Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on 2010

New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. I am sitting in my mom's living room with less than twelve hours left of 2010, and am doing just that.

 Here are a few resolutions I would like to make for the new year.
  • Spend more time in prayer
  • I will no longer waste my time relieving the past, instead I will focus on the future
  • I will give up chocolates totally. 100%. Completely. Honestly....
  • I will stop sending e-mails to my husband.
  • I resolve to work with neglected children -- my own.
  • I will spend less than one hour a day on the Internet. This, of course, will be hard to estimate since I'm not a clock watcher.
  • I will read the manual... just as soon as I can find it.
  • I will think of a password other than "password."
  • I will not tell the same story at every get together.
  • I won't worry so much.
  • I will stop considering other people's feelings when they so obviously don't consider mine - if that unwashed fellow sits next to me again, I'll tell him he stinks!
  • I will be more imaginative.
  • Spend more time working on the farm.
  • Get back on my diet!
In 2011

May God help us see the opportunities that are always around us to do good..

Remember.....Just going to church doesn't make you a christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Freeze Branding Clinic

The Northwest Florida Cattlemen's Association
Invite You to Attend A
Cattle Identification And
Freeze Branding Demonstration
When: January 22, 2011
10:30 A.M. Central Time
Where: Gizmo Angus Farm
8284 Gibson Road
Molino, Florida 32577
RSVP M. Allison Meharg
850-475-5230 ex. 102
Escambia Extension Service

Dr. G. Cliff Lamb, Assistant Director, Animal Science Programs, Associate Professor, North Florida Research & Education Center and his staff will be presenting a live demonstration on freeze branding. This will be an interactive session so if you have questions on herd identification this will be a wonderful opportunity. Following the live demonstration, lunch will be provided by The Cattlemen's Association and Gizmo Angus Farm at the farm lodge. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Alabama Angus Association Fall Sale

The Alabama Angus Association Fall Sale scheduled for
November 13, 2010 - Noon
Cullman Stockyard - Cullman, Alabama
We invite you to take a look at Lot # 20 Gizmo Stephanie 403 906 095 Registration # 15074952
Gizmo Stephanie 403 906 095

403 is a daughter of the established pathfinder sire B/R New Frontier 095 and out of a direct daughter of EXT.  This nice female recorded individual ratios of WW 102 and YW 109 in the AHIR program. 
Bred to Coleman EXT 6149 (Wulffs EXT 6106x KMK Donna J311) from 12-3-09 to 5-6-10.  Safe and should be due near sale time.
Coleman Donna 6139 Flush Sister to the Service Sire of Lot #20

 Coleman Donna 6148 another powerful cow out of the same flush as the service bull to Lot #20.  Another flush sister sold as the lead off cow in the Anderson Circle Dispersal for $20,000.00. 

Or Lot 22 Gizmo Pride 903 717 0702 Registration # 16701395

Gizmo Pride 903 717 0702

This heifer is out of a first calf heifer and her sire 0702 was the natural calf out of our RB Bridget 658 C11 111 Cow.  Tremendous birth to yearling spread in this open yearling show prospect.  She combines several of the breed's leading female sires up close in her pedigree.  You can build a program around a heifer of this quality.

Gizmo Pride 6211 8005 314 Grand Dam of 903


Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 Alabama BCIA Fall Round Up Sale

Gizmo Angus has consigned seven stout Angus bulls to the 2010 Alabama BCIA Fall Round Up Sale.  We invite you to view them on November 12, 2010 at the Alabama Livestock Auction in Uniontown, Alabama.

Lot #10 Gizmo RT 735 577 464 Registration #16029577 - This is a 12/03/2007 bull that was used last year on our commercial herd.  He is a low birth weight bull that should produce replacement quality heifers.

Gizmo RT 735 577 464

Lot #11 Gizmo New Day 816 658 8005 Registration #16333727 - A 10/9/2008 bull that is one of three flush brothers being offered in this sale.  We used him on a group of heifers last season so far six calves are on the ground with an average birth weight of 60 pounds. 
Gizmo New Day 816 658 8005
Gizmo New Day 816 658 8005
Check him out along with his flush brothers!

Lot #12 Gizmo New Day 820 658 8005 Registration #16333729 - A 10/10/2008 Flush brother to 816

Gizmo New Day 820 658 8005

Lot #13 Gizmo New Day 825 658 8005 Registration #16333734 - A 10/13/2008 flush brother to 816

Gizmo New Day 825 658 8005

In addition to our flush brothers we are also offering the following bulls for your consideration:

Lot #14 Gizmo Right Time 833 065 464 Registration # 16333739 - This dam of this young bull was purchased as weaned heifer from the Fink program in Kansas. 

Gizmo Right Time 833 065 464

Lot #15 Gizmo Right Time 834 658 464 Registration # 16333740 - Out of the donor dam of Lots 11, 12 & 13 this bull traces back to the powerful Rainbow All Star C11 donor through his sire and dam.  This should be a powerful cow maker.

Lot # 15 Gizmo Right Time 834 658 464

Lot #16 Gator Creek Right Time 835 Registration #16338419 is out of a daughter of JLB Exacto 416 and and our now deceased herd sire RB Right Time 464 C11

Lot # 16 Gator Creek Right Time 835

We hope to see you on sale day!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cogan Or Cogon Grass However You Spell It Is The New Enemy!

Following is an older post that I just had move back to the top of my blog list.  Ronnie and I were on our way home from work today, the road crews were out mowing, and we both saw it at the same time, patches of cogan grass that the crews were mowing right over.  The cost of fighting this grass is sure adding up on our operation, and yet seeing it spread every time the county mows grass is sure had to watch.  One thing is for sure I am going to be on a letter writing mission to my state and county concerning this issue.  Education about this grass is not just needed it is necessary, and I pray it isn't already to late.  We have spent the past four years fighting it on the farm and at this point I would have to say the best we have been able to accomplish is a draw.  I don't have the actual cost figures in front of me but I know it has been a bunch.

Back in 2006 we were showing some bulls to a buyer we were also giving him a tour of the farm. We drove to an area that we had not been to in awhile and when we got out of the truck to walk around he said oh man you have Cogan grass. At that point we didn’t know what cogon grass was much less what to do about it. We found out more on this invasive grass, when we applied for the EQUIP program the following year.

When going over plans with staff from the Soil and water conservation services one of the items that they recommended we address was cogon grass. We utilized all the recommendations, spraying with an herbicide mixture called Cogan then tilling the area that was infested. We tilled this area three or four times over the summer in addition to continuous spraying. We then replanted the field with Pensacola Bahia. We thought we had won the battle over this enemy, until this spring when it reared its ugly head again in the same field. We have also found it in small spots over several of our pastures. We are on a mission to eradicate this enemy from our farm.

I feel one of the reasons that this grass is taking over our landscape and I am speaking all over our county, not just on our farm, is that people don’t know about it or what to do about it. Cogan grass has spread across the southern U.S. since arriving as packing material in crates shipped from Asia to Mobile, Alabama in 1912. The invasive grass, chokes out native plants and causes problems for livestock and wildlife, this is a grass that even goats won’t eat!

I have been researching ways to eliminate this grass, but in talking to a number of folks realized that many people like us in 2006 don’t realize what a menace this grass is to all of us. It will take over a neighborhood if not addressed, it will ruin wildlife habitat. And most people don’t even recognize it.

One way that this grass spreads is on equipment, if you mow over it, grass on you mower deck will spread it to other areas of you property. When county workers mow the roadways and hit a patch of Cogan grass it is just spreading the growth further down the highway!

You don’t have to be a farmer or in agriculture to join the fight against Cogan Grass. The first thing you need to do is educate yourself. Before you can fight it you have to know what it looks like here are a few pictures take a close look!

Looks sort of pretty doesn’t it. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is one of the world’s ten worst weeds and has already invaded 153 billion acres worldwide. Cogongrass is becoming established in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and has now been found in South Carolina. In Florida alone, it has infested one million acres, where it has displaced many native species of plants. Cogongrass will invade pastures, where it reduces the forage quality because its leaves are unpalatable to livestock. It can quickly displace other vegetation in forests and fields, including native plants that birds and small animals need for shelter and forage.

Following are a couple of articles to read to learn more from folks that know more than I about how to fight this enemy:

Please keep your eyes open and if you have this grass on your farm or in your yard take the necessary steps to eradicate it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Announcing the arrival of Gus!

Ronnie has a working cow dog his name is Rock, if Ronnie cranks the truck Rock is ready to go to the farm! Rock and I have come to an understanding that if I am with Ronnie the front seat of the gator is mine and he needs to get in the back, this wasn’t easy to make Rock understand in fact we have had a few heated debates over that dang seat. Ronnie of course took my side since he wants to sleep in the house and not in the barn with Rock. I will concede that Rock is faster at turning back a reluctant cow than I am but he can’t cook. I am writing all of this to give you some background on just how much we think of Rock here at Gizmo. Ronnie thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread, I have my lap dog Ms. Winnie (she is so cute and sweet)

but in Ronnie’s words Rock is a real dog he works for a living. Now Rock is a daddy! Gabby his lady friend gave birth to six beautiful puppies of which we had the pick of the litter. We chose a little male that we have named Gus, he looks just like his daddy although he may have a bit shorter hair. It will be interesting to see if Gus works cattle as well as his father one thing is for sure he sure looks like him!

So welcome to the family Gus, but keep in mind that I sit next to Ronnie in the truck and the gator~

Monday, June 28, 2010

Going to the Alabama BCIA Field Day!

Well I called in our RSVP to the Alabama BCIA educational field day to be held on Saturday, July 31 at the Auburn University Stanley Wilson Beef Teaching Unit located on campus in Auburn. This field day is sponsored by Alabama BCIA, the Auburn University Animal Sciences Department and Alabama Cooperative Extension System as a part of the Alabama BCIA Seedstock Continuing Education Program. What a wonderful opportunity for producers to socialize, network and focus on our goals in the beef industry.

Some of the topics that will be on the agenda are:

• “Feeding By-Product Feeds”

• “Bull & Replacement Heifer Development from Weaning to Market”

• “Health Issues with BVDV, Trichomoniasis & other Prominent Diseases”

• “Business Goal Setting: Developing a Management Plan”

• “Gender Sorted Semen with 5-Day Co-Synch+CIDR Protocol Study in West Alabama”

For more information go to

Friday, June 25, 2010

Trichomoniasis Trich...What?

Trichomoniasis or “trich”

The first time I heard about trichomoniasis I believe I replied with a statement of trich…..what? It wasn’t long after that however that I started hearing more about this disease and the devastating results of finding it in your herd. Needless to say we started paying attention to trich, our first step was to contact our vet to discuss incorporating trich testing in our bull management program. Following are some of the things that I have learned about trich.

What is Trichomoniasis? Trich is a venereal disease of cattle that causes infertility and occasional abortions in cows and heifers. It is caused by Trichomonas fetus, a small motile protozoan found only in the reproductive tract of the bull and cow. Disease organisms transferred to the cow’s vagina from the bull during breeding migrate up to the uterus and cause the infection. The cow, after having been infected at breeding, may rarely show a very subtle, very mild vaginal discharge, 1-3 weeks later. Most of us would never notice it. The bull rarely shows any indication that he is infected. So, there are no outward signs that the bulls, cows, or heifers are infected with “Trich”.

What are the signs or symptoms of “Trich” in cattle? Neither the cow nor the bull appears ill at any time when they are infected with this organism.

What if Trichomoniasis gets into my herd? If it is a new infection (that is if your herd has never been infected before), you can expect a long, drawn-out calving season, with a disappointing total calf crop. In such herds, it is common to end up with a 50-70% calf crop, strung out over 3-8 months. If the herd has been infected for a long time, the effect may be slightly less. That is, a higher number of cows will get pregnant, but never as many as normally would calve if there is no “Trich” present. Because “Trich” often gets into a herd via the introduction of one infected animal, especially an infected bull, another scenario is possible. In this case, after the first year, the percentage of pregnant cows may fall from 95% to 90%, for example. In the second year, there may be further fall to 75% or less and a problem will be obvious. The reason for late or open cows is the fact that the Trichomoniasis organism causes the loss of the calf a few weeks into the pregnancy. A few cows in the herd (perhaps 5%) may actually abort due to “Trich”, nearly always before five months’ gestation. This disease can cause abortions, but most cows do not abort a fetus big enough to find. Instead, they come back into heat at some extended interval (usually more than 21 days) after breeding. Most cows will eventually settle if given enough time, but their immunity to the disease is weak. They can be reinfected the next season. What apparently happens when a “clean” cow is bred by an infected bull is that her egg is fertilized, but the disease organism either kills the embryo soon after conception, or the uterus’ reaction to the “Trich” organism kills the embryo.

How do I test for Trichomoniasis in my herd? Bulls are the long-term carriers of this infection where the T. foetus organism resides in the tissues lining the penis, prepuce and sheath. Since there is no treatment, all trich-positive bulls need to be culled to slaughter and replaced. A vaccine is available to help cows clean up faster from an infection and rebreed, but it doesn’t prevent trich from infecting the herd. If trich is found in even one bull, the entire battery needs to be tested. Trich can be diagnosed through the standard culture test or the newer PCR – polymerase chain reaction – assays which are a viable alternative to traditional culture techniques. PCR is a genetic test that actually looks for the DNA of the trich organism; therefore, it’s very specific. “It’s not fooled by other trichomonads that we really can’t tell apart in culture. Check with your vet to see which test he/she recommends.

How do I prevent my herd from becoming infected? A few simple management procedures (biosecurity protocols) can assist in reducing the possibility of a herd getting infected. Those procedures include:

1. Maintain a young bull battery.

2. Conduct a fertility exam and culture or PCR test all bulls before the breeding season.

3. Purchase only virgin, yearling bulls.

4. Do not share or lease bulls.

5. Do not purchase older cows and add them to your herd.

6. Cull open cows.

7. Maintain a defined breeding season to identify reproductive problems.

8. Pregnancy test all cows and heifers 120 days after the breeding season and cull open females.

9. Keep fences in good repair to keep your neighbor’s herd out.

10. You may elect to vaccinate, but vaccine alone will not prevent the disease from getting into the herd.

11. If you purchase an older bull verify that he has been tested and is clean of Trichomoniasis.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Social Networking

Should farmers or cattlemen be on Face Book or My Space should we have a web site or Blog should we even consider Twitter? Or should we continue doing everything the same way that gramps did it forty years ago? I am 55 years old and trust me these new technologies are not a natural fit for me, but by golly I refuse to be left in the dust of a twenty year old because I am either to hard headed or intimidated of the technology to give it a try. Social networking is here and I don’t foresee it leaving any time soon if anything I believe it is going to continue to grow. Following are a just a sample of articles that discuss or at least point out within the article the growing value of utilizing these social networks.

I don’t think that social networking is the only thing that is going to change the way we do business. Back in October my husband Ronnie our son Jacob and I all gathered around Jacob’s computer at our office in Pensacola. We gathered to watch the Coleman Angus sale on the internet, not only did we watch we purchased a lot from the sale. I would not have imagined this ten years ago, but it sure makes good sense to attend sales in this manner. It saves time travel and dollars while still allowing us to participate. I would have loved to be able to watch a cattle sale on TV ten years ago, or tune in to a show like Cattlemen to Cattlemen. Registering our cattle has even changed to an online activity either online or using software that has been designed and developed to make our lives easier and more efficient.

I am not saying that I don’t ever want to attend another cattle sale. I love attending sales and seeing old friends and meeting new people that share my interest. I also love attending events such as the National Western Livestock show this is another way to interact with other breeders; I look forward to attending a National Cattlemen’s Convention it is definitely on my bucket list. But I am also going to continue to develop my social networking abilities. I still haven’t been able to spread my wings on twitter but I am not going to give up until I crash and burn!

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Alabama BCIA "EPD Bull Sale" Brochure

The 21st Annual Alabama BCIA EPD Bull and the BCIA Genetic Verified Heifer Sale is scheduled for, February 26, 2010 at 11:00 am at the Montgomery Stockyards in Montgomery, Alabama. Each bull that sells in this sale must be registered with a recognized breed association and have EPD’s listed for 3 of the 4 traits, all bulls must have a minimum adjusted weaning weight of 525 lbs for nomination. Both birth and weaning weights are required for nomination into this sale. The age range of bulls in this sale is January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008. A minimum scrotal circumference of 32 cm is required for all bulls selling, and all bulls have to have a current (within 60 days) BSE (Breeding Soundness Exam). Each bull that sells in this sale is guaranteed to be a breeder by the consignor for a period of six months following the sale. Gizmo Angus Farm has been participating in this sale for a number of years and we have consigned six bulls for 2010. Our consignment consists of the following:

Lot #13

SAV 004 Density sire of lot #13

Gizmo Density 807 0058 4336 Registration # 16333721 this calf is out of SAV 004 Density 4336 and WA Black Belle 0058 that is a direct daughter of the famous H 96 Black Belle 442.

Lot # 14

Nichols Extra K205 Sire of Lot #14 and 15

Gizmo Extra 810 0556 K205 Registration # 16333722 this calf is out of Nichols Extra K205 and Finks Pride 0556 6256 RT a nice Right Time daughter purchased as an open heifer from the Finks program in Kansas.

Lot # 15

V D A R Elluna 97 Grand Dam of lot 15

Gizmo Extra 819 0168 K205 registration #16333728 another really nice calf out of Nichols Extra K205 and a cow that we have used as a donor in our program, Sweetwater Elluna 0168, this cow goes back to the maternal powerhouse V D A R Elluna 97. A maternal brother to this young bull was the co-high selling bull at the 2008 BCIA Fall Round up Sale.

Lot # 16

Morgan's Direction Grand Sire of lot 16

Gizmo Direction 828 603 609 Registration #16333736 this calf is a grandson of Morgan’s Direction his sire Gizmo Direction 604 201 111 was a really nice young bull with balanced EPD’s and wonderful phenotype that was selected to be used natural service on our heifers in 2007. This young bull sold private treaty to J. Richmond Pearson of Leroy Alabama. 828’s dam was a first calf heifer who had a birth ratio of 98 a weaning ratio of 121 and a yearling ratio of 107 on this her first calf. She went on to breed back AI for her second calf and is still on tract having had her calf and been AI again for calf number three.

Lot # 17

SAV 8180 Traveler 004 Grand Sire of Lot #17

Gizmo Traveler 830 409 609 Registration #16333737 This calf is out of another young bull that was utilized for clean up on our first calf heifers, his grand dam is the dam of our lot #13 bull. His dam Gizmo Blackcap 409 239C 8005 is a daughter of Boyd New Day 8005 and one of our foundation cows Twin Valley Blackcap 239C.

Lot #18

Rainbow Allstar C11 Grand Dam of Lot #18

Gizmo Right Time 838 010 464 Registration # 16333741 this calf is out of our now deceased herd sire RB Right Time 464 C11 who was purchased for the maternal power of his pedigree. His first daughters calved this year and are everything we had hoped for deep and thick with beautiful udders. Unfortunately 464 broke his leg early in his third breeding season with us so needless to say we are keeping all the females out of this bull. The dam of this bull is Gizmo Forever Lady 010-036 this cow is a granddaughter of the famous GDAR SVF Forever Lady 214D. A maternal brother of this young bull was the high selling Angus bull at the 2009 BCIA Fall Round up Sale.

I have completed the sale brochure for this sale and am including it in this Blog. If you have any questions on any of these bulls or you want to come by and see them prior to sale day please just give us a call. We love to visit with fellow cattlemen and enjoy walking through the cattle with them.

See you at the sale!

2009 Alabama BCIA Fall Roundup Bull Sale

Thanks to our buyers!

The Alabama BCIA Fall Roundup Bull Sale is over and we just wanted to say thanks again to the folks that came out to the sale and to those that purchased Gizmo Angus genetics. I know that Michelle Elmore and her staff work very hard to put this sale together each year and they do a great job. There is also a sale committee that works hard to make sure that the consigners bring bulls that are going to work for their new owners. The sale is for performance proven 2 & 3 year-old bulls this year it included Angus, Charolais, Chiangus, Limousin, LimFlex, Simmental and SimAngus. The sale also features BCIA genetic verified heifers.  Over the years we have had the opportunity to meet and get to know other consigners; it is a pleasure to participate in a sale where you know that everyone involved is striving to produce the right kind of cattle for our industry.

This year 86 bulls averaged $1,964.00. Thank you to R.E. Hall of Mudhole Farm for making our Lot #17 Gizmo Matrix 721 010 4132 the top selling Angus bull of the sale. We also want to send out a big thank you to Terrell Farms for their purchase of Lot 16 Gizmo Matrix 0711 065 4132, Jimmy Sealy for his purchase of Lot 18 Gizmo RT 724 416H 464 and Givhan Land and Cattle for their purchase of Lot 19 Gizmo RT 730 102 464. The most satisfying thing about this sale was the fact that three of the four buyers of our genetics were repeat buyers.

The next BCIA bull sale will be the 2010 EPD Bull Sale on February 26th at the Montgomery Stockyards in Montgomery, Alabama. Gizmo Angus will have six head consigned to this sale so if you are in the market for a new herd bull we hope you will consider Gizmo Angus.