Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting to the end of the breeding season!

Well yesterday I spent a considerable amount of computer time imputing breeding records. We use the AIMS program developed by the Angus association for our herd records. This is a wonderful tool, one I am sure would be even more powerful if I knew more about using it. I do use it to enter all my breeding, birth, weaning and yearling records. I fail when it comes to putting in cost and medical records and customer records. Bottom line this is a tool and a tool is only as good as the operator if I had to give myself a grade on using AIMS I think I would give myself a C+. Today is the 30th of December 2009, so I am going to make one of those New Year’s resolutions and that is to try to bring my grade up to at least a B+ by this time next year. I need to take some quiet time to actually study AIMS and make it my mission to input more of the information that will help make our operation more efficient and profitable. We ask for efficiency in our cattle, maybe it is time that we take some of the pressure off of them and put it on ourselves to be more efficient. So far we have bred 7 heifers AI on December 16th the balance went in with bulls on December 3rd, we then A I’d 36 cow on December 23rd with the bull going in with them on the 28th. We DNA test all calves that we are going to register so going right in with the bull after being A I’d is not a problem for us. The last shot was given to our recipient cows yesterday this morning they are all in heat so we are about six days from the end of at least the artificial breeding season. We will be implanting some of the old genetics out of the tank this year. We have several different matings out of VDAR Elluna 97 This famous pathfinder is one of the most dominating females ever born in the VDAR program and several of her daughters are in ET programs across the US. Some of her sons include the $23,000 VDAR New Trend 913 and Alta Genetics stud VDAR New Trend 831. A grandson, VDAR Lucy Boy 2000 was the record breaking top gaining bull over all breeds and top seller at the 1999 Midland Bull Test. Needless to say we are excited to see what these calves will look like. We flushed a daughter of hers out of Bon View Bando 598 last year to Boyd New Day 8005 and have two bulls and two heifers on the ground from that flush. The claves look really good and we still have 13 grade 1’s in the tank from the flush so we couldn’t be more pleased. Dr Harley Schneider of Precise Genetics Inc. will be doing the implanting on January 6th, Dr. Schneider does a great job for us he and his staff are very professional and easy to work with, last year they flushed two cows we got twenty eggs out of the 0168 cow registration #14071041 he implanted 7 and we have 4 calves. The other cow that was flushed last year was our 658 cow registration #14913872 we got nine eggs of which 6 were implanted and we have five calves on the ground from that cow. After Dr. Schneider finishes we will be able to take a little break and just let the bulls finish up! Then we can start getting yearling measurements and planning for next year. I guess that is what I love about the cattle business your never really finished there is always another challenge waiting for you but isn’t that what keeps life interesting?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is your cow herd efficient?

Cow's on the only feed they get hay and grass

What is your definition of efficiency?

If you look up efficiency in the dictionary you will find the following:

1: the quality or degree of being efficient

2 a: efficient operation b (1): effective operation as measured by a comparison of production with cost (as in energy, time, and money) (2): the ratio of the useful energy delivered by a dynamic system to the energy supplied to it

How does this definition relate to a cow calf operation I think the key word is measured unless you take measurements you can’t possibly determine whether or not your cow herd is efficient. I had a very thought provoking discussion today with a fellow breeder on this very subject. We came to the conclusion that many breeders think a cow has to be fat and sleek to be efficient. If this is the case they are off track, the only way a cow should be considered efficient is if that cow bred at an early age (between 14 and 16 month of age) had her first calf without any assistance, breeds back within sixty days and regains her BCS back to a 6 or 7 prior to having her second calf. Now we supplement our first calf heifers and monitor the condition of cows on their second calf but mature cows have to make a living on grass, hay and minerals if they can’t do that they are not efficient and need to go to town. Then you have to find out which of these cows is the most efficient, to determine this you measure their calves, because if a cow does all of the afore mention things but her calf doesn’t grow then she is not efficient and she still earns a trip to town. Bottom Line the better your cow herd becomes the more efficient it will be because each year you’re culling criteria gets more stringent.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

An Eagle Eye

Two years ago my son Jacob came by the house and told me that he had seen a bald eagle at the farm. Well I had never seen an eagle at the farm and so being a smarty pants I told him he was old enough to know the difference between a hawk and an eagle. He said Mom I am 26 years old I do know the difference between a hawk and an eagle, I thought that was the end of it. But should have remembered that after all he is my son and I had given him a hard time about his eagle sighting so he went about proving to me that there is indeed an eagle living on or near the farm. We had stocked the lake and put a fish feeder on the dock, Jacob set up his wildlife camera on the fish feeder aiming it at the post on the opposite side of the dock. Following are a few of the photo's:

Needless to say I had to eat a great deal of crow after seeing these!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gizmo 2009-2010 Breeding Season Has Begun!

December 3rd and 4th was spent doing the cattle shuffle to get everyone in the right place for the work to come. Each year we used a couple of our young bulls on our heifers. We believe strongly that if we aren’t willing to use a young bull based on his EPD’s then we shouldn’t be selling them. In past years we haven’t artificially inseminated any of our heifers however this year we are going to AI a small group to test a new timed breeding protocol (new to us anyway.) We put seven young heifers into the pen behind the barn with a cidr going in on December 8th. The young bulls went in with the balance of the heifers on December 4th a group of nine in with Gizmo Midland 808 0066 430 Registration #16358619 another group of ten in with Gizmo New Day 816 658 8005 Registration #16333727. After the seven are AI’d we will put three of them in with the 808 bull and four in with the 816 bull for clean up.

At the farm we split out a group of twelve registered cows that calved later in the season (not their fault the bull that was in with them broke a leg) and a group of ten recips that calved late for use this year in with Coleman EXT 6149 registration #15730734.

We then put twenty five cows into a pasture to be used as recipients in our embryo transfer program. We will have these cows set up to receive embryos on January 6, 2010. Dr. Harley Schneider of Precise Genetics sends us the schedule of when and what drugs to used then will be at the farm on the date the cows are to receive their embryo. This year we will not be flushing any of our cows we will be utilizing eggs that we already have in the tank, from previous flushes. We have been working with Dr. Schneider for many years and have found him and his staff to be awesome! After these cows are implanted we will put another young bull in with them for clean up Gizmo RT 735 577 464 registration #16029577. This young bull does not have real powerful numbers but we feel that he will make cows that we want to retain in our herd.

The last pasture is our cows to be artificially inseminated a total of thirty six head will be set up in this group. We breed using a timed AI protocol to we will breed this group of cows on the 23rd of December. We will be using the following AI sires for this season:

Coleman Midland 430 #14797532

BC Matrix 4132 #14159119

Sinclair Rito Legacy 3R9 #14378386

Sinclair Extra 4X13 #14774030

Sitz Alliance 6595 #12310707

Boyd New Day 8005 #13050780

HA Image Maker 0415 #13739532

Sinclair Excellency 5X25 #1496982

The Coleman EXT 6149 bull will be utilized for clean up on this group of cows. Last year we AI’d 25 head with 23 settling if we can get anywhere near that kind of result again this year we will count ourselves blessed!

Needless to say the next few weeks will be busy ones. We work very hard each year making these breeding decisions, knowing that a decision made will impact our program for many years to come. Anyone in the cattle business understands that bad decisions can be devastating for a program.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Coleman Angus Sale - Gizmo Purchase

We toured several farms in Wyoming and Montana back in August of this year (see Montana tour blog). While on this tour we saw a good number of N Bar Shadow X4124 daughters at Sinclair Cattle Company, Inc. and just fell in love with them. They were very feminine with flawless structure we felt that this type heifer would make the kind of cows that we want in our herd. We also had the opportunity to see Larry and Dee Coleman’s operation in Charlo, Montana, where our favorite cow family was the Coleman Donna 386.

This cow’s son the Coleman Foundation 972 bull calf was just as good as his picture! This is a calf that has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the Angus breed. A few weeks after arriving home we received a sale catalog in the mail from Coleman and after studying the catalog we had settled on several lots that we knew we would love to have but the one that we really wanted was lot 1B the Confirmed Heifer Pregnancy out of N Bar Shadow X4124 and the Coleman Donna 386 a blending of the two genetics that were our favorites when in Montana. Needless to say we couldn’t make another trip to Montana so on Tuesday October 13th Ronnie, Jacob and I all gathered around Jacob’s computer at the office signed into Live Auctions and went to a cow sale. We were able to get the lot 1B pregnancy purchased for $7,500.00 and feel that this will be a mating that will have a very positive impact on our cow herd. A maternal sister sold ½ interest for $19,000 out of RR Rito 707 while a maternal brother sold one breeding share for $10,000. Needless to say we feel that purchase will be used as foundation genetics in our herd so be looking for more on this purchase in the future!

To Blog or not to blog that is the question!

Ok, I think blogging can be a very good thing, but……when the heck do people find enough time to actually get around do doing the darn thing. I started out the Gizmo blog when I was sitting in a hospital room in Colorado when my sister was ill. It was a great way to pass the time in a town where you don’t know anyone and the patient is sleeping most of the time. So I start the blog get it all hooked into our Gizmo Angus farm web page come home excited about my new endeavor write a couple more entries and then as my daughter in law would say waaaa loooo reality!

Back from Colorado with my sister, now I need to get back to the office and catch up with the stack of stuff the elves didn’t take care of. Thank goodness for the super elf (Wanda) that did keep the stack down by half and still managed to get all her stuff done she is my hero! Ok now for a break-down of the past couple of months to get my blog caught up:

October 6, 2009 arrive home from Colorado just in time to wish Jacob my baby boy at the age of 28 a happy birthday! Home for three days then leave for Georgia and Abby and Curtis’ wedding, which was absolutely beautiful! I am so thankful that my sister was getting well and I could get home in time to attend. Back from Georgia in time for the first of the embryo calves to arrive and to pack for the Sunbelt Ag Expo which we ended up not going to due to the death of Ronnie’s cousins AJ and Ruth Mercer in an automobile accident . I still can’t believe that two such wonderful people are gone from our lives, but know that God has a plan for all that he does and some things we are not meant to understand we just have to accept. The next week was busy with work getting ready for the annual business meeting with our accountant and attorney always a stressful time for me. Then the big trunk or treat event at the church for Halloween and wow October is gone!

November begins with a trip to Nashville to pick up our new border collie Rock he is an awesome dog! We left right after church on the 1st (7 hour drive) picked up the dog first thing Monday morning and drove home that day. On Tuesday our vet Dr. Hank Lee was scheduled to come to the farm to semen test the bulls that we had consigned to the Alabama BCIA Fall Round up Sale in Union Town Alabama and the bulls that we had selected to use on our herd this season. While he was on the farm he also took care of the horses CHIP (Color Him in Pink) and Sonny. Back to work at the office Thursday and Friday. Friday night we head to the lodge at the farm to start cooking for the Paulk family reunion to be held on Saturday. Ronnie and I cooked (smoked) two Boston butts and a brisket and 40 pounds of chicken for this event. Leave the farm on Sunday morning at five a.m. to go to Alabama for the Twin Oaks & Stevens Cattle Company Dispersal where we purchased five lots (which I will tell you about in a future blog). Get the new cattle loaded then go to another farm to pick up the recipient cow purchased from the Coleman sale that I have yet to blog about. Then head back home where we arrived sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Did I mention that a hurricane is predicted to hit on Tuesday? Go to the office on Monday with about two hours sleep then home where I crashed and slept for about fifteen hours I am so thankful that the good lord sent the little hurricane to visit it did no damage other than offer us some down time. Back to work on Wednesday (Tuesday was a hurricane day) leave the office and go the Weaton Worldwide Moving convention in Destin. (Did I mention that we are also agents for Weaton Van Lines?) Leave the convention on Thursday afternoon go back to Pensacola pick up Jacob and drive to Alabama for the Union Town Bull sale (Lance delivered the bulls Thursday morning while we were still at the convention) Back home and a weekend off! Back to work, Doctors appointment for Mom then get everything together for the Leon Branch retirement party at the Lodge on Saturday. Sunday is the Thanksgiving family dinner at Ransom Middle school for our church, it was wonderful they did a cardboard testimony service that really touched all of us. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful church family! Monday its back to the office Lance is on vacation so Ronnie and I have farm duty (mostly Ronnie I have a frog in my pocket when I say we) ok Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday work at the office then Turkey day! Cook, Cook some more then add a couple of pies and stuff ourselves and call it a day! Spend Friday Saturday and Sunday getting over Thursday then head back to work on Monday. Did I mention Christmas shopping? Well got most of that done during spare time now going to get busy on Christmas cards decorating and Party’s that start up next week.

Now we are into December and I am already pooped but have to admit I really love the Holiday’s so it is a good kind of pooped. This weekend Ronnie and I will decorate the lodge to get it ready for the company Christmas party the following weekend. At some point I am going to decorate the tree at the house, but I haven’t figured out when and in my spare time I am going to do more of this blogging stuff!

So hopefully I will get the hang of blogging if not I have figured out they have a delete function on the blog site!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Alabama BCIA Fall Roundup Bull Sale Update

Dr. Hank Lee and his assistant Leigh Ann of  Lee Veterinary Clinic came to the farm yesterday, (November 3, 2009) to semen test the four bulls we have consigned to the upcoming BCIA sale on November 13th. I thought I would share the results just in case anyone is interested.

Lot 16
Gizmo Matrix 0711 065 4132
Registration #16029560
Weight 1680
Scrotal 39.0

Lot 17
Registration #16029567
Gizmo Matrix 721 010 4132
Weight 1795
Scrotal 45.0

Lot 18
Gizmo RT 724 416H 464
Registration #16029569
Weight 1595
Scrotal 39.5

Lot 19
Gizmo RT 730 102 464
Registration #16029574
Weight 1595
Scrotal 39.5

All bulls were tested according to the guidelines established by the Society for Theriogenology and determined to be satisfactory potential breeders.  While we had Dr. Hank at the farm we also had him test three of our yearling bulls that we have selected for use this year one is an embryo Gizmo New Day 816 658 8005 Registration # 16333727 while another is the natural calf Gizmo Right Time 834 658 464 Registration #16333740 of our donor RB Bridget 658 C11 111 cow Registration #14913872 . The third calf is out of our WA Peg 0066 cow Registration #13615779 this calf is Gizmo Midland 808 0066 430 Registration #16358619. Each of these young bulls was tested and determined to be satisfactory potential breeders the exciting thing for me is that they not only passed but how well they scored. Keep in mind that these are only twelve and thirteen month old bulls that already have scrotal measurements of 31 to 33 cm. The embryo calf had the 33 cm scrotal with 96% normal cells and the best thing about this is the fact that we have five full brothers on the ground!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alabama BCIA "Fall Round Up" Bull Sale

The 2009 Alabama BCIA “Fall Round Up” Bull Sale is scheduled for November 13, 2009 in Union Town Alabama. Gizmo Angus Farm has four lots consigned to this sale. There is an error in the sale catalog listing the 721 bull as a virgin bull when he was actually used on a group of heifers last year. The calves out of this bull are looking really good with no calving problems.

Please check out our brochure and feel free to contact any of us here at Gizmo Angus is you have any questions on these bulls or any other cattle we have available private treaty.

Gizmo Matrix 721

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gizmo Montana Tour

We have been in the Angus business for going on twenty years. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to travel to many Angus farms in the southeast. We have also attended National Junior Angus shows in Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas. We try to make the National Western in Denver every couple of years but for some reason we have never had the opportunity to visit any Angus operations in Montana or Wyoming which are two states we have always wanted to visit. So this year we started to make plans for a trip to this part of the country. When we told our friend Craig Guffey of Rainbow Angus about the trip he said he was also trying to plan a trip to visit Montana he had purchased a new bull from Coleman Angus and wanted to get out to Coleman to preview their sale offering. We finally got dates that would work for the four of us Ronnie and I our son Jacob and our friend Craig. We tried to talk our daughter-in-law Carla into going but her response was that although she would love to visit that part of the country she just didn’t have any desire to see every black cow in it. Did I mention that Carla is not a cow person (I will save that for a future blog.)  We scheduled the trip to fly out of Pensacola on August 7th and come back on August 14th. Ronnie began calling some of the operations that we really wanted to see to schedule our visit, they were Sinclair Cattle Company, Sitz Angus, Van Dyke Angus and Coleman Angus. Also on our schedule was Genex and Origen bull studs. Overall we traveled over 1500 miles and we really did look at a bunch of black cows!
Day One

The first day after arriving in Billings, our first stop was ORIgen of the bulls we looked at we all agreed that our favorite was the B C Emblazon 854E 8023  after completing our tour of ORIgen we traveled to Cody Wyoming in route I saw the rainbow and just knew this was going to be a great trip. We had reservations at Cody Cowboy Village and it was wonderful, nice people and nice rooms. We arrived in Cody it had been a long day so we decided to go out for some dinner then call it a night.  Did I mention the awesom beds at the Cody cowboy Village?

Day Two

We were scheduled to go to Powell Wyoming to meet Lewis Hagen Western Operations Manager of Sinclair Cattle Company at 8:00 on Saturday Morning. We met Lewis at a bit after eight at an embryo facility.  We looked at some of their donor cows as well as a large group of embryo calves housed at this location.

We spent the entire day looking at cattle with Lewis we were able to view a large group of calves out of the new Scottish sires and have to admit they were quite impressive. We were also able to see some of the Scottish bred cows in production and again impressive. It was a great day came away with renewed interest in utilizing some of the Scottish genetics in our herd.  We finished up the day with a meal at the Irma Hotel in Cody then called it a day.

A 707 son at sinclair's

Ronnie was really popular with the equine set

Day Three

Craig Guffey, Jacob, Debbie and Ronnie Gilmore

Sunday we traveled through Yellowstone National Park we did not make it to any church services but all we had to do was look around us to see and be able to feel God’s presence! The beauty of this part of our country for me indescribable! After a wonderful day of being tourist we traveled to Three Forks Montana and stayed at a wonderful little motel the Broken Spur Motel .

Ronnie and Debbie

Jacob Gilmore

Craig Guffey

The Entrance of the Park

Day Four
Oops I forgot my camera!

Ok I forgot the camera which to be honest helps me recall items we saw on the trip since, I as the children in my Sunday school class have told me have a gold fish brain. We went to visit with Bob Sitz of  Sitz Angus Ranch  while there Bob told us that he also had a group of Australians coming in for a tour. In addition to a call he received from the Oian's from MN. We started out looking at his bulls that are located at the home ranch then Bob explained that he had a funeral to attend that afternoon but if we wanted to drive to their Summer pasture location Dan would meet us and continue the tour. All of us opted to head to the mountain pastures and I am so glad we did. Dan looked like he was riding straight out of Lonesome Dove and was so very polite as well as knowledgeable. Sitz Angus is just a wonderful operation and I am so glad we had the opportunity to see it. I will have to say my favorite sire group at Sitz was Game Day.  We stayed another night at the Broken Spur.

Day Five

Group of Cattle at Van Dyke Angus

We left the hotel and headed to Lee Van Dyke’s ranch. Lee couldn’t have been any nicer we took a ride out to his pasture and looked at a group of really nice cow calf pairs.

Being from Florida we don’t find ourselves having to deal with freezing temperatures so we were both fascinated with the portable calving shed we saw at Lee’s. We then headed over to his brother Keith’s and looked at another group of cows with heifer calves. It is obvious when talking to the Van Dyke brothers why they have been so successful in the Angus business. You can see their commitment to the breed as well as their customers. I didn’t realize that the Van Dykes had started out in the dairy business but it made me realize why they do such a good job of developing these highly maternal cow families. I wish we could have spent more time with the Van Dykes but had to move on toward Charlo.

Ronnie, Keith Van Dyke and Jacob

Day 6

After leaving the Van Dykes we headed toward Charlo Montana and our last stop Coleman Angus, this portion of the trip took us through Butte Montana and the unique beauty of this area was incredible. We spent the night in Missoula then headed to Coleman. When we arrived we were met by Larry Coleman who took us out to see his Coleman Foundation 972 calf and he was really nice. We also looked at a number of their donor cows, cow calf pairs and open heifers. Again super nice folks with a wonderful program, unfortunately we had to get back on the road heading back to Billings and a long plane ride back to Florida.

Day 7

A Scottish bull at Genex
Our last day was spent touring the Genex Cooperative, Inc. bull stud where we saw Traveler 004, Grass Master, Bismarck and a number of others. We then headed out toward Fishtail Montana to see a friend of Craig’s that is involved in the club calf business. Zane had some awesome calves we toured his place and saw some really good cows and bulls.

Well that pretty well covers our trip to the Big Sky Country. The hospitality that we were shown by Lewis Hagen, Bob Sitz and his crew, The Van Dyke brothers, the Coleman family and Zane will never be forgotten.  As Tom Burke would say Happy Trails!

Debbie Gilmore

Gizmo Angus Farm

Saturday, October 3, 2009

2009 AI Calves

We set up 25 head of cows to AI on December 28, 2008. I feel at this point that all of the cows that were going to have AI calves have already done so. We are totally amazed that we have 23 AI calves.  I don't care where you live that is a dang good conception rate! Mike Childress gets to take the credit for this he does all of the AI work for Gizmo Angus, and we feel blessed to have him on our team. For the 2009 season we used:

• Image Maker

• Sitz Alliance

• Morgan’s Direction

• Sinclair Excellency 5X25

• Boyd New Day

• Traveler 878

• BC Matrix 4132

• Nichols Extra K205

We have used Boyd New Day heavily in the past with excellent results, I used him very lightly this year but only because we want to keep some semen back on this bull. We used Morgan’s Direction several years ago all we had were bull calves and didn't feel we were getting enough growth from birth to weaning, so we cut all of them. We have diversified our operation to include a freezer beef program (more about that in another blog)  and put these calves into our mini feed lot......what an eye opener they exploded and made some of the best feeder calves we have ever raised. We hated to learn (of course after we had already AI'd everything) that Morgan’s Direction tested positive for NH so now what do we do we have five calves on the ground our plan is to steer out the bulls and test the heifers. We saw several 5x25 calves when visiting Rainbow Angus in Ashford Alabama and were impressed with the depth and thickness of them so we sampled him this year. Another bull that I used heavily the last two years was Matrix he worked very well in our program his heifers look really good they are calving their first calves this year and they are looking even better their udder's are beautiful and they are just so far looking like our kind of mammas. My favorite bull of 2007 was a Matrix out of Gizmo Forever Lady 010-036 which is a B/R New Design 036 on the top going back to Rainmaker 340 on the bottom this bull for me is just the complete package. He is Gizmo Matrix 721 010 4132 and we used him on a group of 14 heifers last year his calves are on the ground and looking really nice. I only bred Matrix to one cow in 2008 and that was again the 010 cow and she has a full brother on the ground as of 9/25/2009 I hope he is as good as his brother. 878 was used on some deeply bred performance cows and the K205 bull was used on some low growth cows to get a little more balance in the progeny’s pedigrees.

Gizmo Matrix 721 010 4132

Well I think that covers our AI breeding for 2009 calving now we better get busy selecting the bulls we are going to use for 2010 calving.  The bulls we are looking to use at this point are:

  • Sinclair Excellency 5X25
  • Sinclair Rito Legacy 3R9
  • Sinclair Extra 4X13
We haven't made all of our selections as yet but the above bulls are on the short list. 

God Bless
Debbie Gilmore

Friday, October 2, 2009

We're blogging!

We're entering the blogosphere! We wanted a more up-to-date and interactive way to communicate with our customers and friends (often one in the same!) about the latest activities at Gizmo Angus. As we start blogging - we'll look forward to your responses and comments.