Heifers and Mature Bulls

This advice goes for all animals species, not just cattle!  Our personal experience is that we prefer to breed those virgin heifers at 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years of age.  Breeding them to calve as 2-year-olds is comparable to a girl giving birth at 14-15.  Breeding and calving later can reduce calving difficulties by allowing the youngster to fully mature.  Even though conventional wisdom says it’s not profitable to miss out on that first calf and that by selecting for early calves, you are selecting also for early maturing, is sound business.  However, there are some ranchers who feel they more than pick up on the other end with their cows producing until they are 14-15, rather than dropping out of the herd at 10-11.  So, right or wrong, we don’t necessarily ‘develop’ the heifers, we simply let them grow up with the mature cows and become sensible, healthy, and productive females.

Here is another thought from Burke Teichert, a man whom I’ve yet to meet, who has words of wisdom and experience worth pondering taken from his column “Strategic Planning for the Ranch” in Beef magazine.

Don’t overdevelop replacement heifers.

“It will cost you money in several ways.  If some don’t breed, take heart in the fact that the “good ones” did.  At first breeding, 55% of expected mature cow weight is adequate in most situations, as opposed to the 65% that’s long been recommended.”

Don’t take better care of bulls than they should need.

” Since a bull doesn’t need to gestate or lactate, if he requires exceptional care, do you really want his daughters to become your cows?”

Burke Teichert, a consultant on strategic planning for ranches, retired in 2010 as vice president and general manager of AgReserves Inc.  He resides in Orem, Utah.  Contact him at burketei@comcast.com

“Not-To-Do” List

Here is another thought from Burke Teichert, a man whom I’ve yet to meet, who has words of wisdom and experience worth pondering taken from his column “Strategic Planning for the Ranch” in Beef magazine.

“We can all think of things we used to do.  We quit doing them because we discovered they were not necessary –often long after they’d ceased to be necessary, if they were ever necessary in the first place.  I’ll guarantee most of us are still doing things that don’t need to be done, but cost us time and money.”

Burke Teichert, a consultant on strategic planning for ranches, retired in 2010 as vice president and general manager of AgReserves Inc.  He resides in Orem, Utah.  Contact him at burketei@comcast.com

What are some things you do that are time wasters?  I know i have some, but it seems like they come from poor planning rather than day to day wasting (although this blog may easily fall into that category, but I am hoping it will build into a business someday).  Questions i ask myself:  What am i doing right now?  Is it costing me time and money? or is it a good investment for my time and money?  If it is a cost, why am I doing it?  Sometimes we do things because we enjoy them and that’s okay IF we can afford it.  For example, if we have no debt, if we have some serious savings, and if we can easily live within our means.  But if we struggle with finances, we need to seriously slash those costs that yield no income.  Don’t fall into a trap of justifying anything.

Hungarian Beef Goulash (Bogracs Gulyas)

Years ago, I put together little ‘thank you for your purchase’ packets of premixed spices for dishes which could be utilized with our grass finished beef.  Customers who purchased a certain amount of beef or lamb from us would receive a packet or two.  Although, I no longer offer fully grass-finished beef and lamb at the retail level, I try to keep a few of these on hand for gifts and such.

Here is one of our favourites!

Hungarian Beef Goulash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2-2 lbs beef (stew meat, round steak, etc) cut into 3/4 inch cubes

2 cups water

8 ounces of chopped tomato or tomato sauce

3 medium onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon

1/2 teaspoon caraway seed

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 green peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

Heat oil in Dutch oven or deep 12-inch skillet until hot.  Cook and stir beef in hot oil until brown about 15 minutes.  Add water, tomatoes (with liquid), onions, garlic, paprika, Salt, bouillon, caraway seed, and Pepper.  Break up tomatoes with fork.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Add potatoes; cover and simmer until beef and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.  Add green peppers; cover and simmer until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve in soup bowls with chunks of French bread for dipping into hot broth.

That’s it!  My packet of spices makes it easy in that you don’t have to chop onions or garlic and there is no need to keep all those spices on hand.  Additionally, my packets only contain certified organic or all natural ingredients and no preservatives.  So these are best kept in the freezer for long term storage.

Recipe right on the packet!
Recipe right on the packet!

As with any recipe – be flexible with what you have on hand and what you like.  We aren’t keen on cooked peppers, so i replace them with green beans or peas.  It might accommodate sliced fresh okra as well, but haven’t tried that one.  I suspect using grass-finished ground beef would work, too!  Of course, you don’t have to use clean grass finished beef, but since that is what we raise, I tend to be biased that way!

Cheers!

tauna