Gents, don’t take her for granted.

I spend a lot of my days building the physical plant of the ranch.  Improvements such as fence (lots of it), loafing sheds, pens, etc.  Other times of the year it is farming the wheat, aerating the grass, killing cedar, working the calves….you know, guy stuff.  The kind of stuff that gets you dirty, tired and sore.  The kind of stuff that you see when you drive around the ranch—visible stuff.   Without it, the ranch would not improve and grow.  I can get to feeling pretty proud of myself,

Then, suddenly one day, It strikes me recently how much Mrs. Hill does for the ranch.

First, who else could be the ranch counselor to all the “girls”?”

See, this chute isn't such a bad place.

And what about all the great home cooked food (the direct route to a guys heart IS his stomach)?  Good nutrition keeps the guys working. I would say my favorite is blueberry pancakes and ranch raised bacon.

Then it is all the” truck driving”.  Calves off to the vet for Bangs, or more medicine.  Pick up 3 tons of cake.  Drive the feeder to Altus to fill it up for show calves.  Bring me something I forgot we need in the pasture.  Do the filing (I hate paperwork). Time to sort cows.  A sport I take pretty seriously.  I hate to miss a sort.  And sometimes, unfortunately, I make that a little too clear.  She takes it all in stride,  just rolls her eyes and makes the cut at the gate. The list goes on and on. None glamorous, none particularly dramatic, all vital.

And then surely the most important role that Mrs Hill plays on the ranch.  At the end of a day, after the bull goes through the fence, calves won’t sort with the cows, a flat on the tractor…… the wounds of the days battles sting….then she meets me  at the door with a simple smile and a hug.  We have been married for 30 years on the 27th of December.   I will never take her for granted!

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Diamond H Heifer Breeding Program…Part II

Part two of the heifer program (or “why in the world do we breed to Wagyu bulls?”)

Well that is a question we don’t hear enough.  Most people just assume we are crazy and don’t ask.  So here’s the story:

We want to bring in genes that will make the cattleman more money at the sale and the packing plant.  If your cattle have the reputation of placing high on the grid at the packing plant, professional buyers will pay you a premium.  If you slaughter your animals and they capture premiums on the grid, you make more money.  More money is good.

When searching for the carcass merits we first looked to Angus.  There are lines that have great carcass merit.  Trouble is, most of our clients raise Angus and you would lose the hybrid vigor that is so necessary for success.  So we looked at the Wagyu (have you heard of Kobe beef), famous the world over for marbling and tenderness.  Without much question, they are at the top of the heap as a breed to bring tenderness and marbling to the table (literally).  Then you look at the pros and cons of the breed.

Pros: Carcass merit, GREAT CALVING EASE, Black Gene.
Cons:  Phenotype (especially rear quarter), lack feed efficiency, lack milk, lack of efficiency, low mothering traits.

At first glance that seems like a lot to overcome.  Well those cons of the Wagyu are the strengths of the Braunvieh.  Our Braunvieh have great rear quarters, lots of milk and are extremely feed efficient.  Then you add in the calving ease, especially with heifers and it is a genetic match.  The proof is in the puddin and as  these pictures illustrate, they are good looking animals.  Ones that do not make the breeding grade make wonderful grass fed and corn finished animals.  YUM!

A wagyu out of a fullblood Braunvieh

13W , a year old halfblood Wagyu, was DNA tested at Pfiser.  She was in the top 20 percent of our breed tested in feed efficiency, top 1 percent in marbling and top 13 percent in tenderness!

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The Diamond H Heifer Breeding Program

The heifer breeding program on the Diamond H. (part 1)

T

This one's for sale, will be AI'd to Riss Fabian

he time is upon us to breed the fall heifers.  Breeding is my second favorite time on the ranch….calving is of course the coup de gras! All heifers are bred one month before cows.  That allows them to have a little more time to recover from the stress of birth and mother hood to give them a better shot at being bred back as a “sophomore” and to assimilate into our

Hari Daughters are maternal with lots of performance.

program with their older peers.   We breed the majority of our heifers as one year olds. Therefore, when it is time to breed back they are at a very difficult time of life.  The’re losing their teeth making it uncomfortable and more difficult to eat.  Add to that the fact that their calf is taking the valuable nutrition they still need to make the transition to a mature cow, you get the result that the sophomore is the most difficult animal on the ranch to breed.  We give them the very best nutrition we can to give them the best chance to stay in the program.  Part two of this installment is coming soon.

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