The Grit - Winter 2020

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Town Creek Farm Since 1993


Vo l u m e 8 , 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

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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, President 205.399.0221 Clint Ladner, Bull Development 662.812.8370 South American Representative Ing. Agr. Federico Maisonnave (011) 595 981 362 898 Skype: federico.maisonnave TOTAL COMMITMENT


affect cattle throughout their lifetime. Reduced colostrum and milk consumption is an issue when teat size is greater than what a newborn calf can suckle. Likewise, reduced udder suspension can lead to teats being more easily Great bulls come from great cows. We have been contaminated with mud and debris leading to busy evaluating cattle in the last year. Our crew mastitis in cows or calf sickness. To reduce the has managed to collect an immense data set on risk of FPT, teat and udder scores are recorded at the mature cowherd at Town Creek Farm (TCF), birth and weaning on every TCF female. and the heifers and percentage females at Cow Cows with teats that are too large or udders Creek Ranch. We have kept the excel files with poor suspension are culled. Our goal is to humming, examining females for breed provide customers with herd sires that will character, hoof angle, claw set, teat and udder improve udder quality of their replacement composition, productivity, and hair shedding. females to ensure optimum calf health and We aim our efforts at making the most negate profit losses due to scrutinized, complete poor calf performance. Brangus cattle available Every cow is audited anywhere. based on the calf at her A sturdy foundation side, body condition, and is the basis for any pregnancy status upon structure to stand the test each visit to the weaning of time. For this reason, pen. This exercise allows hoof quality is paramount us to account for the to success in the cattle return on investment each business. Longevity is often a quality of Brangus COMPLETE COW – 9733Y3 IS IN FULL PRODUCTION. female provides and how we can improve mating or cattle touted by the men SHE CALVED AS A TWO-YEAR-OLD AND HAS LAID culling decisions in the upand women who raise DOWN A CALF EVERY 365-DAYS SINCE. coming year. Cows are them. If our cattle are to diagnosed for pregnancy status, and open work for us into their teens or longer, as many females are culled. often do, we must ensure that we are breeding The focus of Town Creek Farm is moderate cattle with correct functional feet. We want to see a deep heeled animal whose framed, easy fleshing, low input cows. Hair scores are another method by which we evaluate claws are uniform in size and don’t curl or splay. our cows. Each spring our cows are assessed on A big round hoofed female will produce bulls how they shed their winter hair coat. Research at with the same great feet that can cover big universities across the country shows that cows pastures season after season breeding cows. who shed winter hair coats earlier in the spring Town Creek Farm has hoof scored every cow in production. Moving forward we will score typically wean heavier calves each year. Not only this, but hair shedding is a highly heritable trait. yearling heifers annually to keep track of our It is imperative for our cows to shed early in the progress and assess genetic trends. The data spring to maintain the performance that we gained from this exercise allows us to make require of them while grazing fescue in our better culling decisions that will save us and our Mississippi climate. customers time and money down the road. Town Creek farm is committed to Calving season is upon us once again on the excellence. We take great pride in producing Mississippi prairie. Mornings are spent first-class Brangus genetics. The backbone of our thoroughly checking spring calving cows with program consists of years of carefully planned hopes of finding well-mothered newborn calves matings, cutting edge science, and world-class carrying Brangus genetics of the future. Finding stockmen and women. Our cattle are held these new calves up and nursing mother is my accountable by our complete work within our preferred way to discover them. It is vital for system of stringent checks and balances. newborn calves to digest high quality colostrum Progress is never sustained by standing as soon as possible after birth to ensure passive transfer of immunoglobulins from the mother to still. It is our hope that you join us on the road to providing today’s consumers with wholesome the calf. These proteins will protect the young great tasting beef. Customers use Town Creek calf against sickness and disease throughout its Farm genetics with confidence knowing first few months of life. that our bulls are backed by the most Research findings have confirmed that complete cows in the business. failure of passive transfer (FPT) can negatively

Research Discloses Heterosis Levels in Brangus Cattle


Managing Broodmares for Success BY ANNE SUTHERLAND WHAT DOES A SUCCESSFUL BROODMARE MEAN TO TOWN CREEK FARM? A MARE SHOULD PRODUCE A QUALITY FOAL EACH YEAR, DELIVER WITH NO DYSTOCIA, AND MILK WELL. She should breed back with one exposure opportunity, and maintain her body condition with proper care. A mare makes herself valuable. That sounds a lot like what we ask of our cows. Our job is to enable our mares to perform by managing their environment. What parts of her environment can we or do we want to manage? Good places to focus are seasonal forage rotation, supplemental feed, and hay quality and intake. Also, on foaling pastures, mud, and disease and worm prevention. ESTABLISH TIMELINE Step one is establishing a timeline by writing down the important gestational dates such as due date; months 5, 7, and 9; the beginning of the third trimester; and 30 days before due date. We’ll use these dates along with lactation timeline to make feeding and herd health decisions. When feeding established broodmares, we consider three different stages: lactating and early gestation, dry and mid gestation, and late gestation. An average foaling date of April 1st allows use of seasonal forage as the basis for mare’s nutritional offerings. When needed, we supplement using a good quality concentrate with at least 12% protein, 6% fat and alfalfa hay. Free-choice Bermudagrass hay and salt are always provided. Our mares are vaccinated several times throughout the year and dewormed quarterly. Pneumabort-K is administered at 5, 7, and 9 months of gestation to protect against abortions caused by rhinopneumonitis. Thirty days prior to foaling, mares are given a dose of an immune booster to ward off Salmonella and E. coli infections and vaccinated for West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis, tetanus, rhinopneumonitis, influenza, and rabies. LACTATING MARES An early bred, lactating mare has the highest nutritional requirements of any class. The average lactating mare will consume 2.75% of her body weight daily in grain and forage. Her total ration should include 12.5% crude protein (CP), .45% calcium, and .30% phosphorus, and her energy requirements will increase two-fold from maintenance levels.1 Grazing annual ryegrass during early spring and Bermudagrass through the summer is ideal as both forages offer excellent nutrient packages. Ryegrass boasts an average CP of 17.89% on a percent dry matter basis2 with

mineral contents that satisfy the mares needs. Bermudagrass, while lower in CP with a range of 10-14%3, offers a sturdy sod bed that will handle heavy foot traffic during wet seasons. Bermudagrass production aligns with a drop in the mare’s milk output and nutritional needs as she enters late lactation. Lactating mares receive supplementation to maintain body condition and milk output. DRY MARES Most dry mares during mid gestation will meet dietary requirements on good pasture alone. Once weaned, supplemental feeding is stopped so milk can dry up. Maintenance levels of 8% CP1 are adequately met with fall fescue. Grazing fescue during this time aligns with the autumn growth curve of the grass and provides the mares with forage high in protein and digestibility. As the fescue quality decreases, supplemental feeding will be resumed. January 1st the mares are removed from fescue pasture to minimize risks of grazing endophyte infested fescue which can cause reproductive abnormalities and foal loss. Mares should have a body condition score between 5 and 6 going into the third trimester. LATE PREGNANT MARES Research has shown that mares fed to gain weight during late pregnancy will perform better and rebreed easier1. During the last three months of gestation the mare’s nutritional requirements increase. Our mares are on ryegrass pasture as soon as possible and begin increasing their supplementation at a rate that supports steady weight gain and increased fetal growth. Thirty days before foaling, the mares are moved to a ryegrass foaling pasture adjacent to the barn and vaccinated. The foaling pasture needs to be dry, free from hazards, and close to a catch pen or barn in case of an emergency. PLANNING IS ESSENTIAL Winston Churchill said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential”. This is doubly true when managing nature and livestock. Nature may throw our plans out the window, but planning allows us to adjust. A successful broodmare program is supported by understanding the gestation schedule and the mare’s changing nutritional needs. References 1. Nutrition of the Broodmare. Equine Section, Department of Animal Sciences. Cooperative Extension Service. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. ASC-112 2. Annual Ryegrass Performance in Mississippi: A Long-Term Yield Production. Mississippi State University Extension. 3. Bermudagrass: A Summer Forage in Kentucky. D.C. Ditsch, S.R. Smith, and G.D. Lacefield, Plant and Soil Sciences. Cooperative Extension Service. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. AGR-48

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA CONDUCTED INITIAL RESEARCH IN 2019 TO DETERMINE ESTIMATION OF HETEROZYGOSITY (HETEROSIS) LEVELS IN BRANGUS CATTLE AND CATTLE WITH VARIED PERCENTAGES OF ANGUS AND BRAHMAN CONTENT. Research was lead by Dr. Raluca Mateescu, University of Florida Associate Professor of Animal Science, and her doctoral student, Joel Leal. Town Creek Farm partnered with University of Florida (UF) on this research project. FACTS AND RESEARCH FINDINGS g Statistical methods to estimate heterosis came from 1500 DNA (250K SNP chip) samples ranging from 3/8 x 5/8 Brangus to various percentages of Angus and Brahman crosses. Brahman and Angus percentages were determined through DNA. (Side Note: DNA revealed Angus percentage in this Brangus population is 70.82%, higher than the 62.5% expected.) g Brahman and Angus genetic markers across the genome have different alleles in the two breeds. Researchers could track breed origin of each chromosomal fragment and estimate the exact amount of heterozygosity in first generation Brangus and decay of heterozygosity in subsequent generations. g Higher or maximum heterosis is achieved by crossing breeds (different species) with the most diversity, i.e. Brahman and Angus (Bos indicus x Bos taurus). Hereford and Angus cross (Bos taurus x Bos taurus) results in lower heterosis. g Heterosis levels are grouped into three major classes; reproductive, growth and carcass. g Purebred Angus have around 17% heterozygosity. g Purebred Brahman have around 15% heterozygosity (Brahman population is smaller, so more inbreeding is expected). g Based on pedigree records, Brangus were assigned to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th generation Brangus. g Significant decreases in heterozygosity occurred in Brangus animals further away from 1st generation Brangus. g First crosses – 50% Brahman x 50% Angus (VigorMax™) have the highest heterozygosity. g As Angus content in crosses increase, heterozygosity decreases. g Heterozygosity can be calculated by breed of origin or by count of heterozygote segments. Dr. Mateescu and her team will continue to research and explore heterozygosity. Town Creek Farm is committed to investing in projects from which our customers stand to benefit.

You Can Shear a Sheep Many Times, But You Can Only Skin Him Once TIPS AND THOUGHTS FROM SALE BARN VETERAN, GLYNN ROBINSON FIFTY WEEKS A YEAR ON EVERY MONDAY GLYNN ROBINSON, HIS WIFE SHEL, AND SON J.D., HOLD A CATTLE SALE AT THE CATTLEMENS STOCKYARDS IN WEST POINT, MISSISSIPPI. In 2019 they marketed nearly 40,000 head through their auction yards. Since opening, their weekly volume has increased substantially, and so have the number of buyers. “We’re successful because we are in the market everyday and we establish it. We know weights and values, and our buyers uphold the market,” Glynn says. When producers deliver cattle to sell, they have faith in knowing they will get fair market price and their cattle won’t be given away. Glynn, his family, his partners in the livestock market, and his partner’s families live by that standard. That standard is the underlying explanation to the barn’s steady growth. “One thing my dad told me that I’ll never forget is that if you feed a sheep and shear him, you can shear him every year. If you ever cut the sheep’s throat, you’re done.” Glynn says. He says he really didn’t understand it when his father told him, but now he does. His father operated the West Point livestock market for 20 years. Glynn says that, like his father, he strives not just for today, but also for tomorrow. PRODUCER REPUTATION Robinson stresses to producers to represent their cattle for what they are, and not something they are not. “If your calves are not weaned and have not been vaccinated, don’t say they are,” says Glynn. He states that his cattle buyers need to know they are getting honest, fresh cattle. Whether it’s a stock cow or a feeder animal, he doesn’t want buyers to have to look for landmines. “Buyers show up when they have a fresh shake at good, fresh cattle. It takes cattle to have buyers and buyers to have cattle,” Glynn says. Producer integrity translates into value down the road. “Once you establish a relationship with a market, buyers remember your cattle,” Glynn says. “A lot of what they remember is how your cattle performed. If you think they don’t, you are mistaken.” Buyers that know how cattle perform will bid on them differently. QUALITY CATTLE Glynn sees the market changing drastically and sees the spread widening between high quality and low quality. “That’s why I preach to producers to use good bulls,” says Glynn. “You don’t have to have the best cows in the world, but you do have to use good genetics in your bulls. I stress and stress that. Good bull power pays for itself.” Glynn speaks from a position of experience and knowledge. He has been a repeat buyer of Town Creek Farm bulls since 2013 and he’s in, or has been in, nearly every segment of the cattle business. “Buyers want quality calves that perform,” says Glynn. “If you are going to stay in the cow business, be competitive and want people to buy your cattle, it will take genetics and higher quality cattle to get them sold. Buy good bulls.” CATTLE MUST FIT YOUR ENVIRONMENT “Southeast cattle have been labeled as high-risk cattle because many are not up to par,” Glynn says. He believes the problem exists because often we have the wrong genetics for our environment. “Producers have gone out and bought straight blood Angus bulls just because they are black. Then, they get 300-pound calves with hair on them as long as your finger and wonder why. These calves can’t tolerate the fescue and insects. They can’t stand it,” says Glynn. Glynn wants producers to understand that they expect their cows to breed, and then raise a big, heavy steer. He says that when a female doesn’t fit her environment, she’s doing all she can to fight the country, fight insects and fight fescue; all that to give milk to the calf she is trying to raise. “The only way to get out from being labeled as producers of high-risk cattle is to show that our cattle can perform,” says Glynn. “If cattle perform, buyers will come back for more next year.” VACCINATION PROGRAMS In the past the industry averaged two to three percent death loss. Glynn recalls that if you lost three percent it was terrible. That was then. And now, national average death loss of cattle is seven to eight percent. “You’ll see a lot of closeouts now with 15 percent death loss. We have buyers who pay an extra $100 for a set of straight calves with a round of shots that have been steered,” Glynn says. Glynn urges producers to get a least one round of vaccinations in calves before they’re sold. “No shots and leaving them as bulls; that

high risk factor is just a wildfire now. Buyers don’t want high-risk cattle. It costs lots of money to cut them and get them straight,” says Glynn. Extracting value out of those kinds of calves is much more challenging than in the past. Glynn had the foresight to realize that herd health GLYNN ROBINSON would play a relevant role in marketing at his barn. He has assembled a crew that travels to producer locations, works their cattle, cuts them and gives them a round of shots. He believes this is where the industry is headed. Producers must do a better job of giving a round or two of shots and make sure they have quality calves to market. BREEDING SEASONS Glynn believes the most far-reaching return, management-wise, is to establish defined breeding seasons. He says defined breeding seasons increases calf uniformity that adds value to calves. It also facilitates timely and efficient vaccination and castration programs. ONE AT A TIME OR GROUPED There are many factors that Glynn considers when sorting cattle to sell. “If you bring in a set of calves that are still bulls, grouped with heifers with a weight difference of 250 to 550 pounds, we can’t sell them as a group,” says Glynn. “We are glad to have these calves, but they are what they are.” Glynn works hard at co-mingling like-type cattle from different producers. He may gather 20 from one producer, 40 or 50 from two others–all steered with a round of shots. He’s started a once a month pre-vac sale to maximize producer’s efforts and value of their calves. “Our goal is to group cattle on similar programs which includes a round of shots and steered. A spread of 50 to 60 pounds is ideal for assembling a load lot,” says Glynn. Once they get past a 100 pound spread in weight, he says they break cattle down to into weight classes such as 400 to 450 pounds, 450 to 500 pounds and so on. Glynn asks, “Would you rather have a buying station with one person telling you what he’ll pay for your calves, or would you rather have 15 people bidding on them? That’s common sense.” SHRINK Most producers who sell cattle through livestock markets believe cattle shrink too much. Glynn says you should expect a little shrink because cattle are taken out of their natural environments. Not every case is the same. “I picked up 80 head of steers Saturday morning and the producer was concerned the calves would shrink too much by Monday,” says Glynn. “When the calves were sold on Monday, they’d gained 10 pounds a head. The producer couldn’t believe it.” Glynn explained that those 80 head were handled just like every other set of calves that pass through his barn. “We never let them run out of anything to eat or drink and give them plenty of space. We strive to have the best hay and cleanest water.” Glynn attributes much of weight shrink to how cattle are handled after they arrive at the barn. “It really doesn’t matter when you bring them to the market; bring them when it is convenient. What matters is how they are taken care of once they get there,” he says. Cattlemens Stockyard has cooling fans going all summer to keep cattle comfortable. “We have clean, fresh water and high quality hay,” says Glynn. He recommends that producers ask how calves will be cared for after they arrive at the market. Glynn adds that they strive to run crisp sales and move cattle in and out as quickly as possible DISCOUNTS Glynn still sees too many uncut bulls go through his sale ring. Buyers show disdain for them with penalties. It’s just another high-risk factor for buyers. Castrating a 500-pound calf can result in stress and sickness, and creates risk. The risk lies squarely on the buyer. Glynn suggests you ask yourself what you want from your cowherd. “You may love cows; they may not be your main priority or you don’t have a lot of time,” he says. “You may be satisfied with just deworming your cows once a year. But those limitations have to be okay for both you and me. We are always glad to sell your calves no matter which program you decide to follow.” – Joy Reznicek

Strength of Town Creek Farm Genetics Revealed In 2019 Fall Ultrasound Data EVERY REGISTERED ANIMAL AT TOWN CREEK FARM IS ULTRASOUNDED OR SCANNED AT ONE YEAR OF AGE – A PRACTICE WE STARTED IN THE MID TO LATE 1990S. Ultrasounding for carcass traits has proven to be a strong fact-finding component for Town Creek Farm, which enables us to identify top sires more quickly. It’s also measures genetic progress within our herd. Scan data of Town Creek Farm 2018 born bull and heifer calves taken last November revealed a substantial increase in ribeye size, ribeye area per hundred weight (REA/cwt) and marbling percent. Marbling increased by nearly a .50 percent over 2017 born bull calves. TCF INTEGRITY 13C R10304130 DDF DOB: 1/12/2015 Sire: CCR Integrity 355S4 Ribeye area (REA) also improved year over year. However, equally as Semen Available • Commercial ($20) and Registered ($40) telling, is our average weaning weights increased from 2017 to 2018 calves, while yearling ultrasound weights decreased by 16 pounds, and SPRING A.I. SEASON IS FAST APPROACHING. Semen is available on fat thickness increased. This data speaks highly favorable to the TCF Integrity 13C along with other proven herd sires. Contact maternal side of Town Creek Farm genetics suggesting that weaning Joy Reznicek at (205)399-0221, or Clint weights have increased, cow size remains in balance (yearling weights), Ladner (662)812-8370, REA is increasing, and heifers have a high probability of reaching puberty and breed to calve at two-years of age. “Ribeye (REA) and marbling or intramuscular fat percent (IMF%) scan data can provide guidance to bull selections if you are selling your Reading articles and observing shoppers have stimulated some steers on the grid or have buyers seeking high-grading calves,” says thoughts of how consumers are behaving and how rapidly Milton Sundbeck. Marbling is the best indicator, to date, of eating preferences are changing. How will the beef industry fit in? quality when grading beef carcasses. Higher levels of marbling have 1. RIGHT-NOW DELIVERY been associated with increased tenderness, juiciness and flavor of beef. Over the past month I’ve seen double-decker carts pushed by employees filling on-line, pick-up and delivery orders (sister says they’re called grocery pickers) in our local grocery stores. We are living a servitude lifestyle. Consumers no longer have to grow it, pick it, sell it or select it. We are captivated with home delivery. 2. ADVENTUROUS PALATES My family fought over bone marrow at the dinner table when I was young. We consumed liver, heart and tongue, sometimes unwillingly. That’s just how we ate. We were large family of frugal Germans. Organs and non-traditional cuts are back in vogue. Ethnically inspired menus have pushed palates far beyond traditional meat and potatoes. Think chicken feet to pig tails to beef cheeks, bone marrow and beyond. Nose-to-tail consumption is regaining some of the popularity it had when we were a largely agrarian population, this time by choice. 3. SOPHISTICATED PALATES TOWN CREEK FARM IS AGAIN HONORED TO SPONSOR OUR Remember when consumers insisted on white meat – boneless, HOMETOWN SUPERSTAR WILL LUMMUS – Professional Steer skinless chicken breasts. The chicken industry responded by breeding Wrestler – in his 2020 season. Will made an awesome showing at the chickens that produced 20% more breast meat. Now millennials want 2019 National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas finishing 11th in the world. the richer, more flavorful dark meat of chicken. The same can be said for the beef. Consumers want high quality beef with more flavor, marbling JACOB AND MARTHA MEGEHEE, 18-YEAR CUSTOMERS, WERE and fat than in previous decades. That means prime and choice beef FEATURED ON THE COVER OF with visible marbling and fat – even full-flavored dry aged cow meat. PROGRESSIVE FORAGE MAGAZINE IN 3. FLEXITARIAN NOVEMBER 2019. Inside the magazine, Environmental, health and ethical motives are leading consumers to hit the Megehees tell the story of pasture pause buttons on meat consumption. Even global consumers are renovation and persistence on their consciously limiting meat intake. Right or wrong, it’s happening. Macon, Mississippi, farm, along with their five-year deal. 2020 will be Jacob’s Population growth and higher incomes means worldwide meat consumption will increase, yet so will meat substitutes. Hamburger for 17th year to consign heifers to Town Creek Farm and Cow Creek Ranch sales. lunch today. Beyond beef burger for lunch tomorrow. Ask Jacob about his five-year deal he 5. ALL TO MYSELF – SINGLE SERVE PACKAGING made with Martha as a young bride. Ever think about what you see on refrigerated shelves of grocery and convenience stores? Single serve, portioned food – deli snack packs, LOOK FOR OUR DISPLAY BOOTH AT THE FOLLOWING EVENTS: fruit cups, yogurt, meal kits and bite-size cheese are taking up much more shelf space and it appears to be growing exponentially. Beef has February 14 & 15, 2020 – Alabama Cattlemen’s Convention, Montgomery, Alabama traditionally been packaged for family meals. But, fewer and fewer February 28 & 29, 2020 – Mississippi Cattlemen’s Convention, Starkville, Mississippi meals are prepared and eaten as a family unit. Convenience and onJune 22-25, 2020 – Florida Cattlemen’s Convention, Orlando, Florida the-go food continues to gain footholds. Save Saturday, October 17, 2020 – Town Creek Farm Sale at the ranch, West Point, Mississippi

Consumer Trends to Contemplate

Food for Thought – Joy Reznicek

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