"The Grit" Newsletter - Spring Summer 2021

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Town Creek Farm Since 1993


Vo l u m e 9 , I s s u e 2 • P u b l i s h e d b y To w n C r e e k Fa r m , We s t Po i n t , M i s s i s s i p p i • B r a n g u s a n d U l t r a b l a c k

In 1801 Nothing Moved Faster Than the Speed of a Horse BY JOY REZNICEK SUNDBECK


We just weaned this stout fall-born bull calf. See back page of “The Grit” to learn more about fall weaning time on Town Creek Farm.

The Grit welcomes your inquiries and feedback. The Grit is published by Town Creek Farm, West Point, Mississippi.

Town Creek Farm Milton Sundbeck, Owner Office: 32476 Hwy. 50 East West Point, Mississippi 39773-5207 (662)494-5944 www.TownCreekFarm.com Joy Reznicek Sundbeck, President (205)399-0221 Joy@TownCreekFarm.com Clint Ladner, Bull Development (662)812-8370 CLadner@TownCreekFarm.com Cody Glenn, Herdsman (601)508-8689 Cody@TownCreekFarm.com Anne Sutherland, Quarter Horses (662)295-6144 Anne@TownCreekFarm.com South American Representative Ing. Agr. Federico Maisonnave (011) 595 981 362 898 Maisonnave.Federico@gmail.com TOTAL COMMITMENT


“A critical fact in the world of 1801 was that nothing moved faster than the speed of a horse. No human being, no manufactured item, no bushel of wheat, no side of beef (or any beef on the hoof, for that matter), no letter, no information, no idea, order, or instruction of any kind moved faster. Nothing ever had moved any faster, and, as far as Thomas Jefferson’s contemporaries were able to tell, nothing ever would.” Two hundred and twenty years later, the cattle business is fast-moving and requires ongoing education to stay in step with technology, herd health, science, management, and a wide array of skills that affect our operations. Common cores that remain from centuries ago to today are how we profit from our product and how we intend to make money. It takes refined knowledge to achieve results today. The beef industry has mastered doing more with less. Since partnering with Milton, I’ve witnessed a different approach to business. Milton’s efforts are on improving productivity, which he defines as doing more with the same. Two years ago we set out to increase productivity of our cow herd. Our goal was to increase number of calves born in the first 21 days of calving. Same cows. Same breeding seasons. Same resources. This spring 2021 calving season (February 1 to March 31), 83% of our mature cows calved in the first 21 days of the season. Seventy-five percent of our first calf heifers and three-year-old cows calved in the first 21 days. We implemented a series of strategies based on data, research, anecdotal evidence, trial and error and management adjustments to increase percent of calves born in the first 21 days of calving season. Why Tighten Up Calving Season? Doing More with the Same. More weight to sell. The earlier a cow calves in the calving season, the more calf weight there is to sell. Economics. Weaning weights collected in the fall of 2020 from a northwestern Missouri operation show that steer calves born in the first 21 days of calving season averaged 47 pounds heavier at weaning than calves born during days 22-42 (537 vs 490 pounds). At weaning, one day of age difference translates to 2.4 pounds of lost weaning weight. Heavier calves, and more of them, results in increased revenue. Calf uniformity. Calves uniform in age and size have market advantages. If you are marketing more than one calf, uniformity matters. Uniform calves create opportunities to group calves and to earn premiums. Sale barn owner Glynn Robinson reminds us, “If you bring in a set of calves with a weight difference of 250 to 500 pounds, we can’t sell them as a group.” Replacement heifers. Heifer calves born early in the calving season are more likely to cycle early during breeding and conceive as yearlings. “The best cows are the ones that breed as yearlings, breed back for their second calf and stay in the herd,” says Cliff Coddington of Longino Ranch, Florida. “These are the bestproducing cows, and they have the most longevity. I keep daughters out of these cows and their daughters stay in my herd longer.” Age of weaning. Calves born in the third and fourth intervals are 40 to 75 days younger. Weaning those calves at 140 to 160 days of age is considered early-

weaned. They have different nutrient requirements and health considerations than older contemporaries. On the other end, older calves that remain on dams too long may compromise the dam’s body condition Nutrition. Dams of early-born calves have more time to recover before their next breeding season. They have higher body condition scores and heavier pre-breeding and pre-calving weights. Higher pregnancy rates. Cows cycling at the beginning of breeding season are more likely to become pregnant early. Cows that conceive late in the breeding season go on to calve late. Chances for these cows to rebreed diminishes the later she calves in the season. For every cow you don’t have to replace (because she’s open), means one more heifer calf you can sell. Calving Distribution. Doing More with the Same. Reproduction is the most important component for profitability on a ranch. Many producers share a mindset that if she’s bred, it doesn’t matter when she calves. We should think beyond pregnant cows. Think about improving calving distribution or tightening your breeding season to generate more income. Less than ideal calving distributions can be indications of larger, underlying issues such as inadequate nutrition, disease, bull fertility, mineral deficiency, bull to cow ratio, or cows not matching environments (adaptability). Evaluate your circumstances. Ideal breeding seasons consist of 60 to 90 days. Producers who keep bulls out longer, may consider pulling bulls two weeks early to tighten a calving season. Do this year after year and you’ve tightened up calving without sacrificing inventory. If you continue with a longer breeding season, calve out females for 60 days then consider finding a market for later calving cows. Replace these cows with cows that calve in your 60-day window. Get rid of the freeloaders - the cows that are lazy and don’t deliver calves on time every year. Cull open cows, dry cows and ones with bad dispositions. Cull cows that wean dinky calves and cows with bad feet. If you implement a strict culling program, the most fertile females will select themselves. Use multiple sire matings when possible to avoid failings of single sires. Bulls are living, breathing creatures that are susceptible to injury and sickness. The quickest method to improve the reproductive performance of your cow herd is to synchronize estrus prior to bull turn out. Sync protocols can be used with both A.I. and natural bull services, or with natural bull services only. A synchronization program progressively increases the number of cows calving early in the season. Talk with producers utilizing synchronization or contact Cody or Corey at Town Creek Farm to learn about our synchronization programs. Buy your bulls from seedstock programs that focus on fertility and maternal traits. Town Creek Farm believes we do it better than most. There is a positive relationship between number of days in the breeding season and production costs per hundredweight of calf weaned, according to research published by Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University. Research also showed a negative relationship between number of days of breeding seasons and pounds of calf weaned per cow per year. Inching toward a goal of increasing productivity of your cow herd, through tightening up calving season will lead to more weight to market from the same cows and on the same land.

Carcass Performance Makes Town Creek Farm Genetics Even More Valuable BY CODY GLENN

THE FIRST THOUGHT THAT COMES TO MY MIND WHEN I THINK ABOUT TOWN CREEK FARM CATTLE IS A MATERNAL COW HERD. OUR BULLS ARE KNOWN FOR SIRING TOP QUALITY REPLACEMENT FEMALES THAT ARE HIGHLY FERTILE AND ADD LONGEVITY TO COW HERDS. Over the past 30 plus years we have prioritized maternal and reproductive traits required for a profitable cow herd. Along the way, we have greatly improved carcass performance in our genetics. Our selection pressure on functional genetics requires us to breed cattle from the ground up. We start with feet and legs and work our way up the calf in phenotypic appraisal at weaning to ensure top quality calves move into the development phase. Early born calves are crucial in our program, and docility is a highly weighted attribute. Weaning to yearling development takes place in large pastures on foragebased diets with longevity in mind rather than maximum gain. Yearling measurements, including carcass ultrasounds, RIB-EYE AREA & BACKFAT mark the next step in the development process. Cow Creek Ranch, the origin of Town Creek Farm genetics, first utilized carcass ultrasound in 1988. Data collection is essential and has served as benchmarks of our genetic progress over the last three decades. Three areas of focus for determining carcass value are ribeye area per hundredweight (REA/cwt.), intramuscular fat (IMF) or marbling, and rib/rump fat (FAT). Our breeding program is rooted in maternal function. Cows providing optimal milk have yielded calves with increasingly higher intramuscular fat (IMF) or marbling. Ribeye area in our cattle has also increased to above industry standards. The unique

part of the data features virtually no increase in fat cover. Bulls and females remain functional through development and keep our cattle from “melting” due to lack of supplemental feed postdevelopment. True genetic improvement in carcass performance cannot be made by influencing gain data with feed. Carcass ultrasounds of our Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 yearlings have posted record numbers for REA/cwt and IMF. This data is evidence that our breeding philosophy continues to improve carcass value, without sacrificing the maternal production traits that define our herd. Ribeye area and IMF are often inversely related. Increasing these traits while also preserving an acceptable FAT score is a testament to the genetics that allow us to develop herd bulls and replacement females in a forage-based system. Ultrasound data from our “breed up to Brangus” project is very impressive. Development of Brahman cattle with enhanced carcass qualities RUMP FAT coupled with the carcass merit PERCENT INTRAMUSCULAR FAT of Angus cattle has allowed Town Creek Farm to utilize highly functional seedstock from both breeds to develop half-blood (Vigormax), threequarter blood, and ultimately, first-generation Brangus. Town Creek Farm genetics are based on breeding sound, functional cattle that provide value to the commercial producer. We prioritize traits that deliver the most value over time: fertility, structural soundness, calving ease, heat tolerance, longevity and performance. Maintaining a proper balance of maternal and production traits has allowed for the continued improvement of carcass attributes in a maternal-focused, forage-based genetic package.


150 Bulls • 300 Commercial Bred Heifers Saturday, October 16, 2021 • 12 noon • at the ranch near West Point, Mississippi BRANGUS • ULTRABALCK • VIGORMAX™ • HETEROSIS BOOSTER BULLS


Go to our website to request a sale catalog and to join our mailing list. Not all Grit recipients are on Town Creek Farm mailing list. Total Commitment



Milton Sundbeck, Owner • Office (662)494-5944 32476 Hwy. 50 East, West Point, Mississippi 39773-5207 Joy Reznicek Sundbeck (205)399-0221 • Joy@TownCreekFarm.com Clint Ladner (662)812-8370 • Cladner@TownCreekFarm.com www.TownCreekFarm.com

3 Quality Assurance always comes first.

Experience is the Best Teacher BY ANNE SUTHERLAND

AS A YOUNG PROFESSIONAL IN THE HORSE BUSINESS, I’M IN THE EARLY STAGES OF GAINING VALUABLE EXPERIENCE. I CAN ACCELERATE THE PROCESS BY TAPPING INTO THE EXPERIENCE OF SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN IN THE BUSINESS FAR LONGER THAN ME. I’VE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO COME TO KNOW THOMAS B. SAUNDERS V OF THE HISTORIC SAUNDERS RANCH IN WEATHERFORD, TEXAS. Town Creek Farm purchased two broodmares from Saunders Ranch in 2018, and Thomas has become an invaluable resource and friend. A fifth-generation rancher, AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder and Director, and Producer of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. He supplies livestock and horses for rodeos, competitions, and productions such as the hit TV series Yellowstone and sells young horses and ranch horses from his herd. Thomas has generations of horse experience to pass down and an immense passion for teaching. During one of my many phone conversations with Thomas discussing stallion options, selling horses, and always lively banter, he invited me to his ranch for the annual colt starting. In February I traveled to Saunders Ranch to soak in all the knowledge I could. Thomas, his wife Lynn, and mother Ann welcomed me into their homes and tables with hospitality bigger than Texas itself. Three days in, Thomas and his ranch hands had ranch-raised colts riding through the Texas brush, and I had gained many tools to bring back. A whirlwind trip, I wish I could have spent weeks listening to Thomas talk about colt starting and horse training. He has developed a steadfast system, philosophy, and mindset about


Thomas B. Saunders V with Anne Sutherland on historic Saunders Ranch in Texas.

the training process and horse business. I am blessed to know someone with the level of knowledge and experience Thomas has. His willingness to share ideas with me will have a far-reaching impact on the horse program at Town Creek Farm. The arsenal of tools and knowledge gained on my trip enabled me to implement positive changes to our system and tweak and enhance my approach to starting two-year-old colts. Thomas left a note – the kind you keep to go back and read over. The last lines read, “You are always welcome in my company, and I’m here to use. Thanks for coming. Come back soon. Go make it your own sis.” I intend to do just that.

Cows Don’t Give Their Milk BY MILTON SUNDBECK

TOWN CREEK FARM COMMERCIAL BRED HEIFER SALE CONSIGNMENTS DUE JUNE 30, 2021. The 2021 Town Creek Farm Commercial Brangus Bred Heifer Sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 16, 2021. This year marks the 24th year of the sale’s existence. Demand for Town Creek Farm commercial bred heifers has experienced tremendous growth thanks to the efforts and genetic improvements made by our customer consignors. The heifer sale is a Town Creek Farm customer-service program designed to provide buyers with high-quality replacement heifers backed by multiple generations of Town Creek Farm genetics. Heifers are ranch-raised, sourceverified, uniform and genetically tracked to Town Creek Farm genetic dams and calf sires. Heifer candidates must be at least secondgeneration Town Creek Farm heifers bred back to Town Creek Farm bulls. All heifers must be bred to calve at 30 months of age or younger and calve in a 60-day or less calving period. Complete nomination rules and entry forms along with additional details are available from Town Creek Farm. For more information, contact Joy Reznicek Sundbeck at (205)399-0221 or at Joy@TownCreekFarm.Com, or Clint Ladner at (662)812-8370 or at CLadner@TownCreekFarm.com.

EVERY DAY GIVES US A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO ASSESS AND COMPARE OUR WORK ETHIC TO OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. HERE’S A PIECE OF WISDOM I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU FROM AUTHOR PROMOD BATRA PUBLISHED IN A RECENT ISSUE OF PROGRESSIVE FORAGE. Batra tells the story of a young boy and his father. The father has promised to enlighten the boy on his secret to success when the boy becomes 13-years-old. On his 13th birthday, the boy eagerly tells his father he is ready to hear the secret to his success. The father pauses, then states, “Cows don’t give their milk.” The son is confused by the simple fact and asks his father to explain. The father goes on to say that the cow does not walk up to the barn and deposit her milk in the pail next to the door twice a day. Instead, the boy must walk to the pasture, lead the cow back to the barn, tie up her tail and spend the time milking her twice a day to ensure his family has milk. To ensure that she continues to produce, she needs to be fed and watered, and have all her needs tended to daily. The point the father was trying to make to the son was that although technically the family had milk because of the cow, without the hard work of the boy, the family would not have any. Two ideas come from this illustration. The first is that prosperity is only achieved through effort. Wealth and success are bestowed upon those who are willing to put the physical work and time into an endeavor. Along with hard work, good fortune is a component of prosperity. Work ethic to try again after failing and continue to try until one is successful is an important factor in determining prosperity, but without effort, prosperity will never truly be the outcome. The second idea is the realization that the son was already doing the work, but he had become so accustomed to the fruits of his labor that he no longer viewed it as an accomplishment or as work. The boy cared for and milked the cow each day because it was part of his daily chores, but from that day forward he took a certain amount of pride in his work. The milk would not be there if it weren’t for his efforts to bring it to the table. Success is a journey that must be traveled wisely. The good things in life don’t just drop into our buckets, we have to put them there. This simple truth should thrust us into action.

Hallmarks of Successful Beef Cattle Managers


DOUBLE A CATTLE COMPANY, HEADQUARTERED IN TROY, ALABAMA, HAD THE WINNING BID ON A TOWN CREEK FARM BULL CREDIT DURING THE 2021 ALABAMA CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (PAC) AUCTION. The Alabama Cattlemen's Association serves its members and the state's beef cattle industry by lobbying state government on the behalf of cattle producers. Auction proceeds go to lobbying efforts. Many thanks to Double A owners, Michael Agar and his dad, Alan, for their continued support of the cattle industry. Double A Cattle Company is a Bull Production Partner (BPP) of Town Creek Farm and Michael is a former Town Creek Farm intern and graduate of Mississippi State University.

1. Successful managers understand the importance of how to develop young cattle. The period from weaning to breeding is one of the most critical for replacement heifers. Heifers can be conditioned to be either good or poor lifetime-producing cows simply by how they are managed after weaning. 2. Successful managers know their feed expense. Feed costs are a critical component to keeping production costs in check. Grazed and fed feed, along with supplements, typically make up 40%-60% of the costs of running a cow. 3. Successful managers provide a positive work environment. They strive to create an environment in which people want to excel. Successful managers provide tools, training and freedom for employees to thrive. 4. Successful managers know their numbers. They keep proper financial records and solid production records. Successful managers know pregnancy rates, weaning weights, death loss and yearling gains, and so on.

Weaning Day – The month of May brings relief to dams of fall calves and our crew. Since mid-April, our crews have A.I.’d nearly 500 females, weaned fall calves, palpated fall calving females and branded fall calves.

LOOK FOR TOWN CREEK FARM DISPLAY BOOTH AT THE FOLLOWING EVENTS: June 15-17, 2021 – Florida Cattlemen’s Convention, Marco Island, Florida August 10-12, 2021 – NCBA Convention, Nashville, Tennessee Save Saturday, October 16, 2021 – Town Creek Farm Sale 150 Town Creek Farm Bulls • 300 Commercial Brangus Bred Heifers at the ranch, West Point, Mississippi NOT TOO SOON TO MAKE YOUR HOTEL RESERVATIONS FOR TOWN CREEK FARM SALE ON OCTOBER 16, 2021. HYATT PLACE COLUMBUS (Headquarters).........................(662)370-1800 101 Hospital Drive, Columbus, Mississippi 39701 Group Code: Town Creek Farm G-TC21. Room block cut-off October 1, 2021. HAMPTON INN WEST POINT.............................................(662)494-7802 5821 Highway 45 Alt S., West Point, Mississippi 39773 Group Code: Town Creek Farm

Catching greenlights is about skill: intent, context, consideration, endurance, anticipation, resilience, speed, and discipline. We can catch more greenlights by simply identifying where the red lights are in our life, and then change course to hit fewer of them.

– Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights

Weaning Fall 2020 Calves WE JUST COMPLETED FENCELINE WEANING OUR FALL 2020 CALVES. GENETICS AND MOTHER NATURE (MILD WINTER, NOT TOO MUCH RAIN AND LOTS OF RYEGRASS) PROVIDED FOR OUR HEAVIEST SET OF FALL CALVES EVER WEANED OFF BOTH RANCHES. Our keeper bull calves out of our three-year-old dams and mature dams had an average weaning weight of 706 pounds. Our keep rate was 67 percent. We wean in large contemporary groups for complete transparency of sire groups and to collect meaningful data. It’s a rewarding exercise to sort through calves. Our replacement heifer calves weaned from dams on Town Creek Farm take a ride to Cow Creek Ranch for development. Once there, our registered heifer calves are developed alongside our commercial heifer calves. Sandy river bottoms provide a favorable year-round environment for development with ample forage underfoot. Heifers remain at Cow Creek Ranch through development, breeding, calving of first calf and rebreeding. Heifers are returned to Town Creek Farm as cows, bred for their second calf. An area cattleman transports our heifers each year and keeps watch on our genetic progress. “Probably the best heifers you have ever weaned. There are some fancy girls in there,” he said of this year’s set. We select for easy-calving and easy-keeping fertile replacement heifers to reduce labor and to go on to raise sound, functionally balanced bulls that last for our customers and long-lasting replacement heifers for our herd. Our larger goals are to develop females that take fall calves through winter with minimal winter supplement.