My time Flies

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2011 by Maplecrest Farms

The other day a good friend of mine reminded me that it had been quite some time since I had posted a blog. When I looked back at the date of the previous post and started to review the past few months, it is amazing just how much has happened around here since then.

There have been several personnel changes at Maplecrest since we last visited. Jeremy Simpson, who had been with us since late 2007, left in May to return to a position in the manufacturing industry with his previous employer. We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that he put forth during the past three plus years here with us and wish him nothing but the best with his career path.

Prior to Jeremy’s departure we had made the decision to add a second employee to help address the needs of an expanding operation. Scott Winkle joined us in early May from his previous position at Greenhorn Shorthorns in Ohio. Scott had helped us on occasion in previous years with our cattle at shows. He now gets to help us with all aspects of this operation. In June, Ben Wheeler also joined the team here at Maplecrest. He comes to us from a previous stint at Hudson Pines Farms in New York. Both Ben and Scott come to us with valuable experience in the seedstock cattle business and have hit the ground running with their new responsibilities.

Breeding season never really goes away around her as we flush cows every 60 days or so. We are flushing cows this week with bulls such as Connealy Confidence and B/R New Day 454 seeing the heaviest use. We have wrapped up the spring breeding season with most of the cattle palpated at this point.

Fall calving season has gotten started a bit earlier than expected. I believe this can be directly attributed to the high temperatures we experienced in late July and early August. Most calves will be born between now and mid-October. Since fescue is our primary permanent pasture grass, we prefer to calve in the fall in order to best take advantage of this forage’s positive attributes.

The girl’s show heifers have dominated our schedule over the past three months. They have exhibited at the Atlantic National, All-American Breeders’ Futurity, Ohio Angus Preview Show, National Junior Angus Show, Simmental Sweepstakes, and the Ohio State Fair. It has been a successful season thus far with the following highlights:
* Atlantic National: Jr. Show – 2 Division Champions, 1 Reserve Division, Open Show: 2 Division Champions
* All-American Breeders’ Futurity: Jr. Show – 1 Division Champion, 1 Reserve Division, Open Show – 1 Division Champion
* Ohio Angus Preview Show: Jr. Show – Grand Champion Owned Female, Grand and Reserve Grand Bred & Owned Females, Open Show – Reserve Grand Female, Grand Champion Cow-Calf
* National Junior Angus Show: Reserve Grand Champion Owned Cow-Calf, 2 Reserve Division Champions, 3 class winners
* Simmental Sweepstakes: Jr. Show – Grand Champion % Cow-Calf, Open Show – Reserve Grand Champion % Cow-Calf

Bull…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 by Maplecrest Farms

It has been a while since I have visited with you last.  It probably hasn’t been as long as the winter we just left behind but it has been too long.   Mother Nature has not improved her sense of humor in terms of the weather as the spring has been very challenging.  April of 2011 is going to go down as one of the wettest if not the wettest single month of rainfall in history for this area.  The same weather trend has continued into the month of May.

The last couple of months have been pretty exciting from a genetic perspective here at Maplecrest.  We just wrapped up the spring calving season in mid April and the calves look good considering the weather they have been through.  Breeding season started about a month ago and is progressing.  We created several exciting matings through our April round of embryo flushes.  However, quite possibly the most exciting news centers around a pair of herd bulls.  One of them you are quite familiar with.  We hope to make you very familiar with the other. 

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to have possession of our Senior Herd sire, TC Total 410 for the spring breeding season.  This incredible sire has been a large part of our breeding program for several years and this Pathfinder sire has cemented his legacy in the Angus breed for years to come.  Total currently ranks as the #2 $B bull in the breed and ranks in the top 1% of the breed for WW, YW, and REA.  He also ranks in the top 5% or greater for Docility, CW, and MARB.  Our continued use of Total and his excellent daughters will play a prominent role in our future.

Our newest herd sire that we would like to acquaint you with is Connealy Confidence 0100.  Maplecrest teamed with several other progressive breeders to make Confidence the $180,000 top-selling bull at the recent Connealy Angus bull sale.  He is a son of Connealy Tobin out of a Connealy Thunder daughter.  The maternal grand dam is sired by Bextor.  This outstanding prospect is a one-of-a-kind combination of superior phenotype with a very unique EPD package backed up by impressive genomic results.  Confidence is a +13 for CED, -1.5 BW, +58 WW, +115 YW, +29 CW, +.75 MARB, +.91 REA, +30.58 $W, and +76.40 $B.  Confidence has been leased to Select Sires and semen will be available later this spring.

Congratulations to Gardiner Angus Ranch for hosting a very successful 32nd Annual Production Sale last month.  Much of our genetic base comes from this great herd.  We are honored to be Allied Producers with the Gardiner’s and market a large portion of our bull calf crop through them.  We were pleased to have the fifth high-selling bull in the sale at $13,000.  GAR MC New Day 454 J0012 is a son of B/R New Day 454 out of a Total daughter that sold to LeBus Angus of Lexington, KY.  We also had the seventh high-selling bull at $11,000.  GAR 5050 New Design J9165 is a son of G A R New Design 5050 out of a G A R Solution daughter that sold to Mayer Ranch of Guyman, OK.

It’s been a while…..

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2011 by Maplecrest Farms

During the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a couple of friendly reminders that I haven’t been keeping my blog at the Maplecrest Farms web site up-to-date.  In fact, a heck of a lot has happened since the last time I posted a blog.  A few of the high points that have occurred since I last wrote to you include  hosting another production sale, hip replacement surgery, a job change, and watching the girls have their most successful show season ever.

On a personal note, I did have right hip replacement surgery on October 5.  Therapy went very well and things are slowly approaching the “back to normal” stage.   Winter has been a bit challenging thus far in light of my healthy respect for slick conditions from ice and snow. 

I also started a new position with Ohio State University Extension at the first of the year.  After nearly 25 years serving as an Extension Educator (Agent) in Brown, Adams, and most recently Highland Counties, I took the position of OSU Extension Beef Coordinator.  This position is jointly funded by OSU Extension, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, and the Ohio Beef Council.   I have to admit that I am excited to have the opportunity to work in a position that allows me to focus on my primary area of interest and specialization. 

Now for the girls and their show heifers.  To say that they have had a great 2010-11 show season would be a bit of an understatement!   I don’t want to bore you with too many details but here are the highlights: Atlantic National Jr. Show Grand Champion Female, Ohio Angus Preview Jr. and Open Show Grand Champion Female, All-American Futurity Jr. Show Reserve Grand Champion Female, Ohio State Fair Grand Champion Bull and Female, North American Jr. Show Grand Champion Female, and National Western Jr. Show Grand Champion Female.  Check out the videos at http://www.angus.org/pub/Videos.aspx?id=162&desc=National%20Western%202011:%20Angus%20Junior%20Show (Denver) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnswUCCVwvs&feature=related (Louisville).  I know that Lindsey and Lauren were excited and we were humbled given the level of competition within the Angus breed.

None of this would have been possible without the help of some talented cattlemen and special friends.  First, I want to thank Austin Trueblood for everything he does for this operation.   Besides being a great friend to the girls, he does excellent work with our show cattle and the rest of the herd.  In case some of you hadn’t noticed, he is a pretty good “stick man” as he was received 2nd place in the National Jr. Showmanship Contest this past summer in Denver.  

Special thanks are in order for two operations that are pretty special to us.  Bruce and Amy Stertzbach of Stertzbach Cattle Company have been friends of ours for a long time and have sold us some of their best heifers over the past three years.  Lydell and Holly Meier of Gamble Angus have sold us highly competitive females as well.   Both operations are very successful in the show ring and we are fortunate to work with them.  Both of them have great crews that always have their cattle looking their best.  Special congrats to Chris Johnson of Gamble Angus for being named Herdsman of the Year at the recent National Western Stock Show.   

As far as a herd update, we are in the midst of the early rush of the “spring” calving season.  The majority of the “spring” calves born here at the farm will be sired by New Day 454, G A R Progress, Mandate, Daybreak, Ironstone, 5050, and Total.  Simmental sires represented include Trademark, Grandmaster, Dreamcatcher, and Explorer.  The first flushes of 2011 will take place in mid-February with matings currently under consideration. 

I will strive to be a bit timelier with my next post.  I know, easier said than done!

Spring Time

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 by Maplecrest Farms

A lot has happened since I visited with you last.  A Regional Angus Show, the Ohio Beef Expo, a trip to Kansas, and the onset of spring breeding season have combined to make the past month go by very quickly. 

Earlier in March, Lindsey and I made the trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Angus Classic Show.  Lindsey’s April 2009 daughter of PVF ALL Payday from Stertzbach Cattle Co. was named Reserve Grand Champion Owned Heifer.  Thanks to Bruce and Amy Stertzbach and the entire crew at Stertzbach Cattle Co. for all of their help in making the trip a success.  Lindsey felt the trip was a nice diversion from studying for Winter Quarter Finals at OSU.

Next up was the Ohio Beef Expo in Columbus.  This year we took on a new venture at the Expo by having a booth at the trade show.  The booth allowed us to interact with many producers from Ohio and surrounding states and expose them to our operation.  Through a promotion with Vita-Ferm, we awarded a certificate for $250 in Vita-Ferm product to Michael Duff of Whipple, OH.  Plans are to do the booth again in 2011.

We sold an excellent Sim-Angus yearling bull as lot #71 in the Simmental sale.  He is a Feb. 1, 2009 son of WSJ Encore out of the 2007 National Champion Percentage Simmental Female CRCC Dixie Erica 6040S.  He sold to Cluxton Farms of Ripley, Ohio.  Lauren’s Charolais x Simmental x Angus heifer was selected as Grand Champion AOB Heifer in the Jr. Show.

Spring breeding season began for us the last full weekend of March in 2010.  We synchronized basically all of our Jan.-Feb. yearling heifers and Jan.-Feb. A.I. calving cows.  We follow the basic synchronizing protocol of using CIDR’s and GnRH on Day 1 and a shot of prostaglandin on heifers at Day 5 and cows on either Day 5 or 7.  This system has worked fairly well for us.  Counting the eggs that were implanted last week, we have made over 100 matings thus far.  Now we are hoping for respectable conception rates.

On April 1 we made our annual trek to Kansas for the annual Gardiner production sale.  This year we flew in to Wichita instead of Oklahoma City because of Easter weekend travel connections.  We took advantage of our alternate travel plans to stop by McCurry Angus Ranch at Burrton, KS to visit with John McCurry.  John is an energetic young breeder that is doing an excellent job with his family’s herd. 

We finally made it to Gardiner’s on Thursday evening and started looking at the sale cattle which continued up until sale time Saturday morning.  As expected, Gardiner’s had another excellent sale as they grossed just under $3.7 million on 967 lots of registered and commercial cattle to average $3,805.  The most impressive segment of the sale was the 297 lots of bulls that averaged $5,871 which included the sale of the $180,000 G A R Progress at $180,000.  Maplecrest sold a total of 17 bulls in the sale in a price range of $4,000 to $10,000 with our bulls averaging $5,662.  We are honored to have this joint marketing arrangement with the Gardiner’s. 

We are also excited to have added three tremendous females to our lineup.  We purchased two females in partnership with Steve Hillhouse of LaGrange, TX.  First, we purchased Lot #460, G A R 1I1 Rito 1566, a daughter of 1I1 out of the great 2413 cow.  She is a maternal sister to $300,000 Deer Valley donor G A R Objective 2345, the dam of Progress.  1566 was the dam of the high-selling bred heifer and several high-selling bulls at the 2010 GAR sale.  The second female we purchased was Lot # 691X, G A R Predestined 208, a daughter of Predestined out of the highly productive G A R 1407 New Design 1182.  This female is carrying an Objective heifer calf and definitely fits our requirement for outstanding EPDs with a great look.  We also added a very good Bextor daughter from the bred heifer division.   We are excited to get all of these females in production and look forward to a bright future for them all.

Ohio Beef Expo

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2010 by Maplecrest Farms

What a winter this has been in southern Ohio!  Local reports have this year’s snowfall as one of the top five on record.  While it may not be anything compared to winters in the upper Midwest, it sure has been tough enough by our standards.  Enough whining about the weather!

Reports from early bull sales have been very strong which is very encouraging.  This is probably a direct result of the fact that most purebred and commercial breeders have come to grips with how to deal with genetic defects and improving prices in the feeder calf market.  It is always interesting to see the breeding philosophies and promotional angles that different breeders utilize and how they are received.  Some breeders have been very successful at developing loyal followings for their “brands”.

The “hype” machine is quite evident at some locations with “calculated” yearling weights, “in-herd indexes”, and other scoring systems being used.  Call me old-fashioned but I would prefer to use information generated from recognized, structured Association performance programs when comparing animals within a given population.  I just believe there is a certain comfort level with data generated from the Association.

We just returned from the Kentucky Beef Expo this past week.  I had the opportunity to judge the Angus sale cattle and the commercial pen cattle and saw many high quality cattle.  Lauren had a very good weekend as her BC Lookout daughter from Gamble’s Angus was named Grand Champion Angus Female and 4th Overall Female.

Our focus now has shifted to the Ohio Beef Expo that is being held March 19-21 at the state fairgrounds in Columbus.  We will be exhibiting five heifers in the junior show (3 Angus, 1 Sim-Angus, and 1 AOB) and will be selling an excellent Sim-Angus yearling bull as lot #71 in the Simmental sale.  He is a Feb. 1, 2009 son of WSJ Encore out of the 2007 National Champion Percentage Simmental Female CRCC Dixie Erica 6040S.  He is an excellent herd sire prospect that is moderate framed with loads of muscle and capacity and has passed his breeding soundness exam with flying colors.

We are trying out a new venture at this year’s Ohio Beef Expo.  We will have a booth in the trade show located in the Voinovich Building.  We will be in booth #307 which is on the east wall across the aisle from the COBA/Select Sires, Inc. booth.  We will be highlighting our donor females, bulls currently for sale, and our upcoming Sept. 25 production sale.  Stop by and visit with us and register for a drawing for $250 worth of Vita-Ferm products.  We thank Umbarger Feeds and Vita-Ferm for helping to sponsor this drawing. 

Until next time.

Denver

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 by Maplecrest Farms

No time like the present to write my first blog for 2010.  While I know that it would be unrealistic to have made a New Year’s Resolution to write this blog on a regular schedule, I will surely attempt to do better at this in 2010 than last year.

Things have been fairly hectic around here since the first of the year.  While the majority of our cowherd calves in the fall, we do calve approximately 50 cows in the Spring.  Our “Spring” calving cows started calving at the first of the year.  Needless to say, these cows have experienced a wide of weather conditions since January 1.  Early on we had snow and bitter cold.  The bright side to the cold was the fact that the ground was frozen which certainly made most outside feeding activities a bit easier.  Recently, temperatures have moderated but the dreaded southern Ohio mud has returned.

We just returned from our trip to the National Western Stock Show in Denver.  As always, there were several days of Angus activities of interest for many breeders.  Angus activity appeared to be up from last year as there were more cattle on the “Hill” this year than the last and crowds appeared to be up as well.  Sales in Denver were solid as well.

Lindsey and Lauren had a great trip to Denver with their show heifers.  We had purchased a heifer for each of them last fall.  Lindsey will be showing an April 2009 daughter of PVF ALL Payday from Stertzbach Cattle Co. in Ohio while Lauren will be showing a May 2009 daughter of BC Lookout from Gamble Angus in Tennessee.  Lindsey’s heifer stood 2nd in class behind a Division Champion heifer in the Jr. Show and won her class in the Open Show.  Lauren’s heifer stood 2nd and was Res. Summer Heifer Calf Champion in the Jr. Show and won her class and was named Spring Heifer Calf Champion in the Open Show.  Both girls were very pleased with the results.

We would like to thank the people that helped make these results possible.  Bruce and Amy Stertzbach and the entire crew at Stertzbach Cattle Co. as well a Lydell and Holly Meier and Chris and Jess Johnson of Gamble Angus are to be congratulated for their achievements with their breeding programs and their great customer service.

Denver always provides a great opportunity to visit with breeders from across the country and learn about their attitudes and philosophies about the current state of the Angus breed.  It is obvious that there was much less anxiety among breeders when compared to last year when we were experiencing the initial shock of the discovery of AM and rumors of NH around the corner.  However, I still detect a bit of uncertainty as to the direction in which breeders are wanting to take their programs.  I’m sure some of the contributing factors for this uncertainty includes the economy, the uncertain status of potential defects, curiosity about the impact of DNA testing on the value of animals, and of course, the economy!

One thing is for certain.  Regardless of the selection priorities that you may have, superior animals for any given trait will always have value.  Animals that excel in multiple traits and phenotype will always have greater value in the future.

Another one bites the dust

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2009 by Maplecrest Farms

A couple of days before Christmas may seem like an odd time to post this blog entry but with the holidays upon us and Denver shortly after that, there is no time like the present.  Besides, my daytime employer (OSU Extension) seems to find it necessary to do end-of-the-year reports and plan for next year.  Go figure!

Our big push for the fall breeding season has passed and we are winding down with hopefully just a few rebreeds.  To this point, breeding season has gone along relatively smoothly with just a few exceptions.  We synchronize nearly all of our breedings with repeats comprising nearly all of our “unsynchronized” matings.  Breeding season is definitely a team effort around here.  Joanie, the girls and I take care of the donors and yearling heifers in Highland County and our herdsman, Jeremy Simpson, takes care of the A.I. cows and recips at Decatur.  Phil Dotson of Winchester pitches in as our relief A.I. help.

Last week was very hectic as it was flush week for our donors.  We set up 13 donors and most of the flushes were very successful.  We put in all of our eggs fresh this time in our own recips as well as in our long-time E.T. cooperator, Craig Adams.  Now it is time to wait patiently to see what kind of conception rate we get.  We have used Roger Thompson (Thompson E.T. Services) for over a decade in our E.T. program and would recommend him to anyone.  If you are interested in his services, he can be reached at 614-570-7098.

Through my position with OSU Extension, I had the opportunity to write a fact sheet on embryo transfer in beef cattle a couple of years ago.  If you are interested in a relatively short outline of the embryo transfer process, you can check out this fact sheet at the following link:  http://ohioline.osu.edu/anr-fact/pdf/ANR_17_08.pdf

The next major Angus event for us will be the National Western Stock Show in Denver.  Lindsey and Lauren will be exhibiting a heifer each at the show.  I get the opportunity to help judge the Angus Sale bulls for a second year with four other breeders from around the country. 

Here’s hoping that you are able to spend quality time during the holidays with those people most important to you.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!