Tag Archives: Ranching

The Limb Saw

No More Ladders, Lifts, Buckets or Hand Held Chainsaws or Pole Pruners

     Fall on the farm is a great time for clean up.  The weather is nice, the crops are in, and calves have been born.  This is when farmers and ranchers can  take the time to make their place look neat and tidy. Taking pride in the year’s worth of hard work is ingrained in the lives of farmers and ranchers.  They do what has to be done, and they do it by whatever means possible, and with whatever tools are at hand.  Sometimes safety is sacrificed, especially when it comes to pruning trees.  Whether its a ladder, or the bucket of a tractor, maintaining tree growth can be dangerous, but with the safety and the affordability of the LimbSaw, farmers and ranchers can not only cut limbs safely, but they can do it without any help other than their tractor.
The LimbSaw easily attaches and mounts directly to the front end loader of your tractor, skid loader or backhoe. This commercial-grade chainsaw hooks in  to a receiver on the back of your front end loader or bucket and connects to your tractor’s auxiliary hydraulics.  It’s extra long reach can cut limbs that are 18 to 20 feet, depending on your loader reach. The LimbSaw attachment folds into a convenient transport position, and at only 84 lbs makes it easy to remove and store in your shop or garage.  This saw attachment is super fast and super safe making it ideal for a one man job. At 5,000 RPM’s this saw has incredible cutting power, but it doesn’t take away power to operate.  It only requires seven gallons of hydraulic flow to operate the 12 horsepower chainsaw, making it a perfect fit for compact tractors to skid steers.  It features a reversible motor that backs the saw out of any pinch, and it’s equipped with a self oiling system.  To top it off the bar and chain are interchangeable with most chainsaw manufacturers.
Other than it’s ease of use the LimbSaw is the safest way to trim trees.  The LimbSaw drastically reduces the risk of injury by eliminating common practices such as, precariously placed ladders or climbing in and out of loader buckets while operating a hand held saw.  When cut, limbs fall in front of the loader while you sit in the safety and comfort of your tractor seat. In addition, the danger of chainsaw kickback is virtually eliminated.  A shock indicator has been added which allows the user to know how much pressure to put on the saw.  Like any chainsaw it’s important to let the saw do the cutting, it’s no different with the LimbSaw, and this easy to see indicator make for easy cutting.
Titanium Blade
While most chainsaw bars are laminated, the LimbSaw’s bar is made from a single piece of solid titanium alloy steel, and is laser cut for precision.
Aggressive Chain
Kickback is not an issue with the LimbSaw because each saw is equipped with an aggressive chain that utilizes each and every tooth for maximum cutting power.
Steel Construction
For unsurpassed durability, the LimbSaw’s extension arm is made from heavy-duty square tubing that is double-walled at the cutting end.
The loader mounted, hydraulic powered chainsaw that is sold today as LimbSaw was invented by Wendell McCracken of Pauls Valley, OK.  A retiree with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Wendall and his wife Donna raised eight children on their 250 acre pecan and cattle farm where tree trimming was an ongoing family chore.  Now you can find the LimbSaw Company owner, Frank Casey assembling  his products in his shop behind his house near Norman, OK.  Casey and his wife run the business, but not without the help of a few part-time employees and the streamlined manufacturing of Prifert.  With Prifert handling the manufacturing, Casey can focus on assembly and distribution to dealers like Great Plains Kubota.  This is the ninth year Casey has had the chainsaw on the market, and two years ago Casey developed a circular saw.
The LimbSaw Company Circular Saw was developed for trimming under fence lines and cutting branches that are too small for chainsaws.  Using the same concept of trimming from the comfort and safety of your tractor seat, users can regain areas of property and fence lines that are unusable due to brushy overgrowth.  Regrowth can be too flexible for chainsaws which only grab instead of cut, but with circular saw one can literally trim a hedge.  When used with the rotating actuator, you can pivot this tool 22, 30, 45 and 90 degrees to allow trimming at angles and under fence lines. The cutting head is also interchangeable onto the 8 ft. mast of the original tool (Limbinator Saw, LS08). The total weight of the new LSC Circular Saw with mast is 105 lbs.
Manufactured with unsurpassed durability, every detail of LimbSaw products have been tailored for optimum safety and function.
These affordable saws are perfect for farmers, ranchers, highway departments, municipalities, and even hunters.  There are a lot of saw attachments on the market today, but the LimbSaw is the ideal saw for pruning and trimming.
See the saws at work at your local Great Plains Kubota, or on the LimbSaw Company L.L.C on Facebook page.

This story and others posted in this blog are originally published in Great Plains living.  The official magazine of Great Plains Kubota.

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

Kubota And The Kelly Family

Danny and Tina Kelly know the importance of reliable equipment, and the value of quality work.  The couple bought their first Kubota in 1997.  They now own 5 Kubotas including: three Kubota tractors, a M135GX, M110, B2320, a Kubota SVL compact track loader, and a RTVX-1100 utility vehicle.  Over the years they’ve built a foundation of work ethics and instilled equipment operating knowledge to their four daughters.  Jessie, Madison, Hunter, and Briar can all operate any of the family’s Kubota equipment, but 11 year-old Briar, much like her father, has a true passion for operating Kubota equipment.

Briar, the youngest of the Kelly’s daughters, is the most enthusiastic among her sisters when it comes to using a Kubota.  Impressively, she can run the SVL as well as most operators could.  She even loads and unloads the skid steer from the trailer.  Perhaps Briar’s favorite Kubota is her little B2320 lawn tractor which she uses to clean the stock trailer out after every use.  She’s also the go-to family member when its time to pull their finish mower, but when it comes to time spent in the drivers seat of a Kubota, no one in the family can surpass Danny.

As a foreman for a family oriented company called Ag & Oil, Danny puts his Kubota equipment and advanced operational skills to work.  He uses his skid steer to make landings on rivers, plug spillways, and build and maintain roads for oil field companies.  One of the hardest and most impressive jobs Danny does with his SVL is building river landings.  He basically starts in the Washita river and builds the landing 20 to 30 feet up from the river.  His skid steer usage is by no means limited to oil field applications.  This year he built a cattle lot in which his SVL90-2 was a versatile necessity. During this job the SVL dug post holes, moved materials, and removed trees (even trees that a John Deere dozer couldn’t take down).  As a proficient equipment operator, Danny maximizes his SVL’s capabilities by using an arsenal of skid steer attachments.  Tina even mentioned that “he must have every attachment made for it, or at least wants every new attachment he sees.”  Danny elaborated on the family’s Kubota skid steer.

“Our skid steer is by far my favorite Kubota.  There’s nothing I can’t do with it.  The variety of attachments it can use along with its stability and power make our SVL irreplaceable.”

There’s a Kubota for everyone in the Kelly family, even Tina’s mini Aussie loves to ride in the buddy seat of their M110 tractor and tags along whenever the tractor is in use.  Danny and Tina’s granddaughters, Dani and Henslee Ray, both have Kubota pedal tractors which may be limited in farming applications, but for Danny they’re a way to start teaching them early.

In a family that could choose to ride  one of their ATVs or Polaris RZRs you wouldn’t think the Kubota RTV workhorse would be the first choice for the kids, but it is.  Such is the case of the Kelly family whose brand loyalty goes beyond the color of paint, and into the depths of what it means to be a part of a family.  Tina explained further.

“We have run lots of other brands of equipment, but Kubota is more dependable and seems to have more operating room.  Kubota also has the best insurance money can buy.  They fix everything when needed and never complain.  We go to Great Plains Duncan because Todd, Alex, and the rest of the staff treat us like family,” said Tina.

On any given Saturday Danny and his girls can be found working on the farm or caring for their show calves.  When they aren’t in the seat of a Kubota the Kellys stay busy with sports and showing livestock.  In a time where more emphasis is put on an individual’s needs rather than the groups, the Kelly family shines as an example of how working together can be the most rewarding and satisfying thing in life.  It’s hard working families such as the Kellys that shape the future of Kubota.  They are the backbone that supports the next generation of Kubota owners, and what it means to produce a product with pride.  As part of the Great Plains Kubota family, the Kellys give purpose to our business.  They allow us the opportunity to satisfy their equipment needs which play such an important role in their livelihood.

To learn more about Kubota equipment visit www.gpkubota.com

Great Plains Living

Great Plains Living

Great Plains Living is a 32 page full color magazine that is printed every quarter for our customers and others at Great Plains Kubota.  We print 10,000 copies and are steadily growing.  The magazine is all about life on the great plains.  From hunting to farming and religion to cooking this magazine covers it.

Get Your Forage Equipment in Shape in 5 Simple Steps

Athletes use the off-season to get stronger and faster, hone skills and recover from injuries sustained during the year. Once the season ends, preparations for next season begin, and success in the off-season requires a sound plan.
     The same can be said of off-season maintenance programs for forage equipment. So we spoke with Jerry Bandstra, Senior Service Technician at Vermeer Corporation, who helped us develop a 5-step plan that can get your yellow iron in shape this off-season.
1. Learn from Last Year
     During hay season you may encounter equipment issues you plan to have inspected in the off-season. But by the time your equipment is delivered for maintenance in the winter, that squeaking sound you heard back in August may have slipped your mind. Bandstra recommends logging any issues that come up during the season so you can share them with your Vermeer dealer come maintenance time.
2. A Clean Machine Sleeps Well
     After working hard out in the hay fields all summer long, the temptation is to simply store your forage equipment and worry about maintenance issues come spring. Bandstra encourages Vermeer customers to clean off their forage equipment prior to storage.
     For this, Bandstra recommends using an air gun to blow away dirt, grit and hay debris. He cautions that using a power sprayer can lead to rusting if parts are still wet when put into storage.  In addition, he advocates changing filters and the oil, and cleaning and lubricating components that need to be manually greased, like gears, chains and the PTO on Vermeer balers.
3.  Give It a Good Look
     Potential problems are easily overlooked. Components may look fine and still operate well, and yet under the surface they are ready to be replaced. Bandstra recommends performing a close examination of heavy wear areas, like the pickup, tailgate and netwrap system on Vermeer balers. Also, be sure to inspect pickup tines on balers and rakes and replace any that are wearing out.
4. Safety First
     Your own personal safety is paramount, which is why Bandstra encourages all Vermeer customers to inspect their safety features regularly to make sure everything is functioning properly. This not only includes your fire extinguishers, floodlights, and safety chains and guards, but also make sure wheel bearings are tight.
5. Get It Down to the Dealership
     You know your forage equipment inside and out, as do the service technicians at Great Plains Kubota. Delivering your forage equipment for routine maintenance will prolong the life of your machines, bolster performance in the fields, and maximize your return on investment.
     As mentioned earlier, be sure to share with your service technician anything you observed out in the field or during your end-of-season inspection. Lastly, aim to get your equipment in sooner than later. Bandstra notes that service shops get ultra busy later in the winter when folks are scrambling to get their forage equipment in shape for the upcoming hay season.

By Vermeer Corporation – www.greatplainskubota.com

What Is Bale Grazing

By Bill Clark

Minimize feeding efforts with a method that offers multiple benefits to
livestock and land.

What in the world is this all about?  Simply put, bale grazing means that you stack hay during summer in a position that allows you to feed cows a controlled amount of hay by simply moving a few feet of electric fence.
    My family operates a small cow/calf operation near Roff, OK.  My wife Betty, our son Garrett and I do most of the work on the ranch.  We all have “town jobs” so most of our work is done in the evenings or on weekends.  Consequently we are always looking for ways to cut down labor, especially time spent feeding. During the winter it’s usually dark by the time we get home or if we feed in the morning it seems there’s always something that makes us late for work.  
    While visiting with Hugh Aljoe, Consultation Program Manager for the Noble Foundation, about minimizing inputs on the ranch he suggested that bale grazing might work well for our operation, and introduced me to the concept.  We’ve been bale grazing for the past five years (except for last year when we didn’t make any hay) and have learned a lot from our mistakes and successes.  We prefer to leave grass standing and have the cows do the harvesting, but for those years that we have been fortunate enough to make some hay bale grazing has worked well.  I would like to share with you what our experience has been.
Benefits we have found:
•    Labor is greatly reduced.  We have to haul the hay out of the field anyway so positioning the bales to graze doesn’t take much longer than stacking them in a hay pen.  The real labor savings comes during the winter.  We can give our cows another row of hay in less than ten minutes.  Since we usually let them have three to four days supply we spend about 30 minutes a week haying our cows.
•    Tractor wear and tear is reduced.  Probably one of the hardest jobs your tractor has is getting started on those cold days to only run for a few minutes.  If we net wrap our bales, we will use a tractor to turn the bales on their end once a month.  Turning the bales on end makes it easier to get the wrap off but we wait until we are ready to feed them since they shed water better on their side.
•    Land fertility is improved.  I’ve always been told that baling your hay is mining your nutrients.  Bale grazing is an inexpensive way to put those nutrients back to work in an area on your ranch that needs them the most.  If done properly you will see vast improvements in fertility and production of the site where bales are fed.  Research has shown that carbon can be increased three fold in the top one foot of soil in just a few years of bale grazing.
•    Sanitation is improved.  Instead of feeding in the same muddy spot, cows are feeding on a clean area each time they are allowed to have another row of bales.  The late Dr. G. T. Easley, who was the long time veterinarian on the famed Turner Ranch near Sulphur, OK once told me the vast majority of calf health problems are caused by poor sanitation.  Calves that lay in mud and manure and nurse dirty udders are much more likely to get sick.  Dr. Easley said calf scours were virtually nonexistent on the ranch he was raised in New Mexico because cows were widely dispersed with a stocking rate of a dozen cows to the section.  In addition, calves can walk under the single electric wire and lie in a clean area while using the bales as windbreaks on cold days.
    So how do you get started?  Site selection would be a good place to begin.  Concentrating cows means there will be a concentration of nutrients.  Pick a well-drained site that is shallow, rocky or just is not producing much forage for lack of fertility or organic matter.  We have fed on a really thin soiled rocky hill for two years in a row.  It is now covered with Bermuda grass and produces several times more than it ever has, (when it rains that is).  
    We probably made our biggest mistakes while learning how to position the bales.  Placing the bales too close together causes many problems.  It gets muddier and the cows back into the fence on the next row while backing out of feeders.  It seems they are more likely to break into the next row if bales are too close together.  As long as you are improving your place you should spread them out as much as you practically can.  Placing the bales about 25 to 30 feet apart and positioning rows every 35 to 40 feet seems to work for us.  Our bale trailer hauls eight four foot bales so we put eight bales in each row and try to dump them as close as possible to where they will be placed. Getting the rows straight really helps with fencing so we usually take a little extra time placing the bales.  The best trick for getting them straight is mowing the area you plan to feed on before you dump the bales.  You can use your mower to skip a place that shows where your bales should go.  A 15 foot batwing works really well as you can mow two strips and then skip a foot as a marker.
    Should you use string or net?  We have done both.  The easiest feeding year we had was when we baled our hay with sisal twine.  It doesn’t need to be removed as it seems to just disappear when the cows eat the bale but there is a drawback.  If you set a sisal twine bale down for a month or two you are committed to leaving it there because the twine begins to rot quickly and the bale will fall apart if you try to move it.  Net is a little more work because it needs to be removed.  However it protects the hay better and you can come back and pick up the bales later if needed.
    Learning how much hay to give the cows and when to open up a new row determines how much waste you will have.  We try to not give the cows more than three to four days supply of which the last day they go a little hungry.  This makes them clean up as much hay as possible.  The longer it takes for them to clean up a bale, the more waste there will be.  If you have time to move the wire every other day and your cow to bale ratio is right, you will have very little waste.  Based upon our experience a four by five foot bale for every 20 cows seems to be about right.  At that ratio, if she eats 30 pounds a day, they will eat most of the bale the first day and clean up on the second. So if you have 40 cows, make your rows two bales wide.  Of course, how much they consume has a lot to do with the quality of the hay and the weather.  If possible, stack your hay to give your cows the least quality hay early in the feeding season and save the best for the worst part of winter.  
    Lastly, setting up your electric fence properly is the key to this methods success.  The last thing you want to do is drive up to your bale grazing site and find your cows tearing up the whole hay stack.  It’s important to have a quality charger and to take a little time to train your cows to electric fence. You don’t want to turn loose your entire hungry herd in a pasture with just a single strand of poly wire separating them from your year’s hay supply if they aren’t accustomed to electric fencing.  Spend a little extra money and get a brand name low impedance solar charger.  We usually start with an existing barbwire fence down one side and an electric fence down the other.  We drive t-posts down the long side in the middle of each row of bales about 20 feet away from the hay.  Then we use an electric fence reel with poly wire to reel the fence up to the next t-post and another reel to block the end to keep the cows out of the next row.  While giving the cows another row we usually feed them a little to bait them away from the hay.  Unhook the charger and move it to the next t-post, reel up the fence on the long side to the next t-post and move the gate wire on the end to the next row.  If you have trouble keeping the cows out of the stack while moving the gate wire use two gate reels and put up another gate wire on the next row.  Do this before you take the gate wire down next to the last row.  Finally, put step in posts on the gate wire every 20 to 25 feet as this is where the fence will get pressure.  We have had good luck sticking the posts in the next row of bales where it is too rocky to get a post in the ground.  Since we use bale feeders, the last step is to cut the net off and roll the feeders down the hill 30 to 40 feet to the next bale.  It takes us less than 10 minutes to feed a row of hay and our tractor is still in the barn.
    If your time is short in the winter or you are simply looking for a way to decrease costs in your operation, give bale grazing a try.  I recommend that you start small the first year while perfecting your own methods that will work best on your ranch.
    For more information or questions about bale grazing feel free to Great Plains Kubota or visit www.greatplainskubota.com