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Town Creek Farm Since 1993


Vo l u m e 7 , 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

Things We Can’t See 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 39773-5207 662.494.5944 www.TownCreekFarm.com Joy Reznicek, President 205.399.0221 Joy@TownCreekFarm.com Clint Ladner, Bull Development 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


both through purposeful selection pressure toward Angus phenotypes, and a shift to Ultrablack cattle by breeding an Angus to a Brangus. The problem has been exacerbated by a recently introduced system of breeding up to Brangus with Ultrablacks. Phenotypic selection biases and adding Angus content to Brangus has enabled registered Brangus breeders to improve carcass, growth, early puberty, and fertility traits in their cowherds. This bent, however, has diminished heat tolerance, longevity, adaptability, production efficiency, heterosis and other critical traits that make Brangus sired replacement heifers so effective in the Southern tier of the United States. In the 1990s, Joe Reznicek and Cow Creek Ranch recognized potential benefits of imparting a high percent of Angus into heavily Brahman influenced native-type Florida cowherds. Understanding straight Angus bulls would not hold up in Florida, Cow Creek Ranch bred Brangus to Angus and named them Ultrablacks. Retaining 3/16th Brahman content was important to survivability and heat tolerance of Ultrablack bulls, but it was Angus blood that helped remodeled Florida cowherds. Crossbreeding took hold in the 1960s and 1970s with the introduction of Continental breeds such as Charolais and Simmental, which were crossed with traditional English or Taurus breeds. Weaning weights increased dramatically with first crosses. Other breeds were added to the crossbreeding mix over time. Benefits of heterosis were experienced from coast to coast. Crossbred cattle gradually fell out of favor over the last 15 to 20 years as programs like Certified Angus Beef and other value-added premium carcass programs were established. The use of Angus bulls in commercial beef herds increased significantly providing both carcass and maternal advantages. In fact, subtle trends toward black-hided, uniform cattle transformed commercial crossbred cowherds to straight-bred cowherds. At the beginning of this movement, and depending on your starting point, massive numbers of crossbred cows, many native cows to specific environments but too colorful and inconsistent, demanded purebred bulls that would sire calves with consistency, predictability and a preferable black hair coat to fit value-added programs.

Maternal crossbreeding also gave rise to a significant increase in the use of Brangus bulls in the Southern one-third of United States. Brangus bulls check all the maternal boxes needed to develop predictable, adaptable and fertile straight breed cowherds: heat tolerance, mothering ability, black hair coat and polled with built-in heterosis. Many traits are influenced by Brahman blood, including tolerance of endophyte in Kentucky 31 fescue. Along the way though, Brangus breeders lost focus of critical roles that Brahman influence plays in longevity, heat tolerance, slick hair, mothering ability, disease and tick resistance, and heterosis. Many of these traits are difficult to see and can only be realized over time. We can eyeball underlines, sheath designs, scurs, hair coat color and phenotype. Yet, longevity and fertility can only be discovered over the life of a female. Often things we can’t see provide great value. In a conversation with a customer who bought and used hundreds of Brangus bulls, he stated to me that I should never forget that the reason cattlemen use Brangus bulls is to raise replacement females. This statement has never left my mind. Nine years ago we started seeing a tipping point, too much Angus influence in our own Brangus cowherd and its regressive genetic affects. From then until now we’ve made many changes in how we breed, and how we think about our responsibility of breeding Brangus cattle. Our observations were stimulus to start a program of developing large numbers of first generation Brangus cattle through in vitro fertilization using the traditional method of two breeding’s with Brahman and two breeding’s of Angus. Our plan is do this on a continuous basis. Sons of first generation 3/8-5/8 bulls offer our customers Brangus bulls that will pass along heterosis and retained heterosis. Science tells us that heterosis is maintained in subsequent generations of crosses, after the first cross in composite breeds like Brangus. Practical application tells us that added Angus content in Brangus cattle does not produce hybrid vigor and dilutes some relevant traits that could jeopardize our prominence as a maternal beef breed. For 30 years Town Creek Farm and Cow Creek Ranch have practiced disciplined longterm breeding programs focused on maternal traits. We prioritized fertility, longevity, moderate size (stocking rate), udder quality, and adaptability (survivability) as fundamental factors to profit as it relates to genetics and selection pressure. Maybe it’s time we all go back to the eye doctor.

Town Creek Farm Program Attracts Buyers to Sale from12 States, Thailand and South America RANCHERS AND CATTLEMEN FROM THE SOUTHERN TIER OF THE U.S. IMPARTED A RESOUNDING ENDORSEMENT OF THE TOWN CREEK FARM SALE OFFERING ON OCTOBER 20, 2018. Owner Milton Sundbeck welcomed nearly 200 buyers and bidders from 12 states, Paraguay, South America, and ailand, Asia, who appraised the Town Creek Farm sale offering. Active, steady bidding and consistent pricing from start to finish set the cadence of the sale. When the gavel fell, 134 Town Creek Farm bulls averaged $5108 and 244 customer-owned commercial bred heifers averaged $2000. e sale grossed $1,172,325. roughout the weekend cattlemen described the bull offering as powerful, extremely uniform and consistent from pen to pen. “You could buy any bull here today and you would advance your program,” said one Florida cattleman. is acknowledgement comes in large part because of Town Creek Farm’s dedication to breeding innovation and its approach to practical and profitable genetics. Town Creek Farm has established itself as a breeder of functional, fertile, heat and humidity tolerant genetics that perform and last in real-world commercial ranching operations. e top selling Brangus bull earned a price tag of $12,000. Lot 51, TCF Rapid Reward 732D2, a powerfully made, big volume bull had a tremendous amount of admirers who appreciated his performance numbers and overall substance. e bull was sired by TCF Rapid Reward 145Z3 and posted a 1550 pound sale day weight. Williams Ranch Co. of Floresville, Texas, had the final bid on this full two-yearold bull. Repeat customer, Dollar Farms of Bainbridge, GA, took home the top selling Ultrablack bull, TCF Ultrablack 9203D, at $10,000. is bull is thick, clean-underlined, deep-sided and powerfully muscled from front to rear. He is a two-year-old “user friendly” bull with a 44cm. scrotal. Dollar Farms consistently identifies and purchases top Town Creek Farm bulls for their commercial cattle operation. Bidding turned red hot when 20 TruVigor™ Half-Bloods (Brahman x Angus) bull lots sold. Every TruVigor™ bull is a product of embryo transfer, which gave buyers an opportunity to buy full sibs representing renowned Kempfer Brahman genetics on the bottom side and proven Angus sires on the top of their pedigrees. Texas cattlemen from Williams Ranch Co. took home the top TruVigor™


bull, Lot 69, TCF Ten X 453E6, for $11,500. is bull excelled in every economically relevant trait from performance, to carcass, to phenotype. e volume bull buyers were repeat customers Triple S Ranch of Florida and Smoak Groves of Florida. e commercial bred heifer portion of the sale showed tremendous demand and strength from beginning to end. Second generation Town Creek Farm sourced heifers who were bred back to Town Creek Farm bulls were among the highest quality heifers ever offered at the ranch from top to bottom. Customer-owned heifers were offered by Williamson Cattle Company of Florida and Alabama, a 21-year sale consignor; River Oaks Farm, Arkansas, 20-year consignor; 19-year consignor, CP Bar Brangus, Mississippi; 14-year consignor, Megehee Cattle Company, also of Mississippi; along with 10-year consignor, Montgomery Farms, Alabama; six-year consignor, B&B Farm, Alabama; four-year consignor Longino Ranch of Florida; three-year participants Lowell Dollar Farms of Georgia; and Drawdy Brothers of Florida.

134 Town Creek Farm Bulls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Avg. $5108 20 VigorMax™ Half-Blood Bulls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Avg. $6075 244 Customer-Owned Brangus Commercial Bred Heifers . . . . . . . . . .Avg. $2000




TCF RAPID REWARD 145Z3 R10243006 DDF DOB: 9/21/2012 Sire: BRB RapidReward 99W11 Commercial and Registered Semen Available

Total Commitment

Since 1993

TCF INTEGRITY 13C R10304130 DDF DOB: 1/12/2015 Sire: CCR Integrity 355S4 Commercial and Registered Semen Available



TCF INTEGRITY 4861A3 R10231918 DDF DOB: 2/3/2013 Sire: CCR Integrity 355S4 Commercial and Registered Semen Available

FOR SALE INFORMATION or SEMEN SALES CONTACT: Joy Reznicek 205.399.0221 • Joy@TownCreekFarm.com Clint Ladner 662.812.8370 • Clint@TownCreekFarm.com www.TownCreekFarm.com

Genetics and Weather Contribute to Eight Percent Death Loss WHEN ERIC SMITH FIRST STARTED BACKGROUNDING STOCKER CATTLE 30 YEARS AGO, HE EXPECTED A TWO PERCENT DEATH LOSS. “IN TODAY’S WORLD, IF YOU KEEP DEATH LOSS DOWN TO FIVE TO SIX PERCENT WITH HIGH-RISK CATTLE YOU’VE DONE A PRETTY GOOD JOB. CATTLE WERE HARDIER 10 AND 20 YEARS AGO. Six percent loss has become the new two percent,” says Alabama cattleman Eric Smith who leads XTRA Ranch as owner and Chief Executive Officer. Eric is past president of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, past executive committee member of the U.S. Beef Promotion and Research Board, and past long range planning committee member for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Eric recalls the grueling block of time that cost him eight percent death loss in his stocker calf inventory. “My wreck centered around respiratory issues and the fact that there wasn’t much immunity built up in these calves,” says Eric. “We had owned this set of calves for some time, more than 21 days. It was one of those weekends when it was super humid. Water was at one end of the pasture and shade was at the other. is was true for several of our pastures,” says Eric. “When the calves went to shade they had a fever. e longer calves stayed in the shade, the more they dehydrated. By the time we got to them, they were dehydrated enough that we couldn’t do anything from a medical standpoint to get them back on their feet,” Eric recalls. At that point Eric had three or four problems coming at him. e calves got sick. en they had fever. ey became dehydrated. en they couldn’t recover. ey couldn’t eat and Eric couldn’t hydrate them. So, all of the sudden, everywhere he looked, it was a wreck. “e worst part of it was pretty unique to one weekend. It all started with a mild case of an IBR or Pasteurella, then it was exacerbated by the fact that they became dehydrated,” says Eric. Eric explained that two or three things happened with that set of calves. “Cattle are probably genetically weaker than they have been in the past. Cowherds have improved and improved and improved, but they haven’t always improved from a health standpoint; they were improved from a trait standpoint. Someone selected a single trait and improved that trait. But, general overall hardiness was not considered. I think this is an on-going problem,” says Eric. “We’ve bred a lot of the cross out of cattle. We don’t see many crossbred calves anymore. ey are mostly Angus and they don’t have the health-fighting abilities of crossbred calves.” Weather was also a factor. “e weather that summer was particularly challenging because it was so humid,” says Eric. “en we never got a weather break during September and October when temperatures should have moderated. It just stayed ungodly humid. Most times you get to October and it’s really dry and dusty with high day temperatures and low nighttime temperatures. It wasn’t that way this year. Cattle got sick early.” Eric believes we are trapped into the idea that we have to throw a lot of antibiotics in calves. “I’ve been in situations where everything is antibiotics and dewormers; you can’t grow calves on that. You’ve got to get them nutrition. Antibiotics probably upset rumens. So now cattle don’t eat. So if they are not eating, they are not recovering. You are trying to do something to help them, but you put yourself in a bad position,” says Eric. “I’ve reverted back to some treatments we used to do, not antibiotic wise, but treatments with boluses and sulfurs. We seem to have pretty good results.”

ROLE GENETICS PLAY IN CALF HEALTH In Eric’s mind, genetics are a contributing factor in increased death losses at both stocker levels as well as in feedlots. Deaths in feedyards have increased significantly in the last 12 years and most of the increase has occurred in the last five to six years, according to research conducted by Professional Cattle Consultants. “Straight-bred Angus-type cattle are just not as hardy as crossbred cattle. ey are less heat and humidity tolerant and not near as resistant and thrifty. We’ve bred the hardiness out of cattle,” says Eric. “In the summer time the Angus-type cattle are difficult to manage because we are limited by shade. e calves have probably been in fescue. ey have a little hair on them and they have to have some shade or they are not going to make it at all.”

ON RANCH MANAGEMENT “If a calf hasn’t been castrated, you can be pretty sure he hasn’t been vaccinated,” Eric says. He still sees a lot of uncastrated calves because they aren’t discounted enough. On lightweight calves, often times bull calves will bring within a dollar of steers. Without financial incentives, people believe it’s just as well to leave them as bulls and

not do anything. ey wean off calves in the 400 pounds range and away they go. In the Southeast Eric deals with calves that come out of small herds. at, too, presents challenges for buyers. “When we get calves from small farms and co-mingle them, it’s just like sixyear-olds going to kindergarten,” says Eric. “ey catch everything. ey lick on other. ey ALABAMA CATTLEMAN ERIC SMITH touch each other. ey stand under the same shade tree, and they just pass diseases back and forth. Once you get them in for treatment, the calves don’t have enough resistance to help fight it off.” Often times Eric comes in blind when buying calves. He has to assume the calves are all about the same. “Sometimes if you know the producer, you can trust what they say. Often times when they talk about two rounds of shots, they mean a blackleg shot and LA 200. Two rounds of something, but nothing they need,” says Eric. “For me, if you wean a calf 21 days, you may as well sell him fresh off the cow because trouble for me really doesn’t come until about three weeks after weaning. So if you wean for 21 days, you’ve really done nothing special to help. Yes, he’s weaned, but not preconditioned.” Eric needs calves to be weaned 45 to 60 days for him to pay a premium. Ideally, calves are weaned from their dams, broke to water and feed, and had initial vaccinations and follow-up boosters. A modified-live booster shot is given after 21 days, which gives a second little sweat. Calves need another two weeks to get over the shot. You are at 35 to 40 days. Keep calves for another 10 days and they will actually put on a little weight. “Now he’s ready to sell and you have a pre-conditioned calf,” says Eric. He brands him, marks him and turns him out. He doesn’t do any type of treatment. He’ll just observe. Eric gets calves on feed, fed out of a truck. If everything is good, calves start to recognize him right away. If they are all coming up looking for him when he drives in the pasture, he feels like his calves are doing well.

BUY-IN FROM PRODUCERS Eric wants to see more buy-in from producers to help close the gap. “Cow/calf producers have the ability to make things better for the industry. Southeast cattlemen with small herds are probably not as connected as they should be. ey are an important part of the industry because there are many of them. We’d like to see complete participation, not just in animal health, but animal husbandry and animal welfare. It would make our industry stronger throughout the chain. It has to happen on these small farms,” says Eric.

THE FUTURE – ANIMAL ID When asked what parting thoughts Eric might leave with cattlemen if he were speaking to them, here’s how he responded. “It is going to be a shock to people, but animal is ID coming. As we get into animal ID, visibility of individual producers is going to be out there more than ever. So if you want to continue to be in the cattle business, you are going have to do a better a job of making calves cost-effective to people like me,” says Eric. “If your calves are nothing but an expense to me, I will be able to identify them. I will not buy them. Not just me, but other buyers like me will not buy them. Calves will be discounted enough that you won’t enjoy being in the business.” Eric predicts that third-party verification will drive animal ID. “Tyson, JBS, and others like them will drive it,” Eric says. “e range of protocols will be wide, but producers will not be able to dodge it. You will have to prove something. It’s not going to happen next week but, it will happen. e push right now is strong to ID everything.”

ADVICE TO PRODUCERS Producers can do well if they have reputation calves. “You don’t have to have 100 calves. You can have 35. You don’t need to sell them on 35 different days. But, if you sell 30 calves at one time and there is enough history and reliability, and what you said you had done with the calves was true, then, you would see the benefit,” says Eric.

By Joy Reznicek

Heifer Development Tips From Breeding to Calving


HEALTHY, HEAVY BRED MARES ARE A PLEASANT SIGHT TO THE EYE, AND MY EXCITEMENT IS RISING AS WE ENTER THE COUNTDOWN TO FOALING SEASON.Between the end of March and early May, Town Creek Farm will welcome five new foals. Each broodmare was hand selected and is special in her own way. A few words that come to mind when describing the group include ranch bred; heavy boned; solid feet; correct conformation; fluid movement; and muscle and shape in all the right places. Breeding choices are picked on an individual basis to best complement each mare with a goal of producing a cow savvy, easy moving horse with plenty of size and bone. The foals arriving in a few short months promise to fit the bill and are by the following studs: Hickory Holly Time: One Time Pepto x Doc’s Hickory mare, LTE $231,025 to date, 2018 World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Horse with many other NRCHA titles. Mr Playinstylish: Playin Stylish x Doc Tari mare, LTE $145,551, with 2 World Championship titles, 2014 #1 NRCHA Freshman Sire and 2016 NRCHA top 15 leading sire. Im Countin Checks: Smart Little Ricochet x Autumn Boon by Dual Pep, LTE $514,757, NCHA Hall of Fame, 3 plus million dollar sire. CD of a Playboy: CD Olena x Freckles Playboy mare, Reserve World Champion Cutting Horse. Francis Dual: Dual Pep x Doc Olena mare, ranch stud at Saunders Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. For our 2020 foals, we have selected three stallions. PG Heavily Armed: LTE $214,165, this own son of Playgun out of a Bob Acre Doc mare is successfully showing in the cutting pen with 23 major finals to date. He is an impressive bay stallion who really caught my eye with his strong movements and obvious cow smarts and grit. Metallic Malice: AQHA World Show Qualifier, 15-hand bay roan own son of Metallic Cat out of a Mecom Blue mare. He has the size, pedigree, and looks that when crossed on Town Creek Farm’s Grays Starlight/Smart Little Lena mare should produce a special horse. Starlight Midnight, a 15-hand stout, easy moving own son of Grays Starlight x Docs Oak mare. He is a NRHA money-earner and AQHA World Show Qualifier in Jr. Healing. Town Creek Farm is continuing to lay the foundation of a top-notch ranch horse program. With our foundation and ranch bred mares crossed to stallions that bring more modern cutting lines to the table, we are sure to produce that cow-savvy using horse that has the size, bone, and smooth ride to stand up to a day’s work. Life is too short to not ride a good horse. By Anne Sutherland

CALVING SEASON IS IN FULL SWING IN OUR GROUP OF 100 PLUS COMING TWO-YEAR-OLD HEIFERS. Our goals are to have heifers conceive to calve at two-years of age (no exceptions), deliver live calves, breed back and have longevity in our herd. Here are a few of our tips for breeding and calving heifers at two-years of age. 1. Keep a high percentage of heifers at weaning. Let your development system and environment select heifers for you. Heifers or genetics that don’t perform will likely be open at pregnancy check. 2. Separate heifers from other age classes of females for development. Heifers have the two toughest years of their life ahead of them. Heifers will not win if they have to compete with older animals for feed, hay or forage. 3. We recommend developing heifers in pastures, not in pens. Adequate nutrition is essential; good grass or hay, good mineral and supplementation. We supplement heifers daily after weaning with five pounds of soyhull/gluten pellets and increase to seven pounds per day. Our lower input strategy forces genetics and Mother Nature to play a role in selection pressure. 4. Weigh heifers often to help reach target breeding weights. We weigh frequently, which allows us to make supplement intake adjustments as needed. 5. Every heifer is set up on a synchronization protocol, developed of Bos Indicus cattle, and is artificially inseminated. Total breeding days with A.I. breedings is 60 days. 6. Select the right A.I. sires and pasture bulls to breed your females. Developing heifers is an investment. Select good calving ease heifer bulls to make both their job, and your job easier. 7. We continue to take care of our heifers after they are palpated safe in calf. Proper nutrition should continue after breeding so heifers stay in good body condition when they calve. 8. Calve out heifers in a pasture by themselves if possible. Ride out pairs into clean pastures to reduce scours and calf/dam confusion. 9. Take care of your heifers after they calve. The highest nutritional requirements, and most demanding time of a heifer’s life, is after she’s laid down her first calf, she’s nursing, she’s still growing and we breed her for her second calf. 10. Wean calves early to let heifers recover and get ready to breed back and calve as three-year olds. 11. We emphasize low stress handling. Heifers are hand-fed for as long as possible after weaning, then fed from a trip-hopper. We do not use electric pods. Our strategy produces heifers that are manageable and easy going and sets their disposition for life.

LOOK FOR OUR DISPLAY BOOTH AT THE FOLLOWING EVENTS: January 30 - February 1, 2019 – National Beef Cattlemen’s Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana February 8 & 9, 2019 – Mississippi Cattlemen’s Convention, Jackson, Mississippi February 15 & 16, 2019 – Alabama Cattlemen’s Convention, Birmingham, Alabama June 18 - 20, 2019 – Florida Cattlemen’s Convention, Marco Island, Florida Save Saturday, October 19, 2019 – Town Creek Farm Sale


Profile for Town Creek Farm

The Grit - Winter 2019 - Town Creek Farm Newsletter  

Enjoy Town Creek Farm's newsletter, The Grit, to learn of ranch news and industry happenings. Read about our no-nonsense philosophy and prac...

The Grit - Winter 2019 - Town Creek Farm Newsletter  

Enjoy Town Creek Farm's newsletter, The Grit, to learn of ranch news and industry happenings. Read about our no-nonsense philosophy and prac...


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