The Grit - Spring/Summer 2020

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Town Creek Farm Since 1993


Vo l u m e 8 , 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 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 Joy Reznicek Sundbeck, President 205.399.0221 Clint Ladner, Bull Development 662.812.8370 Cody Glenn, Herdsman 601.508.8689 Anne Sutherland, Quarter Horses 662.295.6144 South American Representative Ing. Agr. Federico Maisonnave (011) 595 981 362 898 TOTAL COMMITMENT


Texas winds blew away rich topsoil and left land much less productive, which added injury to insult. Entire livelihoods were contingent on the chance of a wet year or a dry year, and of who stood and who fell. Agriculture has come to know droughts as its biggest enemy, something we can’t control. My 95-year-old father has ranched in Texas all his life. Not long after reading Kelton’s book, I asked him about droughts he had lived through. I was familiar with a recent 10-year drought, which included years 2010 to 2011, the hottest, driest one-year period ever recorded in Texas. But, had little knowledge of the impact of the 1950s drought on our family ranch operations. “I can’t say that one drought has been worse than another,” my dad said. “None of them have been good, but, we have been better prepared for our more recent droughts. During the drought of the 1950s, we couldn’t get water to our cattle. Now we have more efficient and better ways for livestock to access water.” I hadn’t thought much of that conversation until this spring. Milton and I were listening to Minute with Maxwell. “It is our decisions, not our conditions, that determine the quality of our life,” John Maxwell stated. “Conditions are often out of our control. We can’t control the weather. Conditions are beyond us. Decisions are always in our control. One decides to be the victim or one decides to be the victor. Life rewards action. Doubts cause hesitation.” That minute from Maxwell was instigated by Covid-19. Coronavirus came on with overwhelming speed and scale and without warning of its devastation to both human life and to livelihoods. Talking with cattlemen, I sense the current conditions of Coronavirus have brought hesitation in decision-making. If we are not mindful, and delay or postpone decisions that positively affect the long-term viability of our herds, our future will be dictated by conditions we cannot control. Good Bulls Let’s start with genetics. My guess is that most cattlemen assume they will always have buyers for beef cattle at some price level. Not necessarily so. Pre-Covid-19, I was hearing stories of poor quality cattle going through auction barns in our region who had no active bidders. Sale barn owners quietly took ownership of those cattle and worked to get them sold elsewhere, often at a loss. Remember, I said this

occurred pre-Covid-19. If beef exports and internal beef consumption drops, post-Covid-19, sale barn owners may not be willing or able to take ownership of and trade poor quality cattle. Do not underscore the need to continue to make sound genetic decisions. Investing in herd bull power out of cows that are moderate frame, easy fleshing, low-input and fit your environment will position you for success in an unknown future. Town Creek Farm propagates genetics that balance maternal ability, fertility, survivability, growth and carcass traits. These genetics bring along forage efficiency and thriftiness, bonuses that reduce input costs of your cowherd long after your herd bulls are replaced. Uncertainty means that buyers, now more than ever, will seek out quality calves that perform to lower their risks. It takes good bulls from proven programs to produce valuable cattle that are relevant and competitive in the markets. Sound Management Decisions Are Still Free Many decisions we make in our business don’t cost money, only time and effort. As I have become more refined in developing framework for success in our businesses and of employees, my eyes and ears are more attune to delay of action and then rationalizing the delay. Neither behavior is favorable to production agriculture as timing is its driver to success. At times while speaking with cattlemen I hear statements like, “We didn’t have time to get the bulls out of the cows this spring. We should have, but just had a lot going on.” That decision or inaction, which doesn’t cost money, has farreaching effects from calf uniformity, to timing calves to vaccinate, to identifying unproductive cows, to future efforts to rework your cowherd to get back to a shorter calving season. To further this point, Milton says with regularity, “In the cattle business you must accomplish something every day you wake up, or this business will overtake you.” Let’s make sure our free decisions are not met with delay or inaction. That costs us money down the road. Life rewards action, not procrastination. Different World A system that took centuries to build was jolted and modified in a matter of months. Our well-oiled machine is broke. No doubt, the shock and abruptness of this pandemic has made the cattle business less predictable, particularly in the short term. For years, we’ve traveled the country evaluating our genetics used in commercial cowherds across the Southern tier of the U.S. We’re confident that Town Creek Farm genetics and sound management decisions make a difference.

Beef Improvement Federation Names Town Creek Farm National Award Finalist THE BEEF IMPROVEMENT FEDERATION (BIF) ANNOUNCED FINALISTS FOR ITS SEEDSTOCK AND COMMERCIAL PRODUCER AWARDS ON FRIDAY, MAY 22. Both developed in 1972, the Seedstock Producer

with Neogen and the University of Florida, a DNA product was developed to identify the percent Bos indicus in cattle, resulting in Town Creek Farm introducing and trademarking VigorMax™ and TruVigor™ cattle. Town Creek Farm was nominated by the Mississippi Award recognizes outstanding seedstock producers across the nation while the Commercial Producer Award recognizes commercial producers Beef Cattle Improvement Association. Beef Improvement Federation has, since its inception, for their dedication to worked tirelessly on behalf improving the beef of beef producers to help industry at the them improve the genetic commercial level. quality of their cattle. Town Creek Farm, Without a doubt, BIF has West Point, Mississippi, played a critical role in is a Brangus seedstock that accomplishment. operation founded in While science and 1993. The cow herd technology are critically consists of 500 Brangus important, learning by and Ultrablack cows; 90 watching others has Brahman, three-quarter always been an important Brahman and Vigormax™ part of the educational cows; and 250 process. That’s why BIF commercial Brangus has recognized the best of cows. The operation has the best through its a strong international Seedstock and Commercial business, marketing live Producer of the Year animals, semen and TOWN CREEK FARM CREW (from left to right) – Maggie Loftin, Intern; Clint Ladner, Bull Development Manager; Jim awards. Beef magazine has embryos into Australia, Brown, Farm Manager; Joy Reznicek Sundbeck, President; Cody Glenn, Cow Herd Manager; Milton Sundbeck, Owner; sponsored the award for Brazil, Paraguay and Corey White, Cow Creek Ranch Cow Herd Manager; Antonio Pierce, Bull Feeding; Anne Sutherland, Quarter Horse many years. Thailand.In collaboration Manager and Administration; and Brice Allsup, Cow Creek Ranch Manager.

Larger Ribeyes and More Marbling BY CLINT LADNER, BULL DEVELOPEMENT MANAGER March 18th. They AS ANOTHER SUMMER COMES UPON US, WE WANT TO PROVIDE AN UPDATE ON THE TOWN CREEK FARM BULL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. certainly impressed. Ultrasound averages in Currently, we are developing approximately 75 Fall 2018 born both our bull and heifer bulls and 75 Spring 2019 born bulls to be marketed on October groups were numbers 17, 2020. that all breeders across Our offering of Fall 2018 born bulls includes Brangus, the country look to Ultrablack, and VigorMax™ Half-Blood bulls. We are particularly pleased with how this group of bulls have matured and grown. Dr. achieve. When we raise bulls and heifers that Mike Pallone semen tested them in February 2020. This initial scan over seven percent semen check allows us to eliminate defective bulls early in on IMF, it’s hard not to development. Dr. Pallone noted that he was extremely pleased Three-Quarter Blood Bull, 442G, (3/4 Brahman, be proud of our genetic 1/4 Angus) posted impressive marbling and REA/cwt. with the feet and legs and soundness of the bulls. progress. On average, Much thought and exercise goes into making sure we provide scans in our March 2020 ultrasound session. our bulls had larger customers with bulls that hold together and remain sound for a ribeye areas per hundred weight and long time. We examine feet on every bull in development. Bulls higher intramuscular marbling with undesirable hooves and claw sets are sold for (IMF) than we’ve previously slaughter. Every cow (dams of bulls selling) recorded. at Town Creek Farm is foot scored. Even though we are gratified with Undesirable cows are culled from our herd results we are seeing, we know our job so as not to pass those genetics to progeny. is never complete. We must keep Hoof and claw set evaluation is rarely done pushing forward to grow animals that on dams of breeding bulls offered for sale. are more efficient and cattle that can do With a plentiful amount of rain this more on less. This is where our spring, we have an abundance of forage. breeding-up to Brangus program Grass, coupled with the fact that we are comes in to play. We are five years producing more feed efficient bulls, into our project to produce new has permitted us to take groups of Brangus genetic lines that provide bulls completely off feed. This additional heterosis, strong allows us to let bulls grow slowly 8987F sells on Saturday, October 17, 2020. maternal traits and inherent growth. and easily so when bulls are sold, taken As many know, the past couple of home and put on cows, they are hard and years we have marketed VigorMax™ Half-Blood bulls in our fall will hold their condition. As we get closer to sale day and summer grass plays out, we will move these bulls back to our haylage-based sale. The female herd mates to those bulls are in production total mixed ration (TMR) to have them ready for breeding seasons producing Three-Quarter Brahman calves. For the first time this fall we will offer Three-Quarter Blood for our customers. bulls and full Brahman bulls along with Brangus, Ultrablack and Our Spring bulls always surprise me each year. They are VigorMax™ Half-Blood bulls. Our offering gives customers options weaned in the fall, branded and then go right into development to choose proven, sound genetics of varying Brahman content. pastures. Then we ask them to go through a hard, and typically wet, winter. They are expected to gain weight and put on condition Bulls are developed to be long lasting and to sire fertile, efficient, replacement females that will poduce money making trouble-free so they are in optimal state for yearling ultrasound. calves for years to come. This year we ultrasounded our 2019 Spring born bulls on


within three days of the A.I. calves,” says Cliff. These heifers went past synchronized ovulation time by almost 72 hours before they actually exhibited heats. Maybe the critical question should be, are they mature enough to “It was crazy. We watched those heifers,” Cliff recalls. “I knew if conceive? Many producers continually search for more reliable ways to they weren’t in heat at timed A.I. and came in heat three days later, the select replacements heifers and to understand A.I. breeding wasn’t going to take. If we would have waited seven or which ones will breed. Town Creek Farm eight days to put out bulls, we would have missed all those heats.” heifer consignor and 30-year bull Scientists concluded that a strategy to service by A.I. only heifers customer, Cliff Coddington of Longino showing heats, and then to bull breed no-heat responders, would lower Ranch in Florida and his heifer costs associated with synchronization programs. The studies development partners, Logan and Jessie demonstrated that fertility of no-heat responders to synchronized Perry, set out to find such ways. The two ovulation is very low. A.I. to a detected estrus remains the cornerstone collaborated with scientists from the to success in reproductive management programs. University of Florida (UF). Cliff witnessed MATURE AND PREPUBICAL HEIFERS enough differences from the studies to UF scientists determined sexual maturity of all study heifers prior makes some changes in his heifer breeding to breeding. They performed Reproductive Track Scores (RTS) by protocols. ovarian ultrasonography and rectal palpation of uterine horns. Scores “The initial goal was to get heifers were ranked from 1, immature, through 5, cycling. Heifers were sorted by RTS. Scores of 1 to 3, considered immature or prepubertal, and Cliff Coddington, Longino Ranch, Inc. cycling at least once before A.I. began,” Cliff says. “The next heat after the first scores 4 and 5, heifers who had reached puberty. is a more fertile heat.” Having all heifers cycling prior to breeding Did the heavier heifers have higher Reproductive Tract Scores? increases likelihoods of conception during breeding season, “Not necessarily,” says Cliff. “When we began particularly early season conception. synchronizing the second group, the heifers Reaching puberty occurs when there is a measureable increase in weighed between 590 and 700 pounds. They progesterone. It is not an acute event, but rather a chronic event and were light – more than 100 pounds difference in occurs over a few months as heifers mature and reach hormone weight. We were pushing them and they were concentrations that trigger initiation of heat cycles. Exposure to the on a consistent gaining process.” hormone, progesterone, stimulates estrus cycles. Both studies used Heifers estrus synchronization protocols that included progesterone to jumpclassified as start heifers to start cycle particularly for those who have not done it mature (4 and 5 on their own. RTS) had greater OBSERVED HEATS pregnancy per University of Florida animal scientists used several methods to induce A.I. service puberty and improve fertility. In both study groups, scientists inserted (51%) than CIDR–progesterone vaginal inserts commonly used in estrus those synchronization protocols. One study used both CIDR inserts and prepubertal supplementation of progesterone by feeding progestin, called (1-3 RTS) melengestrol acetate (MGA), in feed rations. Heifer developers - Logan and Jessie Perry, with their daughter, Ella. heifers In both studies heifers were bred by A.I. on observed heats. In the (10.3%). first study, heifers not exhibiting heats were timed A.I.’d (TAI) on However, at pregnancy check that occurred 42 days post A.I., the synchronized ovulations. In the second study, heifers that showed no majority of the open heifers (88%) had reached puberty, which means heats at time of synchronized ovulation were put in with bulls for they are likely to become pregnant within the ongoing breeding natural service. season. This indicates heifers will likely get bred by pasture bulls and Not surprising, results from both studies concluded that when may become pregnant later in the breeding season. breeding heifers, heat behavior is the best predictor of fertility to Studies concluded that enrollment of immature heifers in an synchronization programs. Heifers showing heats when bred by A.I. estrus synchronization protocol can hasten puberty, favoring posted 41 and 45 percent pregnancy rates in respective studies. reproductive performance of heifers along in the breeding season. “But, Cliff says, when we A.I.’d heifers that had not shown heats on “Producers can potentially improve conception rates in heifers by synchronized times in the first study, we were only getting 10 or 11 15 to 20 percent by using the RTS system three to four weeks prior to percent of heifers bred. For us, that’s a waste of time and cost of semen breeding. A veterinarian can assess several hundred heifers in a day at to A.I. those heifers.” So, in the second study Cliff did not A.I. heifers a cost likely to be between $3-$5/head,” says Robert A. Cushman, a without observed heats. Instead, he put those heifers right out with research physiologist in reproduction at USDA’s Meat Animal Research bulls. Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. “The day of the TAI we separated out heifers that didn’t show heats, For additional information on this study, please contact Cliff put on heat patches and sent them out with bulls,” Cliff says. “Within Coddington at (941)737-7859. three days they had all been bred by bulls. The calves will be born – Joy Reznicek Sundbeck

TOWN CREEK FARM COMMERCIAL BRED HEIFER SALE CONSIGNMENTS DUE JULY 1, 2020. The 2020 Town Creek Farm Commercial Brangus Bred Heifer Sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 17, 2020. This year marks the 23rd year of the sale’s existence. Demand for Town Creek Farm commercial bred heifers have experienced tremendous growth thanks to the efforts and genetic improvements made by our customer consignors. Providing accessible marketing opportunities for Town Creek Farm genetics is a proven benefit for our customers. The Town Creek Farm

Commercial Bred Heifer Sale provides an opportunity for Town Creek Farm customers to add value to heifers through our unique marketing channel. Heifers marketed must be at least second-generation Town Creek Farm heifers bred back to Town Creek Farm bulls. All heifers must be bred to calve at 32 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

Town Creek Farm Sale Set for 12 Noon on Saturday, October 17, 2020 MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE TOWN CREEK FARM 150-HEAD BULL SALE AND 250-HEAD COMMERCIAL BRED HEIFER SALE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2020, AT 12 NOON AT THE RANCH. Join us for the unique opportunity to choose from a selection Brangus to Ultrablack, VigorMax™ to Three-Quarter Bloods and Brahman bulls which gives buyers options to choose proven, sound genetics of varying Brahman percentage. A large number of full Brangus bull 14F21 will sell on October 17th. two-year old bulls sell.

Town Creek Farm Team Members Earn Beef Industry Leadership Positions CLINT LADNER WAS ELECTED AS VICE PRESIDENT OF MISSISSIPPI CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION AT ITS ANNUAL MEETING IN MARCH IN STARKVILLE, MISSISSIPPI. Clint joined the Town Creek Farm team in 2013. He manages bull development and has a key role in the Town Creek Farm marketing program. Clint has been actively involved in the cattle industry his entire life. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University in Agricultural Economics with a minor in Animal Science. Clint was also selected to participate in the 2020-2021 class of The King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management “Excellence in Ag Leadership Program.” This is a special opportunity for young cattlemen to enhance leadership skills, network with industry leaders and to become effective leaders of the beef industry. Joy Reznicek Sundbeck was recently elected to the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Board of Directors. Founded in 1968, BIF is an organization dedicated to advancing and coordinating all segments of the beef industry. From the start, the BIF sought to connect science and industry to improve beef cattle genetics. One of the first projects of the BIF was to develop a way of standardizing all performance records across beef cattle breeds both nationally and internationally. The result of the project is the modern day Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) system, a tool the beef industry relies heavily on today.

Reznicek and Sundbeck Wed JOY REZNICEK AND MILTON SUNDBECK ARE EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THEIR MARRIAGE ON MAY 23, 2020, AT ANNUNCIATION CATHOLIC CHURCH IN COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI. “Joy and I are grateful and excited about our future together, says Milton, and of the possibilities that we can achieve together in our ranching and seedstock businesses.” Town Creek Farm and Cow Creek Ranch will both continue their ranching traditions while working as one team with one vision. “We intend to take the traditions of Town Creek Farm and Cow Creek Ranch forward into the future by growing our opportunities, and serving our customers and employees,” Milton says. “We are respectful of and grateful for all the people who brought us here and continue to be influential in our lives.” Milton and Joy Sundbeck

GRATITUDE “Gratitude, I’ve come to learn, is one of the most important parts of becoming a whole person and building a life of significance. Gratitude requires wisdom to recognize the roles of others. It requires humility to admit you couldn’t have done it alone. It requires strength to be able to give part of yourself back to someone and know there is still enough of you left to thrive. It requires inner peace to be able to say, what you did for me helped create a life I am glad to call mine. “ – From the book “You are Worth It,” by Kyle Carpenter, the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor in history, but what earned him the medal was his brave decision to dive on an enemy grenade that landed between him and his best friend during a mission in Marjah, Afghanistan in November 2010. Kyle spent many years of his young life in Mississippi and South Carolina where his father was an exeutive in the poultry industry.

Town Creek Farm Genetics Successfully at Work in Customer Herds GLENN AND RODNEY ROGERS, OCOEE, FLORIDA (TOP RIGHT) The father-son team has been using Town Creek Farm genetics for more than a decade. They purchased this ripped Rapid Reward son, 9733D5, in our 2017 sale. Rodney captured this picture as they were driving him to the breeding pasture. JOE SELLERS, BAR S CATTLE, HOPE HULL, FLORIDA (BELOW) Joe Sellers added two Town Creek Farm bulls to his program in our 2018 sale.

Joe captured this picture of Lot 98 “Buckshot” grazing with pairs on Gulf ryegrass. LYNN AND DANA WHITE, MONTEREY, LOUISIANA (BOTTOM RIGHT) The Whites are longstanding bull production partners and always raise a powerful set of bulls. This bull calf is sired by TCF Sleep Easy 145E2. We love to see a dam in this body condition while nursing a big strapping bull calf.