntosh Sweet Meat 32X,

3D Mr Red Sure Fire 449X

and IPU Revolution 172U

Along with  ET calves from LFE Rochfort 3013T and Black Joker.  68 lots are catalogued and we invite you to join us for an Alberta Beef lunch at 11:00 with the sale starting at 1:00.

If you would like to check out the sale offering before sale day, the catalog link is on our website at High Country Cattle as well as  a video of some of the bulls.  If you are unable to join us that day but something catches your eye give us a call, we always love to talk cows or just have a visit with our fellow cattlemen and cattle women.