Happy New Year to all! 2015 was a great year for us. Our farm improvements have continued with more work done in the barn as well as a ton of work outside. We are getting close to where we want the farm to be and have a plan of where we need to go. We bought a half of a heifer with our young friend Loyd Perks in this years Fall Celebration Sale. The heifers that we sold went to great homes and we can’t wait to see how they progress. We were able to purchase 60 acres of crop ground that we have been renting and will be turning some of it into pasture next year so we can continue to grow. This Summer Blin Farms hired Gary Maurer’s grandson, Travis Kelly, which in turn got us a new chore man while we are gone. Travis has been a huge help and we are excited to have him around. Things really have progressed as we have hoped.
2016 is poised to be our best year yet. The cattle that we are selling at the Iowa Beef Expo are some of the best we have offered. This years calf crop will include calves by our exciting Hometown son from Perks- Tribute. We will be calving out 6 heifers bred to Tribute with the first on it’s way any day now. The Junior National is always a highlight and will be even more exciting since it is close to home in Madison, Wisconsin. The year will surely be here and gone before we know it. I hope each of you has a blessed year and the health and motivation to accomplish all your goals. Let’s Go!!!
We all know that weaning can be stressful on both cows and calves. There are numerous theories about when and how to wean in order to reduce stress and keep pounds on both calves and cows. For longer than we can remember Jon and I have been using Quiet Wean nose clips during weaning season. We’ve had quiet a few questions about them recently so we thought we would summarize why we love using them.
How does the process work?
Calves are run through the chute and the Quiet Wean in placed in the nose. Quiet Weans are a little over $2 a piece, but can be reused year after year. We also give all of our calves a dose of Vita Charge Paste while they are in the chute. While the Quiet Weans are in they can still graze and eat creep feed, but it prevents them from nursing.
We leave our Quiet Weans in for a minimum of seven days, however we have also left them in for up to two weeks. Some calves will lose the Quiet Wean, however after many years of using them we find the number will range from 0-10%. The only downfall of using the Quiet Wean is that you do have to run them through the chute a second time to remove the Quiet Wean.
This post is all our own opinions. Quiet Wean has not paid us or asked us to write this post. However, if they would love to send us anything we would sure take it
In the past two weeks Crystal and I have gotten to do something that we hardly ever seem to have time to do, look at other peoples cattle. With busy work schedules and plenty to do around our own farm we are pretty well grounded at home. Last weekend we kicked off our cattle trips with the Iowa Hereford Tour and this weekend we headed to the cheese state.
Our first stop was to Solsma Show Cattle in Sanborn, Iowa. We got up well before the sun to head west and it was worth it. Crystal was excited to see that they already had pumpkins out of the patch and a store full of local treasures to look at. We started off learning about their pumpkin patch and then moved to the show barn to judge a class of 4 bull calves. After the judging (which I’m pretty sure I beat Crystal on) we got to check out some pairs with calves that were being broke to lead. Catapult has done a great job for them and they have a heifer that we really liked who is pictured below. It was very good to see the Solsma homestead and a good chunk of their herd.
The next stop following a great BBQ lunch at Crazy Bob’s in Hartley was a quick trip down the road to Weeping Fox Ranch to see the Vogel families herd. They are primarily Shorthorn breeders but have had great success in the Hereford ring as well. They had an impressive group of freshly weaned calves close to the barn that we took a look at and then headed to the pasture to see the cows. In the pasture we saw many former show heifers including Cottons Blessing who is a past Supreme Champion in the 4H Show at the Iowa State Fair and Champion B&O Female at the JNHE. It was great to see the set of cattle that the Vogel family has put together.
This weekend we headed up to Mineral Point, Wisconsin for Ms. Dana May’s Bridal Shower. Luckily the men got to go golfing during the shower and we met up with the ladies at Dana’s dads farm Fernvale Angus. Crystal and I took a break from the festivities to take a look at the heifers that they will be selling privately on the 19th and 20th of September. If you are in the market for a really good Angus heifer be sure you look them up, they have an impressive offering.
Our last stop before we headed home was to see our friends the Brancels at Next Generation Genetics. Last year in Denver at the National Western Tod & Sondra made a whale of a splash in the sale ring selling the pick of their pen of heifers in the National Sale. We toured the farm and got a sneak peak at their pen for this year and they will not disappoint. The pen is once again comprised of daughters of the Kessey cow that they bought in the Star Lake Dispersal. The pen is made up of Cracker Jack daughters and they are stout and stylish, there is a dark red heifer that will flat out make you stop in your tracks. Their cow herd is very impressive and the young cows and bred heifers are sure to keep the herd moving onward and upward. If you make your way out to Denver this year be sure you swing by their pen.
It has been a great couple of weekends traveling with my beautiful bride enjoying time with our friends and looking at great cattle. Everyone should be so lucky.
Calving has been wrapped up for a few weeks and last Saturday we turned the rest of the cows out with the bulls. This year we are running two yearling bulls, one is a Hometown son that we bought from Perks Ranch and the other is a BR Currency son that we raised out of our donor Teardrop. We bred cows to Right Track, Parker, Pioneer and Currency this year. We are very excited for the prospect of next years calves based off what we are seeing with this years crop.
This year we had time to head over to Perk Ranch for their Show Camp. Wow, what a great weekend that was. One of the younger camp attendees was dragging his feet when he showed up with his head down and you could tell he really didn’t think we wanted to be there, by the next day when it was time to hit the road he was begging not to leave. Watching these guys build lasting friendship over the course of two quick days is something really special. If those young men and ladies learned half of what I did that weekend they are well on their way to being successful. There were many things covered that I already knew and had forgotten as well as some that I didn’t have a clue on. Tom and Tammy did a great job putting it together and I hope we can be involved for years to come.
With all the excitement built up after the Perks Camp we got an earlier start on our State Fair cattle this year. The leader of our string will be the January heifer that we showed as a calf last year named Sweet Emotion. She is a doll and really starting to come together. She will be joined by two our three of her younger siblings and maybe a few more additions as well.
All in all things are going great here at JJB Cattle Company and we can’t wait to show you this years calf crop.
Today Jack Ward was named the new EVP of the American Hereford Association. As the title states I am all in on the hire of Jack Ward. The shoes that he fills are large but I firmly believe Jack is up for the challenge. Many of my fondest memories in the showring involve Mr. Ward. He is an icon in the industry and I feel the best is yet to come. If you are unsure of this hire you simply don’t know Jack.
Congrats on the promotion, JJB Cattle Company is very proud to have you leading the way!
Press Release available here.
Time to get y’all back up to date on what has been going on here at JJB Cattle Co.
For starters the Iowa Beef Expo Hereford Sale was awesome again this year! The quality of the cattle continues to increase and the prices they bring reflect that. Both of our lots went to great homes our About Time sired heifer went to Dawson Stream, he will be taking her out for her first show this weekend and we can’t wait to hear how it goes. Our Right Track sired bull went to the Keltner family in Pearl City, Illinois and we go to work in their Hereford herd this spring.
This year at the Beef Expo the Iowa Hereford Breeders Assoc. held a banquet and I think it was great. They sold a bunch of stuff to benefit the juniors, it was great to see the outpouring of support for their program. I hope they will be able to do some cool stuff with all of the funds raised.
Calving has been going very well. We are definitely bull heavy this year but they sure look good. Hopefully our next round of embryo calves will yield some heifers for us.
I got a GoPro camera from Crystal for Christmas and now that the weather has warmed up a bit I can’t wait to shoot some stuff around the farm. The only video that I have done so far is a time lapse of our Expo bull Power the night before we headed to the sale. More to come…
2014 was a very good year for Crystal and I. It was our first full year in our forever home on the farm. It has been a blast taking this place from dreamland to reality. None of this would be possible without our family, friends, customers and god. We could not be more blessed or dream of any better from each of those listed. This year I lost a hero but have felt his presence ever since we lost him, every time I fix anything or build anything I smile knowing that Grandpa Johnson helped me do it.
With the help of my Grandpa Jim, my Dad and Gary Maurer we were able to get all of the horse stalls taken out of the west side of our barn and new cattle pens built. These have been a big help in the efficiency of halter breaking calves and now with calving they are really shining. We also got our new Stronghold corral and tub system installed and I am proud to report that it works great. If you think about something as long and hard as we have thought about the improvements to our barn it gives a great sense of pride to see them come to fruition.
Crystal’s parents we able to make it down to join us at this years State Fair which was Rob’s second trip down for it and Dee’s first. Their help and knowledge are always greatly appreciated. We also cannot wait until they get their first “High Country Hereford”!!! We also got a visit from Crystal’s sister Stacy and her husband Dan this year, it was great to have them here but I fear a “Double R Hereford” is about as probable as Republicans and Democrats working together.
On December 23rd we officially became an Aunt and Uncle when my little sister Jaci had Bode Alan Barber. He weighed in at 9 lbs and was 21 inches long. He is the only baby that I have been able get to stop crying, which is awesome. We are excited to watch him grow and thanks to facetime we will be able to do so with relative ease. Little Bode is the best Christmas gift ever and I have never been more proud of my little sister and brother in law.
This years calf crop has greatly exceeded our expectations and continues to improve. The bull and heifer we are selling at the Iowa Beef Expo are two of our best yet. The heifers and bull that we are retaining in our herd are very exciting as well. The have raised the sail on this ship and now we are just holding on tight to follow the path we are on.
It is going to be an exciting 2015, we are blessed and prepared to tackle whatever waves we climb. JJB no longer simply represents my initials, it is us, these cows, this farm and this dream, which has become so much grander than I could have imagined when it all started in 2007.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christmas, but it seems to start sooner and sooner every single year. I completely understand why stores put the decor out early, they need to make money and if you go somewhere else for your decorations because theirs weren’t out yet then they are just outta luck. The stores follow our lead, people must be buying it if they are putting it out. I think it is a good idea to get a jump on your Christmas shopping, there is just no reason to set-up the tree right away for them to sit under. All in all I guess I get it, there is more magic associated with Christmas and who doesn’t love that feeling? I just hope we don’t sell the spirit of thanks short by looking straight past Thanksgiving and onto the fat man in the red suit. My goal will remain to leave #ThanksFirst.
This fall was a whirl wind! Easily one of the fastest seasons of my life. There was a lot of time that we got to spend with the cows and even more time in a tractor either pulling a grain cart or one of three tillage tools. This year I was also able to spend more time helping my dad at our grain elevator as the corn was coming in. We revamped our grain handling system this year adding a new bin, new unload pit and a new dryer. As with anything there were some growing pains but we were able to get it done with everyone pitching in.
We started off the fall the same as we did last year with the Perks Ranch Fall Celebration Sale. This year we consigned two lots (one bull one heifer). The bull was a steal, y’all smooth missed one if you need a walking herd sire. We were very happy with the sale of the heifer and even more excited that she went to an Iowa Junior! We can’t wait to see Coryn show Sweet Sassy Molassy and see how she progresses in the care of the Wilson family. Selling cattle is always a lot of fun but when you get to sell with friends it is even better. To witness the success of the Perks, McMillian and Folkman families in this sale has been a great motivator. The work that Tom and Tammy Boatman have done at Perks Ranch is second to none. The amount of growth the sale is truly impressive and becoming a can’t miss event. It is an honor to be included in this sale and we thank Tom & Tammy, Doug & Mary and Wade & Brie for having us back.
I took a few pictures to try and capture the beauty of the fall, hope you enjoy.