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New life, same great love for ranching

Posted on February 24, 2011 07:03 by Lauren Chase


As I've described in an earlier post, my job for the Montana Stockgrowers Association is to visit our member ranches and take photos/videos to promote the cattle industry. My first...and second stop (loved it so much that I had to go back the next day)...was at Ehlke Herefords in Townsend, MT. Day One, which is posted below, I talked about how lively calves are and how ranching families care about the animals, their families, and the safety of the end product. Day Two, I spent with the Ehlke's hired help, Ryan Hamilton, who took me around in the tractor to feed. Boy, when those cows see that big, round bale coming, it's a race to see who can start chomping first. Ryan talked about how he likes doing things on the ranch "the cowboy way." He would much rather be on horseback or on foot while in the herd as to keep the cows' stress down. When he started talking about his job, I could really tell this is something he is passionate about. Keeping the cattle safe and calm is his number one priority - and he loves it. Ryan also said that he hopes to have his own ranch someday.

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Train Wreck

Posted on January 22, 2010 05:36 by Doug Ferguson

Reading some of the recent blogs on Cattle Call, and hearing the point of view of part time cattlemen, I was taken back to 2006.  This was about the tipping point for me, when I was about to become a full time cattlemen.  Notice I said about.  I remember the events that derailed my plans well.   A lot of what I do today is a result of the lessons I learned.

I was building my small feedlot/back grounding yard.  I had two fifty head pens completed and I was determined to fill them.  I had saved up some cash and could buy cattle without a loan.  I was in my late twenties and very More...

Life is Like Feeding the Cows

Posted on January 21, 2010 06:30 by Katlin Mulvaney

In the last three weeks of my life I have worn a cap and gown, graduated from Auburn University with my bachelor’s of science in agriculture communications, have signed a lease for an apartment, bought furniture and moved to Macon, Ga. to work for the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. Whew! Wasn’t it just yesterday, I was learning how to brush, clip and fit my show calves. How I cherish going home to the farm now, not only to see the family, but to go out to the barn and help dad with the chores, like feeding the cows. That’s when it hit me. Life is like feeding the cows. Here, let me explain.More...

Dried Distiller's Grains

Posted on December 18, 2009 10:42 by Blair Hunewill

Over the past few days I attended the 4th Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) Conference in Reno, Nevada.  The conference was put on by the GLCI and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), part of the USDA.  I gave a presentation entitled “Holistic Management of Native Meadows in Eastern California and Western Nevada”.  The rest of the time I watched presentations from other ranchers and researchers.  Most of these presentations incorporated using new grazing methods to improve the quality of grazing lands, improving the profitability of your operation and examples of successful operations.  I learned a lot and met many interesting people from across the country. 


Stocker calves coming up for thier DDG on a -19 F morning last week

 On the last day I sat in on some presentations dealing with stocker cattle.  A common theme I noticed is the use of Dried Distiller’s Grains (DDG) or Wet Distiller’s Grains (WDG) as supplemental feed for cattle on winter pasture.  Both DDG and WDG are by products of corn based ethanol.  The wet product has to be shipped and fed fairly close to the production facility as it has a short useful life.  The dried product can be shipped anywhere in the country.  The advantage of these byproducts is the high energy and mid level protein they provide. 

Our ranch first learned about DDG during the annual “Cattleman’s Update” put on by the University of Nevada in January 2008.  A professor from Oregon presented his research on using DDG as winter supplementation.  That fall when alfalfa hay in our area reached record high prices, we built a bunker and ordered a truckload of DDG from a place in California More...

What a Difference a Year Makes

Posted on October 26, 2009 06:11 by Blair Hunewill

Earlier this week we weaned our calves that were born in the spring.  We weaned our calves born fall of last year in July and sold them in August.  On Saturday I am selling a truckload of feeder calves that I had bought and raised at various points in December 2008 and all throughout 2009. 

I have noticed something profound with each set of calves this year.  All of them are bigger than the calves we sold last year.  We kept last year’s fall calves until they were a year old before selling them and they weighed the same as 2008’s fall calves that we sold in August.  To me that is amazing, 2007’s fall calves took two extra months to get to the same weight that 2008’s calves were at in August!  Our spring calves are the same way.  It’s looking like they will be heavier also.  And on top of that, we will only have four that are too small to be sold in the group, compared to 14 last year.  Our feeder calves were bought from the auction and put together into uniform groups.  Their performance this year was astounding.  Last year we had a pinkeye epidemic this time of year, this year pinkeye is almost totally absent.  All of these calves gained on pasture, nothing more. More...