Town Creek Farm Since 1993
Vo l u m e 4 , 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
The Cash Cow
BY FEDE MAISONNAVE, TOWN CREEK FARM THE PAST TWO YEARS MAY BE THE MOST INTENSIVE YEARS I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED REGARDING THE BEEF INDUSTRY. I’ve traveled to six beef cattle countries, attended several conferences and visited many ranches. I just returned from South Africa and now I am in the United States. I’ve spoken to many people in different languages about the beef industry in many different environments, economies and management strategies. Seems the wave of high prices sooner or later affected every corner of the world. Good for those who took advantage of this. During my travels there was a question throughout the entire industry that not many people could answer. Not one of the most experienced people that I met was in a position of knowledge to deliver a proper answer. My question was, how long will national/international commodities
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, President 205.399.0221 Joy@TownCreekFarm.com Clint Ladner 662.812.8370 CLadner@TownCreekFarm.com South American Representative Ing. Agr. Federico Maisonnave (011) 595 981 362 898 Skype: federico.maisonnave Maisonnave.Federico@gmail.com Total Commitment
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(including beef) high prices last? The more optimistic replied, “China and India populations will start eating more beef and we don’t have the beef cattle cows worldwide to feed them, nor the crops. This is going to last forever, we are not going back.” More conservative people didn’t want to state a number of years, but many thought the sky was the limit! Looking at the shrinking U.S. cow herd over the past 50 years, I, too, thought it would take at least five to six years to recover to a decent number of cows. By the way, there was one person, only one, who told me exactly how long the high price wave was going to last. It was Kevin Good, Cattle Fax Senior Analyst from Cattle Fax. I met him after he gave an outstanding talk of the worldwide beef industry situation at the 2014 Brangus World Congress in Mexico. He said it would last two years! Coincidence or not, I have to give him credit, he was darn right! The fact is there are so many new components to this industry that it is almost impossible for a regular human being to predict the behavior of markets for two years. I can’t imagine more than that. What the market is going to do, even if we knew, is way beyond our influence. Remember that 80 percent of the U.S. herd is represented by commercial producers that carry 50 cows or less. They are a drop in the sea, literally! We are the last link in the chain and we have to understand that situation. The truth is that we have to look at the cattle business as cold-blooded as we can. Like any business, gambling is risky and expensive. Success is only for ones that have the wisdom to make long-term management strategies, stick to them, keep calm and keep working toward your long-term profit goals. Being in the last segment of the chain is probably the most uncomfortable place in any industry. We will always be the trash can for the rest of the chain, and we can expect the dump truck to drive by and pick up late or not show up at all that day. While ranching is generally viewed as a way of life, it is much more rewarding when it makes a profit. Indeed, profit is a necessary condition to sustain ranching as a way of life. Most ranch owners and employees tend to love production aspects of ranching, but aren’t very comfortable with the business side. That probably means the majority of the ranchers struggle to be profitable, even with the good prices of the last two years. We have to know that within the next 10 years we will have floods, droughts and plagues, and most likely a market with medium to low prices. If there are outstanding prices, we will be the last to capitalize.
Looking over the hill, you need to have a system in place to make profit above the average, come hell or high water. There are at least a dozen ground “management rules” that you might think about for adding more profitability to your operation. I will leave that to Joy Reznicek and Jeff. I will talk about the genetic side of the business and what it means to breed the cash cow. Fertility comes first: 70% of fertility of a cow is explained by her age at her first and second calvings. In other words, the more fertile a female, the earlier in life will she give birth to her first and second calves. A cow that calves at the front of the calving season delivers a heavier calf at weaning and has a greater chance of rebreeding. If that early calving cow delivers a heifer calf, her heifer calf has more chances to breed early, before other heifers in her contemporary group. A herd built with fertile females gives their second calf at three-years of age and has 20% more gross income per year than a herd built with females that calve their second calf one year later. Short calving periods (60 days) and hard culling for those who don’t, ensures a herd with the most profitable cows. Low inputs–high outputs: Look to your genetic source where females are selected that work under simple and low input environments for multiple generations. Cash cows will deliver high value calves even in bad years because their genetics are from ancestors that have been selected in a low input environment. They have genetics to behave the same. Genetic progress does not depend on feed. Neither does the gross income of your operation. What is it worth to take a female to calving if she eats 80 to 90% of the value of her future calved prior weaning? Don’t work for your cows. Let them feel the environmental pressure and select ones that adapt and deliver a consistent product. That is the true cash cow! Large contemporary groups: Selecting your replacement females from large groups managed in the same environment ensures a genetic package that puts them ahead. True cash cows are ones that drive profit of your operation. These cows are not created from one year to another; it takes years of precise work and selection under the same and adequate management system. Genetics have to prove themselves in the pasture. It takes long-term planning, droughts, low prices, good and tough times to make them solid enough to survive hurdles. The Town Creek Farm herd is based on a rock-solid genetic pool developed from cash cows. As the last segment of the chain and to survive the ups and downs, the industry demands cash cows.
Town Creek Farm Exports Brangus Bull to Thailand TOWN CREEK FARM IS EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THAT BRANGUS BULL, TCF RAPID REWARD 384B4, HAS ARRIVED SAFELY IN THE COUNTRY OF THAILAND. In Fall 2015, Town Creek began working with representatives in selecting a Town Creek Farm herd sire for export to ailand. e chosen bull, TCF Rapid Rewards 384B4, underwent pre-entry testing followed by a 30-day oﬃcial quarantine period. During that time, additional testing was conducted to satisfy ailand’s stringent entry requirements. roughout the export process, Town Creek worked closely with the Mississippi Board of Animal Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. After 384B4 was cleared for export, he was transported to Louisiana, and then on to Texas to join a handful of Brahman cattle making the journey. e cattle were boarded on a plane in Chicago, Illinois, and were flown to ailand. 384B4 went into isolation upon arrival in ailand. Town Creek Farm bulls were specifically selected for this project due to their environmental adaptively, moderate birth weights, early maturing patterns, maternal and carcass qualities. From the 1960s to 1980s agriculture employed
Milton Sundbeck (left) with Federico Maisonnave holding Thailand’s flag. around 70 percent of ailand’s active working population. Today, ailand’s economy is an interesting blend of a strong agricultural sector with a developed manufacturing sector and stable service sector. ailand is located on the continent of Asia. ailand’s climate is tropical with a mean annual temperature of 82 degrees with high humidity. Brangus cattle are easily adaptive to ailand’s tropical atmospheric conditions.
Town Creek Farm
WEST POINT, MISSISSIPPI Saturday, October 15, 2016 • 12 noon
160 TOWN CREEK FARM BULLS Powerful, functional Brangus and Ultrablack bulls.
250 COMMERCIAL BRANGUS BRED HEIFERS
Sired by Cow Creek/Town Creek bulls and bred back to Cow Creek/Town Creek bulls.
TCF Rapid Reward 145Z3 R10243006 DDF
TCFIntegrity 4861A3 R10231918 DDF
Town Creek Farm continues to vigorously identify progressive sires to advance our breeding program and commitment to our customers. Our commitment to breed functional, problem free bulls that can travel, last and aggressively breed females. These featured herd bulls are just some of the Town Creek Farm herd bull battery in use in our Johnes free herd.
✔ Bulls developed on high roughage, forage-based, low energy ration to ensure longevity and reliable travel. ✔ Expansive herd health program including annual whole herd Johnes testing. Bulls sell Trich tested, Johnes free and BVD-PI tested. ✔ Fertility. We are committed to proving genetics that are functional and fertile. Heifers must calve as two-year olds. ✔ Large selection of user-friendly, high maternal, low birth weight bulls to produce valuable heifers. ✔ Slick haired, heat and humidity tolerant bulls.
Quality Assurance always comes first. Hotel Information Hampton Inn and Suites, West Point, Mississippi 662-494-7802
$105 King, Queen, Standard - $115 King Studio
The Hyatt Place, Columbus, Mississippi 662-370-1800 $99 Single or Double
Please contact the hotels directly, or contact Roxanne Spurgin at Roxanne@TownCreekFarm.com or 205-799-6121 for assistance.
Town Creek Farm
Milton Sundbeck, Owner • Office 662.494.5944 32476 Hwy. 50 East, West Point, Mississippi 39773 Joy Reznicek 205.399.0221 • Joy@TownCreekFarm.com Clint Ladner 662.812.8370 • Clint@TownCreekFarm.com www.TownCreekFarm.com
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Rigorous Standards Behind Every Town Creek Bull Wise and Prudent Culling is Another Step to Quality Assurance BY CLINT LADNER, TOWN CREEK FARM BULL DEVELOPMENT
HERE AT TOWN CREEK FARM, WE HAVE PUT TOGETHER OUR BULL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM TO RAISE RELIABLE AND LONG-LASTING BULLS SO THAT OUR CUSTOMERS GET THE MOST FOR THEIR MONEY. Shortly after we wean our bull calves we analyze each and every calf individually; if he does not have the stature, disposition, muscling, etc. for the makings of a herd bull, he gets castrated. On the day we brand our bull calves, we do an initial check on scrotal circumference. If a bull calf is less than 20 centimeters, he gets culled and cut. We do a second scrotal measurement as yearling bulls on the day we collect ultrasound data. At this point, a bull that has not developed to a minimum of 30 centimeter scrotal circumference gets culled. These collection points have been initiated into our program over time from trial and error. It is not scientific, just what we found that works for us in quality assurance and for future customer satisfaction. Our fall yearling bulls are semen checked for the first time every February prior to our October sale. We do this preliminary quality semen check and manual palpation for early elimination of problem bulls. Of course, all bulls undergo a complete and thorough breeding soundness exam within 30 days of our sale. I want to mention and underscore that when we wean our calves, we test every one of their dams for Johnes disease by both ELISA and PCR test methods. Any dam that tests positive is sold immediately and her calf is sold as well, no matter if it’s a bull calf or heifer calf. This is the only way to guarantee to our customers’ a Johnes-free bull. Testing young bulls for Johnes prior to selling is not a reliable testing method as Johnes disease will typically not present until after a bull’s first breeding season or even later. After our bull calves leave our weaning pens they are brought to the South Farm, our bull development facility. They are put into 40 to 50 acre pastures after sorting. We run 25 to 30 bulls in each trap in groups, which are sorted based on age and frame size. This keeps competition at a minimum and keeps groups uniform. The traps are laid out so that bulls have to travel between feed, water troughs, and shade to make sure they get plenty of exercise. Each pasture has a balance of summer and winter forage that is a mix of fescue and clover during the winter and bermuda along with a mix of native summer grass in the warm months. Along with ensuring ample grazing, feeding bulls is what we consider to be the next main component. Our bulls are developed on a forage-based
diet that is upwards of 30 percent bermuda grass hay, 40 percent wet brewers grain along with a small amount of corn, soy hull pellets and a mineral pack. This diet allows us to develop bulls that grow slowly, so that we don’t put too much fat on them and increase their chances of straining hocks. Or, ending up with fat deposits above their scrotum that heat up testicles and kill the sperm. When you turn out Town Creek Farm bulls with your cows, they aren’t going to melt away. Our bulls hold up and stay hard and mobile. We’ve had many customers comment on how Town Creek Farm bulls hold up during breeding season. The challenge to developing our bulls slowly, however, is our yearling EPDs are not at the top of the breed, but rightly so. You can push an animal for rapid growth and end up with big yearling numbers, or you can develop him into a rock solid bull that is ready to stand up to the duties for which he was developed. After our bulls reach a year of age, the protein percentage of their diets is dropped even more. Doing this really makes our bulls get out and graze and utilize the potential of their genetics. From yearling to sale time is a critical time for us to make additional culling decisions on bulls we feel haven’t performed with their contemporaries or who have developed any previously undetected structure issues. I ride or walk through each group of bulls almost every day on a horse, fourwheeler or just on foot looking for any issues such as a bad eye or a hoof problem. This gets them used to being handled and being around people. Any issues we find ranging from feet problems, to disposition, to not developing the way a bull should are all reasons to take a bull out of the program. Our bulls go through an extensive culling process for the benefit of our customers and to further strengthen our quality assurance. We strive to provide bulls that are functional, enduring and long-lived, and are a cash-added asset to your calf crop. We want you to be confident that your investment in a Town Creek Farm bull is a longlasting and wise investment.
THIS SPRING, 60 CATTLEMEN FROM LOUISIANA FARM BUREAU TOUR TOWN CREEK FARM. In 2015 the Louisiana Beef Industry added nearly 800 million dollars to the state’s economy. To keep the cattle business moving forward, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Livestock Advisory Committee takes farmers and ranchers on an annual tour of cattle operations in other states. Town Creek Farm customer, Marty Wooldridge, chairs the advisory committee. “Viewing progressive cattle operations educates and inspires our cattlemen,” says Marty. Cattlemen viewed fall and spring calving cows with calves at side along with sale bulls and grass management program. The day ended with a Town Creek Farm beef dinner.
TOWN CREEK FARM BULL, TCF RAPID REWARD 145Z3, WAS FEATURED ON THE COVER OF THE MAY 2016 BRANGUS JOURNAL. The unique opportunity to feature our herd sire on the cover presented itself from an auction benefiting the International Brangus Breeders Association Foundation. The powerful 145Z3 herd sire is rapidly becoming a heavy lifter in the Town Creek Farm herd. His dam, 145W3, has delivered the top calf to the weaning pens the past three seasons. She has another stemwinding heifer calf at her side now. Domestic and international semen will be available November 1, 2016. Horsemen riding up the hill in the background of the cover are Town Creek Farm staffers Magers Anderson, Clint Ladner and Michael Gunn.
IGNACIO LLANO, LEFT, OF PARAGUAY SPENT AN AFTERNOON TOURING TOWN CREEK FARM. Ignacio is a generational rancher who along with his family raise registered Brangus, Brahman and Angus cattle, Quarter Horses and Polo Horses. They own and operate a stockyard in Asuncion, Paraguay, a feedlot and semen collection facility. Additionally, they raise rice, other cash crops, and grow grain for their feedlot. Llano (left) is picture with Town Creek Farm’s Clint Ladner.
MILTON SUNDBECK WELCOMED UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN (R-MS) TRENT KELLY TO TOWN CREEK FARM. U.S. Representative Kelly represents Mississippi’s first district which includes Town Creek Farm, Clay County. Kelly serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee and Commodity, Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee. During his visit, Kelly learned more about a working seedstock cattle operation and discussed how potential and pending legislation could impact the cattle operations. Kelly is pictured with Town Creek Farm owner, Milton Sundbeck (right) and Joy Reznicek.
TOWN CREEK FARM RAISES STANDARDS FOR COMMERCIAL BRED HEIFER SALE. For those who have followed the history of our heifer sale, Cow Creek Ranch (CCR) began the sale in 1995. Cow Creek Ranch was the first in the Brangus breed to invite commercial bull customers to participate in a seedstock sale. The first year only open heifers sold. Then the bar was raised to selling only bred heifers, bred to Cow Creek Ranch bulls. Then, the bar went higher by allowing only heifers sired by, and bred back to, Cow Creek Ranch bulls. Town Creek Farm (TCF) now carries this sale forward. In our commitment to identifying additional ways to improve our product, effective 2018, all heifers sold in the Town Creek Farm sale will be least two generations of TCF/CCR genetics and will be bred to calve younger than 32 months of age. Town Creek Farm remains fully vested in the seedstock Brangus and Ultrablack business, no matter where the markets take us. This is another step in strengthening our Quality Assurance commitment. The power of amassed assets, kept intact and effectively managed, is almost always greater than smaller, individual portions.
– DR. DONALD JONOVIC, SUCCESSFUL FARMING
“I COULDN’T HAVE WISHED FOR A MORE IMPACTFUL AND POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FOR OUR INDIANA BEEF PRODUCERS,” said Ophelia Davis of the Purdue University Extension as she and her team led a group of 45 Indiana cattlemen on a tour of Town Creek Farm this spring. “You helped bring to reality the true meaning of ‘Southern Hospitality’ where strangers are just friends who haven’t yet met.” During the ranch visit, the group viewed Town Creek Farm’s fall and spring calving mature cow herds with calves at side, and Town Creek Farm sale bulls were displayed and discussed. Milton Sundbeck shared his experiences of building the forage foundation on the ranch as well as the pasture renovations to Tahoma Fescue and Sumrall 007 Bermuda grasses.