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Town Creek Farm Since 1993


Vo l u m e 4 , I s s u e 1 • 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 MILTON SUNDBECK

For the Want of Pounds BY JOY REZNICEK

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 662.494.5944 Joy Reznicek, President 205.399.0221 Clint Ladner 662.812.8370 Ron Flake 662.509.2233 South American Representative Ing. Agr. Federico Maisonnave (011) 595 981 362 898 Skype: federico.maisonnave Total Commitment



THERE IS A LOT OF CONVERSATION ABOUT TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE, AND MUCH OF IT IS CRITICAL. Talk about food has exploded. Who would have thought the very people who feed the world would have to defend their contributions and practices? Is it not enough that one farmer feeds 155 people? Beef health concerns have been an underlying thought in consumer’s minds for decades. Today, our perceived overuse of hormones and antibiotics, along with inhumane treatment of animals and carbon emissions have taken center stage. Let us not forget, resilience and the spirit of agriculture makes our country great. The unique strength of American agriculture and its people have prevailed more than 200 years. It’s how we recover from droughts, floods, snowstorms, pendulous beef prices, tightening margins, consumer challenges and government regulations, and it’s how we move forward. We live in extraordinary times and in times of extraordinary change. Change that is reshaping the way we do business, the way we live, and what we eat. Milton and I spoke with a longtime friend and employee of Matador Ranches of Texas at the NCBA convention in San Diego. James has worn many hats on the cattle side for Koch Industries (Matador Ranch owners) and proven his worth in every segment of the beef chain. Yet today, he and his staff spend every working hour managing human resources and government regulations for their agriculture divisions. Whether we like it or not, the pace of regulations and consumer oversight will only accelerate. At another gathering, we dined with two young female attorneys from New Jersey. I asked what was their biggest concern? One replied it was peer pressure to raise her child on organic food. The other said the environment. Perception has surpassed reality in many millennial economic classes. I want to focus on the next five to 10 years and beyond. What can we control that will take us into the future? Our beef industry has made amazing breakthroughs: DNA, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, ultrasound and so on. Yet there are two commonalities that bond every cow/calf producer; cows and land on which we run

them. It’s how, and with what, we stock our pastures that will determine our future. Since the downturn in cattle markets, chatter has turned to cow size moderation and reproductive efficiency. What were we thinking chasing pounds, writers imply? We’ve bred bigger cows that outweigh the resources of our land and have to be subsidized with dollars not generated by our cows. All for the want of pounds. It’s time to get back to business. What I will say is that we’ve known for decades that moderate cows with moderate milk and high fertility are most profitable. At Town Creek Farm, we’ve never lost sight of the responsibilities of our cows in good markets and in down markets. Cow Creek Ranch genetics made our living for more than 20 years without outside resources. We force our cows to work for us. It’s that simple. Town Creek Farm has taken these genetics and we continue to challenge and prove their value and genetic contributions. We force heifers to calve as two year olds. Those bigger framed heifers use their energy to grow, not to reach puberty or lay on estrogen-storing fat cover. Framier heifers typically eliminate themselves. Heifers that breed as yearlings, breed back at two-years-old and again at three-yearsold, will stay productive in our herd for more than a decade. Our cows work within our environment. We focus on providing winter forage with minimal winter supplements and hay. We’ve learned first hand that some genetics don’t fit our environment. It takes too much hay, too much forage and too much land to take them through the winter and beyond. Heifers and cows that lose calves, abort, or are palpated open are culled from our herd. We have a no exception rule. We can wean heavy calves without changing breeds and without selecting outliers for performance EPDs. Build a fertile cow herd with the majority calving in the first 30 days of the season. These kinds of cows will always wean your heaviest calves. They will leave you with heifer calves that have greater chances of breeding early, before their later born contemporaries.

Town Creek Farm Sees Powerful Demand for Brangus and Ultrablack Genetics TOWN CREEK FARM OWNER, MILTON SUNDBECK, AND HIS TEAM, WARMLY WELCOMED A CAPACITY CROWD OF CUSTOMERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY to the Town Creek Farm Bull Sale and Commercial Bred Heifer Sale, October 17, 2015. e Town Creek Farm program has established itself as a power producer of genetics that excels in real-world commercial ranching operations. More than 200 buyers, bidders and spectators from 10 states and the countries of Brazil and Paraguay, South America, traveled to appraise the Town Creek Farm offering. When the final gavel tap sounded, 150 Town Creek Farm bulls averaged $6672 and 263 customerowned commercial bred heifers averaged $2801. e sale grossed $1,737,350. e Town Creek Farm Commercial Bred Heifer Sale was a continuation of the 18-year running Cow Creek Ranch Commercial Bred Heifer Sale. e multi-generational, genetically tracked heifers commanded strong interest and demand from buyers. ese customer-owned heifers were offered by


Williamson Cattle Co., ranching in Faunsdale, Alabama, and Okeechobee, Florida, and an 18-year consignor to the Cow Creek Ranch Sale; River Oaks Farm, Searcy, Arkansas, 17-year consignor; 16-year consignor, CP Bar Ranch; 9-year consignor, Megehee Cattle Company, Macon, Mississippi; along with seven-year consignor, Montgomery Farms, Moulton, Alabama. Other consigners included B&B Farm, Linden, Alabama, three-year consignor; Reznicek Ranch, Aliceville, Alabama; and Longino Ranch, Sidell, Florida. Doak Lambert, Coppell, Texas, was the auctioneer.

CLIFF CODDINGTON, Longino ranch, AND HIS DAUGHTER, SAMANTHA, were among the volume bull buyers.

more than 200 buyers and bidders from 10 states and countries of Brazil and Paraguay enjoyed the sale.

Town Creek Farm Sale SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2016 • 12 NOON at the farm’s Town Creek Pavilion near West Point, Mississippi

160 Town Creek Farm Bulls Brangus and Ultrablack Bulls AND 250 COMMERCIAL BRANGUS BRED HEIFERS Powerful, practical, functional bulls developed on a high roughage forage-based ration. “Every year I’ve come to your sales, the bulls just keep getting better and better.” Comments from repeat Town Creek Farm bull customer. Town Creek Farm continues to raise its bar and demands of proving our program and genetics through quality assurance. Total Commitment

Since 1993

Quality Assurance always comes first.

Town Creek Farm

Milton Sundbeck, Owner Office 662.494.5944 • 32476 Hwy. 50 East, West Point, Mississippi 39773 Joy Reznicek 205.399.0221 • Clint Ladner 662.812.8370 • Ron Flake 662.509-2233

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Calving Out and Breeding Back First Calf Heifers Give what they need. Nothing more or nothing less. BY JEFF REZNICEK

SEASONED CATTLEMEN WILL TELL YOU ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS TO DO IS CALVE OUT, THEN BREED BACK A FIRST CALF HEIFER. In my previous article, I talked about conditioning virgin heifers to breed, and what it takes to make this happen. Now, I’m going to talk about getting these calves on the ground but, most importantly, breeding them back. So, you’ve palpated your virgin heifers and sorted off opens. You are left with a pasture full of bred heifers due to calve in six to seven months to a good, calving ease bull. You did it. You’re job is done, right? Actually, only the easy part is done. What you do next has a lot to do with your environment and calving season, spring, fall, etc., and body condition score (BCS) of your cattle. In my experience fall calving tends to be more problemfree, but breed back is more difficult since bulls are turned out as most of us are running out of grass and the weather is turning colder. On the other hand with spring calving (February 1st for us), calves are born in bare, muddy pastures, but bulls are turned out in lush pasture. We know if we get heifers bred as yearlings and then bred back for their second calf, that female will likely be in our herd for a long time. If you’ve done everything right and Mother Nature has been kind, no droughts, or long periods of wet cold weather, these girls can go out on good green pasture and hit calving season in stride with no added supplementation. This would be ideal. But, when do we ever deal with ideal situations in our business? So it’s still critical to keep checking body condition scores weekly. The majority of heifers need to go into calving season at BCS of five to six. Like our bred mature cows, I found this is an easy time to put weight on if needed. Biologically, Mother Nature knows that a female needs flesh going into calving and she makes it easy to do so. Always be aware of time. They aren’t going to calve as soon as they walk out of the palpation chute. They need to go into the calving season with a slow and steady growth. You want them to develop some good hard muscle along with a decent amount of fat. High quality forage with no supplement is ideal. Low quality forage or drought conditions means supplement with a by-product or add lick to the pasture. We’re still keeping that end product in mind; that sound fertile female that’s going to handle conditions and breed back every year. And, there still needs to be a certain amount of pressure on these girls to perform. Calving season has arrived and the first calf hits the ground. As soon

as this happens we’re looking at a completely different animal. What do we do now? Nutritional requirements can more than double. What we do next, and this is optimal, is move the pairs to another pasture as they calve and begin supplementing them. This may not be an option for some producers. In that case, I would begin supplementing the entire group at least a few weeks before calving begins. This could be just three to six pounds of a mixed grain byproduct (same feed you had them on as yearling heifers). At these levels you won’t affect calf size and it gives the early calvers a little boost to keep up with milk requirements. I like these types of feeds because they are not so hot that we have to worry about feeding too much if the weather gets bad and you have to up feed amounts (I have more options). It’s important to know your forage. If heifers are standing in lush fertilized rye grass, supplementation isn’t necessary. I would strongly recommend utilizing this type of forage after calves are on the ground and not before calving. Something we always try to do is have a forage pasture to turn pairs into 30 days prior to breeding. It saves on feed and cattle are just more likely to cycle if they’re grazing forage. During this entire time we give heifers what they need, nothing more or nothing less. We could do nothing and turn them in with the rest of our cowherd, but it might be hard to make a living on pregnancy rates that would result. We walk a fine line as to how much to supplement. We always pay attention to weather and environment, and we control what we can. We can’t control weather, but we can control genetics and nutrition. Put odds in your favor as best you can by using different management tools. For example, keep your young cattle separate from your mature herd until after they’ve had their second calf. Make calving season for these young females short and sweet (45-50 days and definitely not more than 60). Early calving heifers have more time to cycle and are more likely to breed back. Early weaning can be a tool, as well, if hay gets short and weather stays bad. Identify and feed your best hay to these young cattle until they begin calving. Get them to good pasture at least 30 days before turning bulls out. Keep a close eye on the herd while bulls are out (know what’s going on in pastures). Don’t get stuck in one type of management philosophy. Every year will be a little different and you need to be able to adjust.

11 Habits of High-Return Producers • Below average annual cow costs • Lower than average calf breakeven prices • Lower feed costs • Lower interest expense (less debt) • Lower general operating expense • Higher average weaning weights • Higher conception rates • More pounds weaned per cow exposed • High quality bulls with strong genetics • Preventative herd health programs • High-quality pasture (maintain nutritional requirement of the cow) SOURCE: CATTLE-FAX


Jefcoat Tops Mississippi Bred Heifer Sale with Cow Creek Genetics


South American Cattlemen Visit Town Creek Farm and Cow Creek Ranch “WE ALWAYS FEEL A KINSHIP TO OUR SOUTH AMERICAN VISITORS BECAUSE WE HAVE SIMILAR PRODUCTION PHILOSOPHIES, says Town Creek’s Milton Sundbeck. They understand our management styles and our commitment to forage production and raising beef on that forage. It’s always educational hearing how they do the same thing in their countries as we do here, yet have different management techniques to accomplish the same goals.” Town Creek Farm is honored to carry on the relationships and goodwill developed by Cow Creek Ranch with cattlemen in all countries of South America.

LONG TIME TOWN CREEK FARM AND COW CREEK RANCH CUSTOMER, MAJOR D. JEFCOAT, ELLIS, MISSISSIPPI, consigned the high selling set of bred heifers at the 14th Annual Southern Producers Replacement Heifer Sale in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, last fall. Jefcoat marketed 19 heifers for an average of $3300 per head. Jefcoat, a veteran, is a familiar face among the Town Creek Farm community and has been a customer for a decade. He continues to sell heifers at the top end of the highly competitive, top quality Southern Producers Replacement Sale. Our congratulations to Major Jefcoat for taking Cow Creek genetics to the top level.

REMEMBERING THE WORDS OF A LEGEND. ROY WALLACE, SELECT SIRES, WAS A LEADER AND VISIONARY IN THE BEEF BUSINESS. HIS WISDOM AND PRESENCE ARE MISSED. IN 2001 I HEARD HIM SPEAK. THESE COMMENTS STILL RING TRUE TODAY. “Seventy percent of the energy requirements of beef production are used for maintenance; 70 percent of the energy used for maintenance goes to the cow herd; therefore, 50 percent of the energy required for beef production is used for cow maintenance, Roy said. Cows may vary as much as 35 percent in their maintenance metabolism. Bigger cattle require more energy. When you select for growth, you get a bigger cow.” Roy continued, “Large differences in reproduction have a profound impact on cow efficiency and tend to over ride all other factors such as calf weight, feed intake, etc.”

Hotel Information for Town Creek Farm Sale, October 15, 2016. It’s not too early to make hotel reservations for the Town Creek Farm Sale, October 15, 2016. Be sure to ask for Town Creek Farm’s special rates. HAMPTON INN AND SUITES 1281 Hwy 45 Alt South West Point, Mississippi 39773 • 662-494-7802 Located near the Mossy Oak Outlet on Highway 45 Alt South. $105 King, Queen, Standard - $115 King Studio THE HYATT PLACE 101 Hospital Drive Extended Columbus, Mississippi 39701 • 662-370-1800 Located just off Highway 45 North behind Longhorn Steakhouse $99 Single or Double Please contact the hotels directly, or contact Roxanne Spurgin at or 205-799-6121 for assistance.


TOWN CREEK FARM IS ALWAYS GRATEFUL FOR THE HELP WE RECEIVE DURING OUR ANNUAL SALE FROM THE MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY (MSU) LIVESTOCK JUDGING TEAM . MSU Judging Team Coach Brett Crow said, “It is a great honor to continue to be allowed to help with this first-class event. We have no bigger supporter than Town Creek Farm. The donation you made to our program is one that was very generous, and its impact is definitely felt by each student. It is because of donations like yours that we are able to help students with meal expenses while traveling to judging contests. Being a part of a judging team is the practical application of everything our department teaches and is often the one thing that encourages students to become involved in production. Every student on our team knows that Town Creek Farm makes what we do possible, and I can assure you that they are as genuinely grateful as I am.” Town Creek Farm is always willing to empower young people and to provide opportunities for them to develop the competencies they need to become successful contributing members of the agricultural world. We believe youth and collegiate livestock judging team participation may be one of the most effective strategies for providing young people with opportunities to develop reasoning and decision making skills, confidence and livestock phenotype knowledge.

"The Grit" Winter 2016 Newsletter  

Enjoy Town Creek Farm's newsletter featuring information and news of our Registered Brangus and Ultrablack Seedstock operation.

"The Grit" Winter 2016 Newsletter  

Enjoy Town Creek Farm's newsletter featuring information and news of our Registered Brangus and Ultrablack Seedstock operation.