Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last Project & Year Review of 2014

I was again called from Felton Angus Ranch. This time, it was to work on their Fall calving group = winter breeding! Working for seasonal professions (beef cattle breeder, fly-fishing guide, and fly-dresser), job orders tend to be slim during winter/cold months...... So this project was greatly appreciated!

I again hit the road to their Tongue River division in Ashland, MT. When I got there, it was still during the warm spell. However, the first lesson was: Darkness = night comes abruptly this time of year. When I saw the sun was setting in the west, it was so short & quick till I lose the light. That expands to the second lesson: Black cattle are hard to see in the dark!!
We had good responses to our synchronization protocol. Then on Day 3 cold weather was approaching.......
 Day 4, back to winter!!
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It was a very good end of the season. Over all, my business has grown, compared to 2013!!!! As an AI technician, my skills & feels have been better than ever. Perhaps even getting sharper. Also this year, as a business manager, I did really well!! I didn't make a gazillion dollars but I'm sure my operation is heading to a right direction, just as I hoped when I founded. But then again, I can't thank enough all the customers and crews who worked with me and made this happen. THANK YOU! & Merry Christmas!

Last but not the least, I just devised a trash bag stand with the old camp-chair. This will be very handy!! Right along the working chute!! Even indoors? You'll see this next year!!

I wish all of you Happy X'mas and Happy New Year!!
I will see you at the end of dirt road next year!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

End of AI Season

Well, it's been fast and intense........ AI season here in SW Montana is as intense and short as fly-fishing guide services............. As of this weekend, I have gladly wrapped up the second year in business!! (I will be available for winter breeding/fall herd toward the end of the year but that will be a while).

After the last post about "on the road", my projects were home-based. I had two projects at Felton Angus Ranch (www.feltonangus.com) in Sprindale. It was mostly nice weather but there were several cold mornings (even as of this typing).

Why aren't there any pictures with me breeding etc? We were busy running cows in the chute. Plus, it's really nothing new but routine that I've been doing for a long time.

Little by little yet surely, my business is growing!! I felt strongly so through this second season.
Then again, without customers'/ranchers' collaborations and loyalty, this wouldn't be happening. I really appreciate all the people who have worked with me.

My old super-faded Carhartt will be worn next year too!!
New sorting flag!!

As I am wrapping up my season, ranchers are sending their cows and heifers to summer pastures with bulls taking over my job. Depending on operations, haying season has just begun too.

I'm shifting into my other profession in SW Montana = fly-fishing guide from now till it ends (October or even in November). Winter snow accumulation, daily weather, and many other Mother Nature affect fly-fishing just as in ranching. I'm very proud of that both of my professions are deeply involved in and interacted with Montana and people who live here!

For next several months, you will see me driving the same truck, oftentimes towing a driftboat, around here. I will see you around.
Thank you again for all of your customer loyalty and collaborations!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Master Breeder On The Road

I have just got home from the week-long breeding road. I'd like to call it great success........

Last year, my businesses were around my home town. It was a very good way to get started. In this second season, suddenly yet surely it expanded to an extended road trip. Whatever we talk about, either cattle related, fly-fishing or any other things in life, the whole trip ended as one of a few examples of "everything went well"!!
First task: SCHEDULE. This is actually easy as based on conversation and communication among people involved in. I was blessed with working with very good people!!
Then here come other factors: CATTLE & WEATHER. We always plan and work for the best when we synchronize groups of cattle but every now and then we have to face some disappointments and unpredictable situations. Then who can expect Montana weathers for his/her favors/wishes? Well....... even those unpredictable factors worked very well for me and people I worked with. Let's look!!

Heading Eastern Montana. Hat and clipboard on the dash are must thing for the cattle breeder on the go!!

Don't forget attaching seatbelt on the breeder's companion. - Hardin, MT.

My first destination was Felton Angus Ranch (Tongue River Division) in Ashland, MT.
As I checked in I briefly looked around. I just reminisced my cowboy days in Eastern MT long time ago (another story). Looking at buttes in the direction of Miles City from the corral, I felt that Eastern MT was greener and prettier than Western MT at this time of year.

Heifers responded very well to our synch programs.
At the dawn of the third (& last) breeding day,  fogs and strange clouds were surrounding the ranch and the area.......... Weather forecast was predicting some severe storm (any kinds involved!!) in the area............ Little did I know this was the omen........ Our breeding went well. However, I was breeding the last few heifers under the hail..........
 
My next destination was a feedyard between Park City & Columbus, MT. Ranch Manager and I have been in touch since March and we gave a shot for his Charolais based herd.

Before talking about my job and result, I kinda like this picture myself. The feedyard is right along Yellowstone River. As Absarokee Range slopes down toward east, the area shows one of the most unique and iconic wilderness of Montana, if not the entire West.
White/gray hide cows in the feedlot is easy to work with when they are in "heat". As they are playing or being played, their hides are easily coated by mud and soils!!

These heifers responded to our Synch program just as we expected but it ended more than we imagined or expected.............. Believe or not, 82 heifers out of 82 heifers showed visual & physical signs of estrus!! Let me remind you that these heifers are real "range-cows", not under any special managements or treatments. They are just who they are. Really.


So here's the program I suggested to ranchers.
This season, since I was notified a lot in advance, ranchers and I decided to work on this protocol. Apparently this one takes long and needs planned accordingly. Yes, CIDR is considered expensive among any other pharmaceutical products for a per-animal base. Also each day in the schedule can be labor intensive. But reward = tightness of synchronization can be some of the best among any other protocols.

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So all the elements (schedule, cattle response, and weather) worked for my favor and wish. And I did my 100% BEST. That's why I call it "great success" and all I have to do next is to wish for the best of pregnancy and calving.
However, I know and I do appreciate that these are not my solo achievement but are greatly supported by and due to ranchers I worked with and who even paid me. Without their understanding and collaborations, these results wouldn't have been achieved.
Yes, I'm doing this to make some money for living. But then again, I can't thank enough for all the blessed and funny moments that I share with GREAT PEOPLE at Montana Ranches. And this is the true and the biggest motivation of me being The Master Breeder...........

Friday, April 4, 2014

Midland Sale 2014

Spring has come!
Today I visited the annual performance bull sale at Midland Bull Test (http://www.midlandbulltest.com) in Columbus, MT. I don't think I'm totally wrong to call this "All Star Event". It's a 3-day long sale and is the biggest one around here. They show all the major beef breeds with Angus being the dominant. Then list of consignors include from individuals who maintain certain pedigree and offer a few to several bulls to big ranches who have their own sales yet submit certain bulls for this event. Also this can be the important meeting place for industry personnel, such as myself.

Today, Day 3 was Angus Day. Apparently Angus is the most popular and dominant breed among Montana ranches. Hence, there were lots of Angus ranchers, both commercial and registered herds.

Just as seen from my spot...... This is a huge event for auctioneers and sale-representatives in the area as well as for ranchers!!

This marks the end of "Master Breeder Propaganda Tour" for 2014.
I'm discussing upcoming schedules and plans for next 2 months with people I work with. It will be another great busy season!!
See you at the end of gravel road!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Bull Sale Tour

My bull sale visits = aka "Master Breeder Propaganda Tour" = is going on. This year, based on the last year's experience, I have planned the same sales I'd like to visit again and others I pass. Then I have added new destinations.

I visited Hyline Van Dyke Angus sale, just as last year. This was actually on February 28th, the day before the BLIZZARD!!
With my good friend Jim Felton. He seemed to have invented a new head gear for the cold weather.........

This was not my call but Jim asked me to see if I want to go "Bulls of Bitterroot Sale" in Stevensville, MT. I says "sure!!"
He had something or "someone" in his mind...........
Bitterroot Valley is a lot different from Paradise Valley (fishing can be as good, I bet!!). It was a nice day for a long drive and being outside.

Bidding started....... The very first bull = Lot #1 = was Jim's soul-mate....... With some intense bidding (or sales?) tactics and some nervous moments, he won. The bull he won over would be perhaps the best bull (with too much expecting future on his shoulders) walking in Montana, if not in entire US. If you are interested in the bull and semen availability, or progeny availability in the near future!, check with Felton Angus Ranch (http://www.feltonangus.com/)

I visited "Southwest Montana Angus Association Bull Sale" held at Montana Livestock Auction Yard in Butte (Ramsay).

Though being 120 miles away, there actually were lots of sellers and buyers from Gallatin County. Indeed very local!!

There are a couple more sales I'm thinking to visit till early April. Spot me in my "company uniform"!!

EAT Corned Beef & Cabbage!! to close this post!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Season Starts

First week of February was brutally cold. But cows have started giving birth in some operations and our schedules need be going. It's the season when I start visiting bull sales around here to meet local ranchers and learn "genetic" trends.

There are things I learned from last year. There are several changes but also others that remain the same. One of good things that remain the same is that Felton Angus Ranch (www.feltonangus.com) bull sale is the first one in the area and the first one for me to visit.
Check out the recent episode at The American Rancher.

I totally agree with their concept: "Working Bulls for Working Class Rancher".

Last weekend (8th & 9th), brutal coldness loosened its grip; warm enough for me to go fishing!! We were expecting some more improvements on Monday, 10th. It remained cold but comfortably so. Perhaps the most importantly, we didn't have bone-chilling winds, which are typical around here. Bulls were ready for their big day!

Just before the sale begins, we were treated with perhaps the best lunch at the sale around here. Honestly this was beyond the level of "complementary lunch" but the "real meal on the menu"!!

This time, instead of being an observer, I joined to "The Crew" who actually keep the sale up and running efficiently. If you have even a few experience in this kind of work, you would get a picture about where I was and what I did. Anyway we "The Crew" ran the chute with great concentration and preciseness so this was the only picture I could snap!

Sale seemed to have gone well. I could tell from expressions = happy smiles = of ranchers who had purchased bulls.
Last but not the least, I was "publicized" in their sale catalog: just a scene from my contribution of breeding their yearling heifers last spring.

So it was a good start of the season for me as well as for ranchers around here. I plan to visit some more bull sales around here for next two months. I will see you there!