We would like to welcome you to our virtual 'farm'. Please take the time to get to know us and learn about our operation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We are always more than willing to talk with our fellow producers.
We both come from farming families with roots in the Hereford breed. In 1999, we began our foray into farming with the purchase of some of Ross Pritchard's herd. We purchased the cattle with our brother and sister-in-law, Floyd and Pam Price of Triangle Acres. Until the spring of 2006, our cattle were custom raised by Floyd and Pam. We helped out as much as we could when jobs and time allowed us time off. At the time, we were living in Winnipeg and our neighbours were not too keen about our oversized 'pets'!
In the spring of 2006, we decided it was time to move out of the city. We had one son already and another on the way and knew that we did not want to raise them in the city. After living in Westbourne for a year, we purchased a small farm at Elm Creek, Manitoba.
Through careful selection and patience, we have built our herd up to 45 registered cows. In the spring of 2014, we decided to expand our cattle operation with a commercial herd - just before prices started to take off. It was the first time that we hit the market right! The commercial cows are Angus-influenced. We are breeding them all back to Hereford bulls and are looking forward to our first crop of bladies and brockles. Our intent is to replace the Angus cows with Hereford cows as we call and as the economics of the industry dictate.
As we both work off the farm (Glen with a local farmer and Faye with Manitoba Agriculture Services Corporation), we try to follow a strict culling program. We are trying to target a medium-framed cow with good udder development who will bring in a large calf in the fall and rebreed easily. We ask a lot from our cows! The cows have to be sound, good mothers, even tempered, and healthy. We do not have time to be treating cows constantly and to be babying calves. As the boys are usually not far away when we are out working with the cattle, the cows have to be quiet. We also want cows that we can work with without hurting ourselves, them, or our facilities. We follow a spring and fall vaccination program developed with input from our vet that includes IBR/BVD, blackleg, vitamins, and ivermectin.
We target a January/February calving season for the registered Herefords and a March/April calving season for the commercial cows. Taking out the yardsite, we have about 30 acres to run the cows on. This makes up our winter pasture, and short-term spring and fall pastures as needed. We are currently renting pasture and using the local community pasture for the summer.
In the past, we purchased all of our hay and straw every year. It is getting harder to find hay every year so we decided to buy a disc bine and baler this year to make our own. Now we are in search of some hay land and/or crop land to make feed on. To help reduce our feeding costs and winter chores, we have adopted alternative winter feeding strategies to feed the cows and any calves we retain. We have used bale grazing in the past and are currently grazing standing corn in the fall and early winter before moving to hay pre- and post- calving. The cows are then fed a combination of alfalfa hay, grass hay, greenfeed, and two year old oat straw based on a recommended mix (from CowBytes). We test the feed value of the hay and straw to ensure all nutrient requirements are met. The added cost is easily made up feeding the right amounts to the cows, with minimal waste.
Our land is definitely seeing the benefit of winter grazing. There is a difference in crop growth from where we have grazed in the past to where we have only started to graze during the winter.
We have done some showing in the past at summer fairs and the Manitoba Hereford Association Summer MOE Show. We have been away from it for the past couple of years because of work commitments but hope to return in the near future as the boys get older and more active. For us, it is part of our summer holidays. We enjoy getting out to work with the cattle and spend time with fellow cattle enthusiasts. Hopefully we will see you on the road somewhere next summer!
We have been annual consignors to the Lundar Bull Show and Sale (in April) but have moved mainly to marketing replacement females and bulls out of the yard. Our steer calves are usually sold through Gladstone Auction Services as backgrounders. A few are retained every year for freezer sales to friends and neighbours.