Tag Archives: Cattle Production

Operation Allen Angus

By Reed Boettcher (Originally Published in the 2016 Summer Issue of Great Plains living)

There’s nothing covert about the operation at Allen Angus Ranch.  The ranch’s dedication to providing quality cattle to the commercial cowman is backed by superior genetics and forage. Through improvements and utilization of resources, Allen Angus is streamlining it’s operation to increase productivity and higher profits for their customers.
Vertical integration was the goal of Greg Spears, co-owner and Operations Manager of Allen Angus, when he purchased the 5200 acre ranch in 2014.  As owner of the Texas based FMC Feeds & Supply, which is managed by Kelley Adair, Spears decided to get into the cattle industry to better understand his customers and to fulfill his wife Kathy’s childhood dream of owning a cattle ranch.  Kathy and Greg have been business partners for 25 plus years.  As a CPA graduate from Texas Tech, she is a major contributor and the “soul” of the Spears enterprises.  First, Greg and Kathy started Scenic Point Land & Cattle in Young county Texas.  As this operation began to take off, they started looking for ways to raise more cattle with less acres.  When an opportunity arose in Allen Okla., Spears, along with business partners Jack Little and Randy Cantin, recognized the land’s potential and made the decision to purchase what is now Allen Angus.  There was a lot of work to be done to bring the ranch up to speed, but with the advice of several entities Spears quickly made ranch improvements that are increasing production.
Customer service is important for any retail business, and understanding the wants and needs of customers is at the core of service.  By purchasing the ranch north of Allen, Okla. Spears and his partners have literally put themselves in their customer’s shoes.  It would have been simple enough to research his target audience, but for Spears, becoming a customer himself not only strengthened his Texas based feed store, but streamlined his entire business operations as well.
First and foremost, Allen Angus is in the forage raising business.  Spears commented on the importance of good forage for the ranch.
“We are blessed to have the opportunity to be stewards of this ranch, but there have been some challenges.  When we took over and started Allen Angus there were a lot of forage improvements that needed to be done. This is where good equipment comes into play.  If you have a tractor that won’t start, or a baler that won’t bale, or swather that won’t swath, you can’t effectively produce the forage you need to improve production.  We decided to buy local and went with Great Plains Kubota because they’re cattle people and farmers.  Like us, they understand the importance of our windows of opportunity.  Thus far GP has been responsive.  In the Ag business, I view the service provider and service purchaser as best friends.  Nobody can make you madder than your best friend, but in the end it’s almost unconditional, because you both have something invested.  Great Plains has invested in Allen Angus, and likewise us with them,” Spears stated.
Since the purchase of the Allen ranch in 2014, the lands’ productivity has come a long way.  It has flourished over the last few years which Spears contributes to good management and advice from outside sources such as the Noble Foundation, and Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus Ranch.
Ranch Manager James McWilliams has been with Allen Angus since the purchase, and he brings 14 plus years of experience from a Missouri ranch to the Allen operation.  It’s the sound management and employees of Allen Angus, FMC Feeds, and Scenic Point Ranch that help streamline the entire operation.
The Noble Foundation has also been instrumental, and has helped set the pace for everything Allen Angus does.  Hugh Aljoe with the Foundation has been a huge help, both with the cattle and with improving grass.  Before purchasing, Spears met with the Foundation to get an idea on the Ranch’s potential, and what expectations Spears and his partners should have.  Mark Gardiner, of Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland, Kansas, not only provided 100% of the Allen Angus genetics, but has given unmatched sound advice. Much like the Noble Foundation, Gardiner has been a critical part of the start up and growth of Allen Angus. As a business owner, Spears understands good vendors, such as Kubota, can also play a vital role in the ranch’s success.
The Allen Angus mission is to raise known genetic cattle of the highest quality that is affordable and profitable to the common cowman.  Their goal of raising the same quality cattle as registered Angus is obtained by using Method Genetics which test the known genetics of all their bulls and heifers.  There are three points of production they focus on; carcass yield, grade, and performance.  Allen Angus Ranch provides profit proven breeding stock to the commercial producer for a value that helps secure long term viability.  Their cattle are raised on grass range with low stress handling methods.  Allen Angus offers calving ease Angus bulls, yearling bulls, cow bulls, semen, pairs, replacement females, open heifers, and bred heifers.  The 5200 acre ranch is divided into three sections which house 1160 “Momma” Cows, 27 sire bulls, 120 development Bulls, 140 “AI” heifers, and 600 calves.  Allen Angus closely follows the protocol set by Gardiner.  The genetics are present, and it’s up to Spears and ranch employees to give their cattle the husbandry needed to develop to full potential.  Quality genetics, given proper husbandry, provides this ample growth and development.  Method Genetics, and the other practices mention all create a better paycheck for the cowman.  As mentioned early forage is primary at Allen Angus.  Some of the crops raised are; Midland, Bermuda grass, five pastures of native grasses such as love grass and blue stem, along with vetch, and clover.  Since their start, they’ve been no-tilling 700-1000 acres, which has increased forage for the winter.  Spears elaborated further on the importance of quality forage.
“At Allen Angus we invest in components that will make more money for the commercial cowman.  We invest in forage and the quality of our herd…period.  We put money into things that add value.  At first, we were focusing on repairing the forage and ground to ensure a good future.  Our future is with forage, both quality and quantity.  We will continue to improve the land and upgrade cattle so that we can continue to make our customers a profit.”
Allen Angus Ranch is a doorway that leads to good genetics for the commercial cowman.  Through sound forage practices, research, and efficient equipment, Allen Angus develops a profitable product at an affordable price.  Those dedicated to the ranch are staying the course, and investing in their labor of love to insure growth and a sustainable future.  Some people are betting against the ranch’s success, but Allen Angus will stay the course.  It’s only been two years after all, and look how much they’ve accomplished.

For more information about Kubota equipment visit www.greatplainskubota.com

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The Cattlemen Connection

Great Plains Kubota and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation Working Together for a Better Tomorrow

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is a membership driven organization.  OCA leaders are cattlemen who are physically, emotionally and financially involved in Oklahoma’s beef industry.  In 1979, the OCA leadership took a progressive step toward the future by creating the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF).  Those leaders recognized the need to establish a financially viable organization that would be charged with the responsibility of supporting those individuals and organizations who commit themselves to the improvement of the beef industry.
The Foundation’s mission is to preserve the heritage of the West and the viability of Oklahoma’s beef cattle industry through research and education.  With the leadership of Bill Clark, Great Plains Kubota, has established itself as a major partner of the OCF with a true passion to help the Foundation accomplish its mission.  This partnership has helped the Foundation expand its scholarship program, and opened many new doors for the youth of our industry by allowing us to set up a scholarship endowment fund within the Foundation. This is the first endowment fund made possible with the help of our allied industry professionals.
When we first went to visit with Bill and Great Plains Kubota in 2014, we weren’t sure what kind of a response we would get. We knew that we wanted to establish an endowed scholarship fund, but we weren’t sure how to get the amount of funds that we needed. Bill never hesitated when we asked him to donate an RTV to be raffled off in order to start the fundraising process. Great Plains Kubota gladly stepped in to help support our youth, and as the saying goes, “the rest is history”.
By the end of 2015, we realized that we were coming up short on the amount of funds needed to create the endowment. Bill and Great Plains Kubota once again stepped up and donated a lawnmower to be raffled off this year and complete the endowment fund. Bill’s generosity and passion for helping others went even further by issuing a challenge to our membership and offering a chainsaw to the member that sold the most tickets this year.
Great Plains Kubota is a major sponsor of all OCF activities and events.  It’s a pleasure to work with Bill and the rest of the crew at Great Plains Kubota.  They respect and believe in our mission and continue be excellent partners whenever and wherever a need arises.
The OCF published its first ever Annual Report for 2015 that was made possible in part by the ongoing relationship with Great Plains Kubota. The annual report highlighted the work of the Foundation and provided transparency for current and future donors.
OCA’s leaders outlined goals for the Foundation to reach by 2020 during a strategic planning seminar last October. By working together with committed supporters like Great Plains, we can reach these goals and make tomorrow better for the Oklahoma beef cattle industry and its youth. Cattle producers can rely that our legacy and livelihood will be passed on to the next generation, and will remain in good hands thanks to outstanding companies, like Great Plains Kubota, that are willing to make huge investments in the next generation.

Partner’s Perspective – Great Plains Kubota President elaborates on the “Cattlemen Connection”

“A lot of us at Great Plains Kubota raise cattle, and are members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.  I think the real question isn’t why would we partner with OCA, but rather, why wouldn’t we partner with the OCA.  As Kubota continues to expand it’s equipment line into the larger Ag market I feel it’s our duty as a Kubota dealership to represent Kubota equipment to the right customer, and OCA members are these customers.  Most of them, like us, depend on equipment to manage their cattle operations, and  while we’re excited for the opportunity to earn new business, our main purpose of supporting the OCA is to help establish a solid
future for the beef industry in Okla.  We hope we
can make a positive contribution, and aid the hard
working men and women of the OCA.”
– Bill Clark

By Jeff Jaronek Published in the 2016 Summer Issue of Great Plains living

Hereford Heaven

There are many reasons for visiting Hereford Heaven.  Whatever your personal reasons might be you are always a welcome visitor.  Here you may visit the various ranches and see the lush pastures which have so much to do with the production of good cattle.  Here also you may see the best of Herefords and fill the needs of your own herd.  This is true whether you are looking for registered or commercial cattle.  For here we produce the best of both.”
This excerpt from a 1940s advertising pamphlet paints a different picture of today’s south central Oklahoma.   One can still find lush pastures and great cattle production, but it might be a challenge to locate large herds of Herefords.  Now a visitor to the area would scarcely find a trace that this was once Hereford Heaven but Heaven isn’t necessarily a physical place you can see and touch.  Heaven is all around us.  Likewise Hereford Heaven is still around, and with the right pair of eyes, one can see that this neck of the woods, was and is, truly a bovine Eden.
For some like Beth, David, and Buck Buxton it isn’t hard to see how south central Oklahoma was heaven on earth.  They grew up in the heart and golden era of Hereford heaven.  As children they would spend weekends on the family ranch, (The Horse Shoe Ranch) located near Hickory, Oklahoma.  The Horse Shoe Ranch was truly a hub and a community all its own as were other bigger ranches of the time.  The Horse Shoe even had a one room school house.  To this day they have people from all over the county approach them to tell them that they attended school on the Horse Shoe.  After the passing of C.C. Buxton Jr. and former ranch foreman Alvin Powell, the heirs to the ranch made the decision to sell the herd of registered Herefords.  At that time they had the oldest herd in the state.  The Horse Shoe Ranch was also home to “Camp Horse Shoe Ranch” during the mid 40s, which was an actual German POW camp.  The practice of relocating German soldiers to centrally located ranches was not uncommon.  These soldiers weren’t treated as prisoners though, rather as underpaid ranch hands.  According to Beth they were given 80 cents a day.  She elaborated that after the war her father tried to help several of the POWs achieve US citizenship.  In fact, Beth had the opportunity to meet with one of the POWs and his family long after the war was over while touring Europe in college.  Whether it was common practice to pay POWs, or to take them into town to do yard work, the kind actions of those involved with the human lives during such a difficult time in our nation’s history was a testament to the friendly and welcoming nature of the residents of Hereford Heaven.  Surely the POWs would have thought they’d died and gone to heaven after facing the horrors of war.
From Ada to as far south as the muddy banks of the red river, Hereford cattle reigned supreme in the early part of the 20th century.  Local ranches like the Horse Shoe and Turner ranch were just a couple of the forerunners for promoting the breed.  It was progressive thinking of the times, paired with good gazing and sound practices helped make what this area is today.  It was said in the August 1st, 1944 issue of The Hereford Journal that the words “Hereford Heaven” are worth bales of folding money to the breeders that live in the area.  It’s hard to judge if this saying would still be worth bales of folding money, but one thing is for sure, the impact of the times will not soon be forgotten.

Read more about Hereford Heaven and the Horseshoe Ranch at www.greatplainsliving.com

Fields Of Dreams – If you clear it…it will grow

Image    Many years ago, they went broke farming in the Panhandle of Oklahoma.  Now, much like the grasses to which they give so much attention, Bill and Karen Payne are thriving.
     To understand the Payne’s unconventional method of cattle production, it’s important to understand their love and dedication to what they do.  They have a stocker cattle operation, taking full advantage of their land by practicing a form of rotational grazing known as mob grazing.  With mob grazing, Bill and Karen discovered with the right equipment and time, their operational methods required less work, yet produced higher returns while improving the land.  
     The Paynes thoroughly enjoy cattle production, which has always been a family enterprise.  Before moving to the panhandle, where he met Karen, Bill lived on a high mountain cattle ranch in Wyoming.  Karen, on the other hand, grew up in Oklahoma’s panhandle.  Her family were homesteaders.  Her grandfather was fortunate enough to make it through the dust bowl and purchased acreage from farmers that were leaving the area.  After the Bill and Karen married, they started a hog operation in the area, but eventually the harsh conditions led them away from the panhandle and the Paynes started a 400-acre cattle ranch in the mountains of Colorado.  It was both family and greener pastures that, in time, eventually brought the two back to Oklahoma.  They viewed land all across the state, trying to find the perfect piece of property to start fresh.  It was their daughter, Sherry, who mentioned a 900-acre ranch just outside of Saint Louis Okla.  The property was in bad shape.  Barns as well as other structures were run down, and the pastures were hardly usable.  In spite of the overall poor condition, the Paynes realized the property’s potential.  They decided to purchase the ranch.
     Today, when Bill is called away for other projects, Karen operates the ranch by herself.  Typically, however it’s the two of them working side by side, managing about 1,000 head of cattle a year.  Because of their passion and attention to detail, the Paynes have been able to prosper with mob grazing on the given amount of productive ranch acreage.  The clean and natural look of their place didn’t just happen over night, but careful evaluation and a minimal amount of equipment enhanced nature’s ability to provide what was needed to create a productive business for this dedicated couple.
     The Paynes purchased their place near Saint Louis with rotational grazing in mind; however, they knew it would require some work as 75 percent of the land was covered with trees.  Improvement began with evaluation of the desired operation.  With the aid of the Noble Foundation, they found their land had the potential to support rotational grazing.  Bill commented on their plan for improving the grass.
     “First, we didn’t plant any of the native grasses that are here growing today.  The seed bank is there, and we have good ground moisture.  We just gave it the opportunity to grow.  After clearing trees with my skid steer and tree saw, we eventually were able to start grazing.  There are two things we utilize to improve the quality of our grass;  one is hoof action,  and the other is speed.  By concentrating cattle groups on our one-acre grazing tracts, hoof action creates seed-to-soil contact and fertilization.  By speeding up the rotating process, we found that it actually strengthened the grass and improved weight gains among the cattle,” said Bill.
     Over time, the once over-grazed and under-managed ranch began to improve.  By working with available natural resources, and providing growth opportunity, the Paynes’ mob grazing methods have created an environment that produces returns for their cattle production and a haven for wildlife.  Wild turkey flocks thrive, quail have settled in the area, and deer are thick due to their conservation efforts.  The Paynes have completely transformed their land in seven short years in spite of several years of severe drought.  Now, they have some of the prettiest grass one could see, and they achieved this result utilizing very little equipment.      
     To completely alter the look of 900 acres, one could naturally assume a vast amount of heavy equipment would be required.  However, using their skid steer mounted tree saw (with its fast and versatile capabilities), both crucial to the clearing process, hundreds of trees were cleared for grazing in a short amount of time.  An additional benefit was the exposure of non-productive land areas which could be eliminated as non-productive for grazing.  Their tractor is especially useful for running their nine-strand Power Flex poly wire, which has played a key role in their rotational grazing success.  They use a Polaris Sportsman to check fences, but prefer to leave it out of the equation when moving their cattle.  In fact, the only machine to which the cattle are exposed is the Paynes’ red 1992 Ford Ranger!  It is important the cattle readily recognize the Paynes’ truck as Bill and Karen spend a lot of time with these cattle.  Bill relayed the important use of other tools which make mob grazing easier.  
        “For what we do, the true test is… Can it be moved easily?  It’s extremely important that materials can be easily moved because we have over 30 miles of electric fence and 12 miles of poly wire.  The Power Flex system is incredible.  We should’ve been using this from the beginning.  We use a nine- strand braided poly wire and we’ve yet to see it broken by the cattle.  Our Stafix charger powers all our electrical fence, and with my remote, I can control the fence from any part of the ranch.  Our grazing method is all about time and speed.  Karen and I can move three groups of 80 or more cattle in less than an hour,” said Bill.
         The Paynes’ mob grazing method is simple in design, but requires their devoted time, as explained.  80 to 100 branded and vaccinated heifer stocker cattle arrive on a truck.  Once unloaded, they stay in a holding pen for three to five days.  Here the Paynes introduce themselves to the cattle, and the concept of electric fences, water troughs, and feed bunks.  After the cattle have settled in, they are released into a paddock that is sectioned off into one-acre tracts.  Every morning, the Paynes rotate the group to a fresh section within the paddock.  They rotate three different groups, staged 30 days apart, across fields of varied grasses.  The cattle will stay on the Paynes’ ranch approximately 90 to 100 days before being sold to a buyer to whom the Paynes have developed a close relationship.  This is a year- round process that keeps Bill and Karen busy throughout the week.  Physically spending time with the cattle aids their continuous rotation of the groups.  Karen commented on the importance of spending time with the cattle.
     “We spend hours with the cattle, but this is especially true when they first arrive.  By the third day, they are following us around. They recognize us as well as our red Ranger. When we drop a poly gate to rotate, they are already waiting on us,” said Karen.
     The Paynes’ methodical mob grazing technique aids in conservation and yields positive results.  It takes time and patience for this process to work, but for the Paynes, it’s a lifestyle which they equally love and are devoted.

Fields of Dreams was published in the Autumn 2013 issue of Great Plains living 

the official magazine of Great Plains Kubota

Built To Last

By Vermeer Corporation

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Rooted in the heartland of America is a remarkable story. One that transformed the small town of Pella, Iowa, and changed the world of agriculture. It’s the story of a one-man operation that evolved over six decades into one of the premier manufacturers of agricultural and environmental equipment in the world.
    It begins with a man who liked to walk the fields with neighboring farmers, discussing the many challenges they faced on the job. It was the 1940s and the Second World War raged on in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. With hundreds of thousands of Americans engaged in battle, fighting tyranny abroad in the name of freedom and honor, farmers back home were having a tough time finding good help.
    Back then unloading grain was among the most labor-intensive jobs on the farm, and the shortage of dependable hired hands only made matters worse. A man named Gary Vermeer set out to find a better way to get the job done. He outfitted his grain wagon with a simple mechanical hoist that unloaded grain faster and easier. Pleased with the results, he shared his innovation with neighboring farmers. Word spread quickly and soon farmers from all over the

area wanted Gary Vermeer to modify their wagons. The first Vermeer innovation was a hit.
    On November 22, 1948, Gary Vermeer and his cousin Ralph Vermeer, a local banker, started Vermeer Manufacturing Co. From day one the company’s philosophy mirrored what Gary Vermeer had achieved with his grain wagon hoist: find a need, fill that need with a product built to last, and simply build the best. Even as the company began to grow and expand its product line, that philosophy continued to inspire every product Vermeer built.
    In 1950, the company introduced portable PTO-powered hammermills. Instead of using flat belts and pulleys that would often slip in cold or wet weather to grind grain, Vermeer’s Pow-R-Drive models harnessed the power take-off (PTO) of tractors. The

product’s success helped spark growth for the young company, and later prompted Vermeer to introduce additional PTO-driven products.
    Sometimes the best solution to a problem presents itself unexpectedly. Such was the case with the revolutionary stump cutter Vermeer unveiled in 1957. While testing a new stump cutter prototype, a Vermeer employee inadvertently hit the wrong lever, causing the cutting wheel to move horizontally across the stump. It was a better way to get the job done, and the discovery resulted in a top-of-the-line stump cutter design that is still used today.
    Vermeer’s signature innovation, one that would revolutionize the hay harvesting industry forever, came in 1971. Gary Vermeer went on an early morning walk with a close friend who shared with him some disheartening news: he intended to sell his cow-calf business. It had become too much of a hassle to bale hay and he couldn’t find dependable hired hands to help him put it up. To him, selling his business was the only solution.
    Gary Vermeer realized that the ideal solution just hadn’t been built yet. So the next morning he set out to design it with a team of Vermeer product engineers. They chalked up a design on the factory floor that would become the original Vermeer baler. The first prototype for the “One-Man Hay System” rolled out the door 45 days later. Vermeer balers started being produced commercially in 1972.
    One of Vermeer’s most popular balers ever built rolled out of Vermeer’s factories in Pella, 28 years later, meeting a need some customers didn’t know they had. In an effort to produce smaller hay packages and meet the needs of part-time farmers who wanted the freedom and convenience of rolling their own bales (and according to their own schedules), Vermeer introduced the Rebel® Baler in 1999.
    Vermeer’s line of hay harvesting machinery has grown considerably since the first round baler was introduced 41 years ago. Balers, along with rakes, tedders, mowers, silage wrappers and bale processors, make up the complete line of forage products. Operators can depend on Vermeer machines throughout the entire hay harvesting and feeding process.
    In addition to providing innovative forage solutions here in the United States, Vermeer continues to have a positive impact on quality of life in all corners of the world. Vermeer products appear on job sites from Russia to Brazil and from New Zealand to Canada. Not bad for a company that maintains a personal bond and deep-seated commitment to the town and community that has supported the company since the start – Pella, Iowa.
    If innovation is the engine that has powered this market-driven, family-owned company the past six decades, it’s people who keep that engine running smoothly. Every department – from product engineering to manufacturing and from financing to parts and service – is staffed with energetic people who are committed to meeting the needs of Vermeer dealers and customers.
    Today, the Vermeer team couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with Great Plains Equipment Sales. The people at Great Plains understand the philosophy that has served Vermeer so well over the years: find a need, fill that need with a product built to last, and simply build the best.
    Wanting to provide customers with innovative and dependable hay harvesting products, the Great Plains team turned to the company that revolutionized the forage industry. Vermeer and Great Plains Equipment Sales are both committed to finding a better way to get the job done. That’s why it’s partnership that’s built to last.