"Where Passion, hardwork, and dedication are just a way of life for one Agriculture enthusiast that wants to share the industry with you"

Monday, 30 May 2011

There's more to it than just the Cattle ......

Hi everyone I apologize for not being able to blog for a few days. I have been busy at 4-H on Parade. It was a great time, but this year was much more sad than other years.... People don't often realize the great people you meet through the cattle industry. It' s much more than just cattle, showing, selling, advertising, and working. There is definitely a major social aspect involved.

This year was one of the last years of 4-H for one of my closest friends Keltey Whelan. 4-H on Parade was the last 4-H event we were ever going to spend together as 4-Hers. I originally met Keltey from joining our 4-H club ``Irricana Beef & Multi.`` Right from there on in we clicked and have had incredibly genuine times together. We have been to alot of cattle shows together, and discussed alot of different things about cattle. Sharing our thoughts and feelings on different breeds, showing, and just the cattle industry as a whole. Not to mention that me and her come from two different operations that raise two totally different kinds of cattle. She raises Main Anjou and I raise Herefords. But I can say that our friendship has been nothing but good for us.

Me not knowing anything about Main`s , I can say that I have gained a whole new knowledge and respect for the breed from just being friends with Keltey. I am sure I can say the exact same for her and Herefords, it was hillarious watching her lead her first ``horned Hereford bull`` when she worked for us at the Calgary Bull sale. I think that both our interests in the cattle industry and showing are the majority reason for why we have such a great friendship.

``Me and Keltey at 4-H on Parade This year``

This industry does really bring people a whole lot closer and makes you discover new friends and meet a ton of new people. As well as 4-H it opens your veiws on different parts of the cattle bissinuss and lets you learn new things. If it was not for 4-H I would have never have created such an incredible friendship as I did. It was sad to see Keltey leave 4-H as she is in grade twelve and now will be going to University. I can not thank her enough for teaching me new things, and just all in all being a great friend. But they say the ending is just a new beginning. Our friendship will always stay strong and memories from our past 4-H years will always stay present in our mind. Me and Keltey will have fun this summer showing in open shows, and all I can say is thank-you 4-H for giving me the chance to meet an awsome friend who has been a major part of my life.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

It's More Than Just a Brand....

"Cowboys branding their calves on Roundup"

When many people think of the wording branding an animal, they tend to take two different understandings to it. A person from an urban area would understand it as a mean thing that ranchers do to calves, and than there would be the rural population who know it as a cattle identification system.

With each brand there comes a symbol. That symbol has a story behind it of why that symbol is used to represent that ranch. Our ranch's symbol is 3 over N on the right rib. It's this because on our ranch we have my grandpa, dad, and uncle who all run it. With our last name being Nixdorff, 3 over N is meant to be "the three Nixdorff's". That's how our brand came to be.

There are many other brands with many different stories behind them. Now for the main reason that we brand our cattle. We brand our calves in the Spring to prevent things like stealing, or cattle getting mixed up and lost in someone else's herd. It can be frustrating for ranchers when a fence is destroyed or something happens where their cattle can not easily  be found. Branding can help be a stress reliever and make getting your cattle back a whole lot easier. There have been many incidents where this has happened and people have gone to market trying to sell an animal that is not theirs. Right away before an animal is sold a brand inspection is always needed. A lot of lost or stolen animals have been returned to their rightful owners because of this.

There is many other things that people do to keep their cattle identified. For instance freeze branding, tagging, and tattooing. The only problem with these methods is that a person can destroy them and make them not readable. Yes, a freeze brand can not be destroyed but you must remember that freeze branding is no easy task and for a rancher with 100's cattle it just is not the prime option. Therefore branding is the smartest way for ranchers!

I hope you have learned a little bit of why we brand our cattle, and that a brand is much more than just a brand but a symbol of a ranch. Next time you see a brand or animal remember that it was not put their just for show or to cause harm for an animal but because it is used to identify cattle and keep them obtained to their rightful owners. Branding has been around for many years and still continues to be a successful way to keep our cattle identified!

Monday, 23 May 2011

"The Calgary Bull Sale"

  1. The Calgary Bull sale has been operating since 1901. That's one hundred and ten years that ranchers from around Alberta and other neighbouring provinces have been bringing their best bulls to sell and show at the  Calgary Bull sale.  It is held every year at the Calgary Stampede Grounds usually in the Agricultural building. 


They decided to hold the first sale of purebred cattle in Calgary because the thriving young town was central to the main ranching areas as well as to the purebred breeders. People would travel on the CPR line (railway was the central way to travel) there was hotel accommodations as well as stabling for bulls. The first Calgary Bull sale was held on May 15, 1901. There were angus bulls and females, Ayrshire bulls and females, Hereford bulls, and Shorthorn bulls and females. The high price of the sale was $290 for a Shorthorn bull. The directors thought this sale was a success and decided to make it an annual event. And so the Calgary Bull Sale began.  Later the Bull Sale was moved to March so the horse, swine, and sheep shows stayed in April. 

By 1905 the Calgary Bull Sale had gained the distinction of being the largest individual purebred cattle consignment sale in the world. In 1906 the Association decided not to sell females at the Spring sale due to the expense of fitting them for sale over the winter. Females were occasionally offered for sale, but the event has been basically a bull sale since 1907. Ninety Percent of the purebred beef sires sold in Alberta are sold through this sale, and the breeders were entering their best stock. The practise encouraged was "saving the best for Calgary". This undoubtedly one reason the Calgary Bull Sale has maintained it's prestige for over 100 years. 

Getting bulls to and from the sale in the early was not as easy as it is today. If a breeder lived close enough he simply drove the bulls with horses or hauled them in on a wagon or sleigh pulled by a team of horses. Most of the bulls were driven from home to the nearest railway siding, or depending on the distance and conditions  sometimes carried to the siding on a wagon or sleigh. Than they were loaded onto the box cars for Calgary. 

During the second decade the Calgary Bull sale had also gained the "Baby Beef Challenge" where anyone under the age of 21 could show a steer or heifer. A perpetual trophy was awarded to the owner of the Grand Champion. Inscribed on this trophy are many names of which are familiar today in the cattle industry. Later the Baby Beef competition was discontinued and since than is now annually presented at the summer steer show. 

The Calgary Bull Sale grew and grew. With animals selling for as high of prices as $280 000 in 1981 a Hereford bull from B&H Herefords. Bulls were selling for high prices and the cattle  market was good. The Calgary bull sale was a prestige place for breeders to make money. 


Me and my family have been selling our Hereford bulls at the Calgary Bull sale for 25 years With two of our highest selling bulls going for $27, 500 and one for $25, 000. We use to take large strings of twelve but now have limited our numbers to six or seven because of the decreasing size of the Bull sale. 
"1994 Junior Champion"

Every year we attend the bull sale with some of our best bulls. They always sell very well and we usually end up going home with a few titles. We enjoy going every year not only for the sale and show but for the social aspect of it as well. We feel it is an important time to truly connect with our buyers. We have never walked away with out a smile on our face for it is always a genuine time.
"1994 Get a sire Champions"

Like I said the Calgary Bull sale has been going down in size. The barn used to be filled with as many bulls as 800 and now have come to the small number of about 250. The average price of a bull now is about $4,000. The Calgary Bull Sale is still a very cherished event for Purebred breeders across the province. With excellent quality bulls coming in every year to be sold and shown. I know my family looks forward to it every year.
" In the past years a calf we sold for $25,000"

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Busy Time for us 4-hers!

Today we had our 4-H achievement day, which was a very successful day! 4-H Achievement day is when our club brings all their projects together this includes : beef, sheep, and photography and shows them! It's a great time because we get to show off all our hard work that we have been doing all year long! This year we had less members than usual so the show was a little shorter but still we had an excellent set of animals. My club "4-H Beef and Multi Club" has been running near sixty years so we take everything we do very seriously but still manage to have tons of fun! Everybody always has a great time and we are always proud of our achievements!

Coming up this following weekend is also "4-H on Parade" another 4-H show that is held at the Stampede Grounds in Calgary. It is a much bigger show also for beef, sheep, photography and horse. This is when all different clubs come together to compete against each other. It is a fantastic time and alot of 4-H members really look forward to it. We will also be competeing in judging, marketing, showmanship, conformation and even team grooming.

For anyone interested in 4-H or just wanting to come down and watch the show I highly reccomend it! It's very interesting and great to see what kids in the neighboring communities have been working on! There will also be a steer and market lamb sale this coming Sunday to follow the show. Which is another part of 4-H on Parade that all of us look forward to, receiving that cheque at the end of all the hard work. So come down and support a 4-H member by buying one of their animals. You will not regret it for all the animals are quality fed and cared for extremely well. The best part about it is you can stock up your deep freeze for awhile with the satisfaction of knowing that it is quality beef or lamb you are eating.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

History of your Steak : The Beef Industry than & Now

Today I was surfing youtube, this is something I do alot of in order to find information about alot of topics. I came across a really interesting video today. It gave a really unique informational back ground on what the beef industry was like back in the day, and what it is like now in a modern day feedlot. The extremely interesting part I thought was when they talked about how they mixed the rations for feedlot steers and have perfectly mixed feed to meet all the dietary needs of the animals. This video can really help people understand where there beef comes from and the producers that go to extremely far lengths to make the healthiest and best beef they can for us to eat! For people who don't have much background on what a feedlot is, this defintely will teach you alot of the basics. I know I sure learned alot from it even being a farm kid there is still things that you don't know about the industry. They also give a brief understanding of hormones and implants in beef cattle and I thought they made a very good therough point to the subject.

**Something that I really would like to highlight in this video is the last part when it is said that thanks to the evolution of the beef industry science, and technology and such that we have the exact same number of cows as we did in 1955 but consume twice as much human consumable protein, so if you want to talk about green and environmentally friendly it's todays farmers, ranchers and people in the beef industry that are leading the way.**

So give this video a watch, and I'm sure you will have a better understanding of where that sirloin steak is coming from next time your in a restaurant.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Drink of Life to the Cattle Business!

When many people think of milk and cattle they tend to relate the subject to dairy cows. The truth is milk and a cows utter is also a very important aspect of the beef cattle business as well. Being a purebred breeder a cows utter is a very important subject when being placed in our purebred herd. It can determine wether or not the cow is culled (taken away from the herd) or stays to raise future purebred off spring. 

When looking at a beef cows utter important things are that they have a medium sized bag (not to big or small). Also the size of the tits, you want them to be small so that a calf can get a hold of them easier. Levelness is also an important key when looking at a cows utter. You want it to be level through out, meaning that one side is not bigger than the other. 
"An eleven year old cow on our ranch who still has a great utter, she has raised many successful bulls in our purebred herd"

Utter development is very important for it carries the richest nutrients of all that goes through a calfs body. Calves live off their mothers milk for around eight months until they are weaned. It has all the nutrients a calf needs to grow healthy and strong. Wether they are being sold on market to be raised as beef or becoming a breeding animal, health is a main key component. A cows milk and utter conformation can have a lot to do with that. 

When we are selling our purebred bulls all of our buyers always ask to see the mother of the bull they are purchasing. The first thing they look at on her is the utter. The mother cow determines what the bulls female offspring will look like therefore if the utter is good, than so will the bulls future females. The utter is truly a very important factor when it comes to beef cattle. 
"One of my older show cows and calf, enjoying a nice drink in the early spring time this is when the cows milk is extremely beneficial to the calf in its first few months"

Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Deadly Part of The Beef Industry

Today as me and my dad were treating a sick calf, I thought I would blog about a disease that has a major affect on a lot of beef producers herd health and numbers. Calf Pneumonia is a significant source of financial loss in beef production. It is a disease that consists of inflammation in the lungs, the disease will result in serious damage of a calf's lungs that will reduce it's ability to breathe. It also reduces feed intake and increases feed conversion. At it's most severe it will result in so much damage that the animal can no longer breathe effectively and will die of oxygen starvation. While early antibiotic treatment can be effective in reducing the losses caused by the disease the most cost effective approach to managing pneumonia lies in vaccination and positive management.


For us ranchers treating calves is something that comes very seriously. For every healthy calf sold on market is money in our pockets. This means that any deaths of our calf crop can have significant effects on our total income. Ranchers must always be checking their calves ensuring that they are able to treat any early signs of illnesses. When calves are young they are more vulnerable to disease and getting sick. They also don't have the strongest immune systems developed yet therefore they have a lower chance of surviving . Any sign of a calf being sick, they are treated immediately. Signs include: droopy ears, a watery discharge coming from their nose, coughing or wheezing, and not stretching when they get up.

Sometimes mother nature does not cooperate with us fellow beef producers. Therefore the weather has a lot to do with calves getting sick.  Proper bedding and wind shelters are extremely beneficial to new borns during the colder months. As for the Spring time to much rain, and those harsh winds can be a serious threat to calves health. Grain farmers are not the only ones who need the weather to cooperate for them. Cattle ranchers need it to, to ensure the health of their herd.

We find that antibiotics like "Nuflor" and "Micotil" injected under the skin work well to treat Pneumonia 

RSV, Pi3, and IBR are the most commonly used vaccines to protect against pneumonia. I hope I have taught you a little bit about a common disease that has major affects on the beef industry. Also that it is very frustrating for us ranchers sometimes, we put incredible amounts of work to vaccinate and treat our calves to raise healthy beef cattle for you to eat!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Some Frisky Little Spring Time Presents!

This little filly is no ordinary filly! She is purebred Thoroughbred. She was just born yesterday! Her mother and father were both successful race horses. Her mother is named Tirimisu after the dessert. She has ran in stakes, allowance, and claiming races. Stakes races are the best races a race horse can run in. The purse is ranging anywhere from $30 000 dollars to several million dollars. The Kentucky Derby is considered a high class stakes race. Allowance races are the middle class races that horses can run in with a purse ranging from $7500 to $10 000. Finally the claiming race is the lowest race with a purse ranging from $3000 to $7500.  A claiming race is a race where people can claim a horse before it runs, therefore after the race you are the full owner of the horse. No matter what happens during the race, and you must pay the complete price. 

Tirimisu has mostly ran in Edmonton and Calgary. She has won a total of $50 000 in her racing career and was born in Florida.  She is now a brude mare hoping to raise other successful race horses, and who knows maybe the next Derby winner? This is her first foal. She does not have a name yet. When she gets older she will be trained and sent to the Edmonton Northlands race track. 
Even though this little girl is young. She is very active and agile. That is all part of the thoroughbred breeding. These horses are extreme athletes and have a lot of energy inside of them. 

This little guy is a stud colt. He is about one week old! His mother is named Trieste's Song. She has ran in California, and Keenland Kentucky. She was also born in Kentucky. She has also won about $50 000 in her life career. She is now also a retired brude mare, and this is her first foal. She ran in all different kinds of races as well. 

Taking care of thoroughbred foals is very different than normal horses. They are like delicate little flowers. With their high strung attitude it is a risky job raising them. We have special equine fences set up just to ensure there safety, normal barbwire for these horses can be crucially fatal.

The Big Daddy Him self!

Picture 4.png

Both these foals are out of the same stallion. His name is St. Stephen and is owned by Bar None Ranches. St. Stephen was a very successful race horse in his day. He has won over $300 000. He set a track record at Gulfstream park going a 1 1/8 on the turf in 1.44. 3/5. He is a full brother to "Ashado" (twice champion and Breeder's cup Distaff winner). And "Sunriver" ( with a total winnings of $600 000). His full sister has also won $4 million dollars in her total career. 


To get great Thoroughbred foals you must breed to great race horses with high end blood lines. St. Stephen is a proven race horse! Hopefully his breeding will enable us to raise some Champion race horses!  

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

That Time of the Year Again.....

When ever I start to talk about 4-H the usual questions start to appear... Like, what is 4-H? What do you do? I start off by explaining how it is a club with members that usually come from an agricultural back ground. You can raise different projects like beef, sheep, horse, and even pig. I have only done beef and horse but there is so many others out there! The usual project I start off talking about is the steer project. From November to usually the end of May you feed a steer to reach it's highest potential gain. Than you show your steer for conformation (in my club we have two shows "Achievement Day" and 4-H on Parade") I always take my steer to a couple of spring shows as well. So overall you get pretty close to this animal and work very hard on them. Than the hard but rewarding part comes into place "sale day". After this point the next question would be, what happens to your steer after it's sold? My answer would be.... he gets slaughtered for beef. I have gotten some pretty harsh reactions depending on where people are from and what they know.

People always ask me... why would you do such a thing? And i tell them it's the cattle industry thats what they are raised for! I told my dad the first year I was in 4-H, that I would never cry at the end of the year I know what these animals are raised for and in order to be successful in this industry I must be strong at all times. I also did not think I would get attatched either, but boy was I wrong.

Me and my first year steer never really did have any sort of bond or anything. I worked on him lots and never really thought much of the sale at the end of the year, except for holding that nice cheque in my hands! I had fun showing him in the Spring, and he was not hard to handle but did have his moments. At the end of the year I had realized I had won rate of gain, and also had the excitement of winning reserve Champion Intermediate Steer my first year at 4-H on Parade. I sold him for $2.50 a pound, I was a pretty happy little 4-Her! It was than I saw him standing there in that line awaiting to be hauled onto the truck to the slaughter plant. I told my self I would give him one more pat and then off I would go..... that was easier said than done. The tears came and I could do nothing about it. I had truly grown close to this animal and could do nothing about it. I remembered the accompishments I had with him, and told my self he's a beef animal this is what they are raised for. And walked away with my head held high.

As for my second year of 4-H.... That was a whole different story. I had a steer named Spot he was purebred hereford and the cutest litte bundle of joy I had ever seen. He even had a little spot on his head, thats where his name came from. I remember laying down and having a snooze every once in awhile with him out in the straw. We were the bestest friends ever. It may have been because he was so incrediby quiet and you could do anything with him! We had some good times me and him. People asked me what I was going to do sale day when i had to sell him? I would just tell them I was not selling him. But that was a lie he did get sold, but i got to keep him for a coupe months after and show him at the Calgary Stampede. Where I won Reserve Champion Hereford Steer. After that dad said he had to go. I did cry but I knew I had to do it. The worst part dad ended up bringing him home for us to eat! Even though I was a little weary about eating one of my best friends, I must say her sure did taste mighty fine :)

The end of May is coming and it's going to be "That time of Year again". But 4-H has taught me alot about the cattle bisinuss and I assure you I remember the good times I have had with all of my steers and accompishments! But in reallity this is what the catte bisinuss is and, these animals are made for slaughter! I will always remember them though.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Power of the White Face!

There are many advantages of raising Hereford cattle they are both proven in the feedlot, range and show ring.  Herefords are ideal cattle to work with, with an easy temperment, and proven higher rate of gain than any other breed, why not raise hereford cattle? In todays cattle market it is shown that commercial calves being sold for beef with a percentage of hereford in them will bring a higher dollar. People often buy hereford bulls to breed to their cows exactly for this reason!
These cattle bring in the bucks, but don't consist of alot of work. Herefords are easy fleshing animals, definitely not hard to keep or feed. A little can go along ways with them. When it's -30 C in our Canadian winters these cattle are tough and can make it through, no problem. So for us cattle ranchers this saves alot of head aches!

For us purebred breeders calving in early January and those colder months is definitely no walk in the park. But these cattle definitely make it much easier. With extreme calving ease we barely have to use our maternity shoot or assist in any births. Even the heifers calve with extreme ease and make awsome mothers right off the bat! Even though Herefords are extremely docile animals they make great mothers! You also have that piece of mind that you can handle these cattle safely with out getting chased over the fence, every time you bring a calf into the barn which is always to a ranchers benefit!

As of for rate of gain, I have proven examples of how these cattle can gain more than any other breed. Me and my two siblings have been in 4-H for four years every year one of us have won rate of gain in our club and had one of the top heaviest steers at 4-H on parade. We are always in the heaviest weight classes. We have always taken either purebred or half Hereford animals and it sure has done us good. When we get that check at the end of the year we have nothing but a smile on our face! If you want to make the big bucks, raise Hereford steers!  They'll never let you down!
I hope I have given you some insight on why this breed is so great and thrives all over the world. I know my family has had incredible luck with these cattle! So next time your thinking breeds think Herefords and all of the wonderful benefits that come with these cattle!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Showing Town/City Kids the Industry!

On our farm "SNS Herefords" I bring many of my friends over to experience the industry of agriculture. I feel this shows other people what we do on farms/ranches and gives them an idea of where their food is produced. Many kids think that their food on their kitchen table comes right from the grocery store, that is where they are very wrong! I love showing kids all about the farm life and teaching them about agriculture!

Today I brought one of my best friends out! Her name is Jamie Campbell. She is from Beiseker, Alberta and was very scared of horses and cattle! But that changed all today! She didn't know very much about the industry and that also changed. I took her to see some of our 4-h animals and she now has a better understanding of that, and what that group does. I also taught her alot about the purebred and commercial business. How we raise cattle to sell to market and for breeding purposes. 
She also learned quite a bit about our farms history. I took her to see one of our most prized achievements "Generator 28x". He is one of our bulls who is deceased but left a legacy in the cattle industry. His head now hangs on my grand-parents wall in their house. We have sold semen from him to countries all over the world. He has made quite an impact on the cattle industry, especially the hereford industry. It was quite a special thing to share with her!

She also got to experience one of our new born fillys. Which she thought was quite exciting! She has never been that close to a new born and thought it was an amazing experience all together. I taught her a bit about breeding horses and which bloodlines are good. She now understands what you breed for in horses and a little bit about their conformation.

Now we will have a note from Jamie her self, telling us what she thought about the entire experience :
Hello, this is Jamie Campbell. Before I never really new much about the farm life and how much work it is. Sarah really showed me what its like to live on a farm and how much responsibility comes with it. I really hated horses before, but Sarah got me to pet one and now I have a different outlook. Same with the cattle. She taught me about their breeding operations and what people really do with cattle on their ranch. Overall, I learned a lot and really think this industry is something special. In the future, I will be excited to see Sarah promote her animals in shows and out on the farm.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Saving Retired Race Horses!

People often think that once a race horse is done it's racing career, it no longer has any purpose. Because of this most ex-races horses are ex-ported to slaughter. What people don't know is that these athletic beautiful horses can have a future after they are done running on the track! I am one example of this... During the summer I purchased an ex-race horse from the Northlands race track in Edmonton.His name is Seas Current. He is a beautiful horse who is tall, athletic and very quiet! Perfect for a jumper! I soon sent him to the olds college program where he attended seven months of training. After that he was ready to go!  I just got him back and am thrilled!! He was originally purchased as a yearling for $250 000 . He won $55 000 in his racing career and is now retired and is a jumper for me. He is beautiful comformation wise and has some of the best theroughbred breeding out there! He loves to jump now!

If you are looking for a horse and don't want to pay an extreme price look for a race horse! Don't let the race part scare you some of these horse are unbelievably quiet! I know I have not regretted buy mine! And am excited for the future we have together!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

One of our New Borns! Her names April!


This is my first Post that I have made on my new blog! I know it does not look exciting yet, but it will soon be! I will add pictures of awsome Hereford Cattle, new born baby foals & so much more! I hope all my followers will enjoy this!!! There is so much too share out on the farm & i hope some of you get too see the amazing stuff i see everyday!