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Volume 11 Issue 2 September 2012 What’s Inside Westman Farms — A Family Tradition 1 Westman Farms A family tradition Gate Post — Selling Beef The “Cowboy Way” 16 Simmental Innovations 20 Breed Improvement — Research 24 Vet’s Advice 38 Baxter Black 40 Grazing Management 101 — Grazing Animal Distribution 42 What’s Happening 64 Publication Mail Agreement # 40012794 Commercial Country F arming is a family tradition at Westman Farms. It all began in 1926 when Doug and Murray Westman’s grandfather, John Batke began farming the location where Westman Farms currently is head-quartered. Doug and Murray’s parents, Walden and Dorothy Westman made the decision to stop driving taxi in the town of Vermilion in 1957 to follow their dream of farming and in 1974 brothers, Doug and Murray Westman, joined forces to create Westman Farms. Since then Doug and Nora, their children Kyle and Jason; and Murray and Leslie, and their children Derek and Jill, have called Westman Farms home. After growing up on the farm and completing their post-secondary educations in agriculture and livestock management the fourth generation of Westmans, cousins Derek and Kyle, became business partners with their fathers in 2007. Each partner offers different strengths to the management of Westman Farms. With over 8000 acres of land to manage as well as a custom silage and combining operation, and a cattle operation of approximately 1400 head, there is very little free time at Westman Farms and everyone’s energy and talents are put to good use. The Westmans crop 5800 acres for their own operations: corn for grazing, barley and oats for silage and cash crops of wheat and canola. Their main land base and home farm is located at Vermilion, Alberta, 200 kilometers east of Edmonton, however the Westman operation is spread out and includes pasture land located at Mayerthorpe, AB. Murray has seen many changes in the operation of Westman Farms over the past 10 years. “Cows paid the bills through the 80’s and 90’s”, he said. “The last five years it has been grain income that has paid the bills. Cattle are coming back again and it’s all part of the age old cycle. We do custom silage work, custom spraying and combining. If we have the time and the work fits our plans we try to work these things in. But one thing we don’t do is put ourselves through the stress of trying to predict weather, markets or prices.” The Westmans started their cattle operation with a British based cow herd. In the early 1970’s, prior to purchasing their first Simmental Bull in 1975 they introduced Simmental genetics to their herd through artificial insemination. Some of the continued on page 8 1

Simmental Commercial Country

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