I never saw this coming last October. I thought we were going to get through a very dry 2021. We dealt with a dried up dugout and harvested every extra acre we could so it looked like our silage pile was at least as big as previous years. I was looking forward to my first baldie crop of calves as we bred half our commercial black cows Hereford. With great optimism I even picked up 3 bred cows at the Mar Mac dispersal.
Mid January and it became very apparent that the volume of my silage pile was not translating into tonnes and I was already approaching the March mark. Even with the Drought Assistance programs available it became very evident that I was not going to buy my way out of this feed shortage. Partial dispersal was an option; however, I began to notice that Father Time was catching up to my Dad. I need him here 24/7 and at his age I just decided that was not fair or safe option and hence just let the complete herd go. My Mom has medical issues and he needs to spend his 24/7 at home now.
I am very proud of what my Dad and I have accomplished. We have the herd exactly where we wanted in terms of numbers with a great group of young Innovation, Stoney, Jackson females ready to perform. Black Creek have built our herd from within. We took the time to search out a fine group of breeders that take pride in the consistency of their cow herd. Cow herds that are uniform and produce a uniform set of calves. These breeders all work hard at their cow herd and believe that good cows have good calves regardless of who the sire is. Their cows calve early each year, bring in a big calf at weaning, and have a gentle disposition with beautiful udders. Then they see the daughters of these good cows doing the same thing. This is where my herd is at now.
We were able to jump start our herd through the purchase of a few quality bred heifers from Dale Easton (Eastondale Angus), Alvin and Troy Frick (Northern View Angus), Brian Sutter (Atlasta Angus), Trent Liebreich (Merit Cattle Company) and most recently from the McRaes at Mar Mac Angus. Most of these purchased females are still active in our herd and we have retained our best open heifers and they are also now active in our herd doing exactly what their mothers did.
We were always committed to use maternal sires on this young herd and to focus on developing balanced cattle. Cattle that are designed for easy calving, explosive growth, moderate frame, quiet disposition, and to leave a great set of replacement females. Consistency resulting from building a group of cows that have mothers, daughters, granddaughters working as one.
From our 100 cow herd we would select 15 bull calves for our potential herd sire bull pen. We started by selling yearling bulls at the Manitoba Bull Test Station Sale and gained enough confidence from these sales that we now market by private treaty off farm. Our Reference sires for this year’s pen include Bear Creek Jackson 088F, Young Dale Believe 63D, and Eastondale Thunder 31F. We are proud of our pen and give the credit to the mothers of these young bull calves. These guys sell off farm and are not part of the female dispersal.
It is very hard to let go and as each of these females went through the calving barn this past February. Many days I almost reversed my decision to disperse. These cows have a very strong set of calves at their side. One of the greatest joys in this industry is watching the little rascals run, jump and play out in the pen just at dusk. I am going to miss this. The biggest disappointment is that I have to maintain my off farm employment.
Please drop by and view our herd prior to sale. There is something here for everyone.