Larry Wagner and Julie Williams have been married and together for a long time. We are best friends and greatly enjoy our cattle and working outside. We moved back to Larry's home place in the 90's and Larry continued his long distance livestock hauling business until a few years ago when we had need of him to be home full time with the cattle. He loves being home, but loved trucking and the people he worked with. As the trucking industry got more rules and more costly to be in the business, we started to build our numbers so he could stay home full time except when he is helping Dr. Julie in her veterinary practice until she retired. Dr. Julie was a full time veterinarian who worked mostly with cattle, cats and dogs, but the practice did all species in a small town like Chamberlain. She enjoys being able to see and be around healthy animals after some days at work helping people with animal problems. We are both quite opinionated that cattle need to be like the cattle that evolved over the centuries to live successfully on the prairie. Cattle that have room to have personal space and can graze as they want to are happier so that is a priority for care. We believe that cattle should be able to have their own calf on their own and form a strong bond. We calve on pasture so calves are spread out for disease control and so they have room to bond with their mothers and play with their calf buddies.
About our cattle
We use old English and Irish breeds of cattle that are smaller framed, very efficient with their feed, and are docile for ease of handling and tenderness of their muscle at eating. We use Hereford and Irish Black genetics for more muscling and genetic tenderness. Both breeds of cattle marble well for a good eating experience. These cattle breeds have been the backbone of the really good quality beef of the old days. They grow and mature well on grass and can be finished strictly on grass and hays without any grains to keep the naturally high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids for increased health to the consumer.
No implants or feed grade antibiotics ever given
Our cattle do not need hormone implants to grow and muscle well. We do not feed any antibiotics in their diet. We will individually treat any animals needing health care and observe the drug withdrawal times closely. We follow a 3x antibiotic withdrawal. We believe in using preventative vaccination programs to keep cattle healthy to begin with. We use dung beetle friendly Cydectin pour on for grub, lice and de-worming. It has no withdrawal time and causes no harm to the dung beetles that quickly breakdown the fecal pats for recycling and to help with natural fly control by eliminating feces that flies breed in.
Across fence weaning
We believe in letting mommas and babies see and touch noses across a fence to let them become used to the weaning process, but still know where each other is and comfort each other. After 2-3 days, mothers and calves are comfortable without each other. The calves are still eating the grass they are used to and have no feed changes to cause a stress. We then move each group to their own new paddock. We usually leave a big steer or old cow with them for a leader, as calves need some leadership after weaning.
Environmental advantages to grassfed/finished beef
The cattle naturally deposit their urine and feces evenly in the areas they have grazed, and recycle the nitrogen, and other trace minerals back into the soil, making a healthy soil profile and requiring little purchased petroleum based fertilizer. We don't have to use a tractor and manure spreader to clean their living areas, again a natural way of recycling and saving petroleum based products. Our lots stay in a grass base so there is very little run off or loss of soil from mud.
Our philosophy on raising healthy cattle
We do not farm, but strictly raise cattle and the grass and forage they eat. Our cattle are never fed any grain. The grass season that raises the lush highest nutrition grasses, that cattle grow and fatten the most rapidly on, is from mid April to August.
We spend a lot of hours moving cattle between small paddocks or pastures to make sure they have fresh growing grass for them to eat at all times. We feel cattle are healthier and happier out being real cows on grass or pasture. Our cows graze stockpiled grass or portioned out windrowed feed in the winter time as possible for the supply that the summer's rains have allowed to grow.
We do not shut the weaned calves up in small muddy lots, but allow them to run and play and find dry spots even when it snows and is muddy. They have clean hair coats which also makes a clean harvest possible easily and keep them healthier.
We use a de-wormer with no withdrawal time that does not harm the dung beetles in our soil so the fecal pats are rapidly and efficiently recycled. The manure is removed so there is more grass surface to graze and the nitrogen in the feces is recycled by the dung beetles in the pasture for natural fertilizers. Since the manure is physically removed by the dung beetles, fly populations are naturally reduced as flies have no place to multiply. We also move cattle frequently so most flies that did hatch will stay on the old pasture and die, and the cattle are less stressed by flies biting them.
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