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Brown’s Angus Ranch enters busiest season of the year

Brown’s Angus Ranch enters busiest season of the year

CENTER, N.D. – The Brown family at Brown’s Angus Ranch is entering one of the busiest seasons of the year for the seedstock operation.

Their registered heifers and a group of embryo-recipient cows are beginning their third trimester; their registered Angus bull sale is 2.5 months away; and they are finishing up gathering feedstuffs for the upcoming winter months.

“We’re wrapping up baling our corn stalk project,” said Justin Brown on Nov. 18. “It will be ground or fed free choice to the cows during the winter, and we’ll put some in our heifer replacements’ rations. It will help stretch out our feed.”

Justin, who also works full-time off the ranch, has been busy rounding up extra winter feedstuffs. Many producers this year baled lighter hay bales with the extended drought, so it seems everyone is looking for extra hay/feed.

“We were fortunate we picked this up from a farmer and got it put up,” he said. “I have truckers and semis lined up to get it hauled home. We are moving about 650 hay bales, so it takes a lot of hauling.”

The Browns also bought some CRP hay that was 200 miles from the ranch, so they have enough grass hay lined up for the entire herd.

“We’ve been really busy working through this drought because you don’t sell your cows or your genetics overnight when you are in the registered business,” he said.

Justin said they were glad to get some moisture in September that relieved dry conditions and he hopes it is the end of the dry stretch in the area.

“It seems we have been dry the last four or five years, so I hope this is the end of it,” he added.

The Browns have started the countdown to sale day, which will be on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m., CST, at the ranch near Center.

“We are making plans for our 2022 bull sale, and are starting to put some December advertising into magazines,” Justin said.

They will plan to clip and photograph the bulls in December, and will soon be sending in some DNA samples on some of the cattle.

They are also trying to get paperwork done ahead of the bull sale.

“We are starting to work on registrations now, and complete other work to prepare for the bull sale,” he said.

In addition, they are redesigning their website.

“We want to be able to offer a new website, a more user-friendly, attractive and updated website to our customers,” Justin said, noting that a new website will make it easier for customers to find information on the registered bulls and females in their operation.

During the third week of November, the Browns ultrasounded cows for pregnancy checks.

“We had some that were in a feedlot this summer because it was so dry and they missed getting checked by our veterinarian,” he said.

The heifers, younger cows, and mature cows all run in one herd on the Brown ranch, and are finishing up grazing on corn and other crop aftermath fields.

With fall grazing nearly complete on the ranch, the Browns are beginning to feed the heifers and cows.

“Our cows start calving beginning in February, and once they get to their third trimester, we begin feeding them, so they get the proper nutrients they need to develop a good calf,” he said.

Justin pointed out the drought was a little tougher on the younger cows.

“We are going to have to start feeding our coming 3-year-olds earlier this year,” he said.

When the herd females get closer to calving, they will be sorted into groups.

The groups of heifers and cows closest to February calving will get more supplementation than the older cows that won’t calve until April.

“About 30 days before calving, they will get a pretty good increase in nutrients, just to make sure they are in good shape and ready to feed a calf for seven months,” he said.

On Jan. 12, a group of embryo-transfer (ET) cows that were recipients of some special embryos will calve. The embryos come from Certified SAV America and SAV Density bulls, as well as Abigail cows, among other top genetic lines.

ET allows the Browns to have more calves from special bulls and cows.

“We’re really excited about these ET calves. We’ve also flushed an Abigail cow to Brown Double Decker 0004 and will have several ET calves of those next year,” Justin said.

The sale bulls and sale replacement heifers are currently in the feedlot on the ranch.

The sale bulls are being fed a ground grass hay and corn silage roughage ration for soundness, good feet and legs, and to be able to express their growth without being pushed. They also have a balancer mineral package and some distillers grains for protein.

Justin was gone one week in November for a cattle tour in Montana.

“We visited two bull studs in the Billings/Laurel, Mont., area, who are well-known,” he said.

Then, they went to Basin Angus on the way to Missoula, Mont., and stayed in Missoula the first night.

“We checked out some very nice Basin cows,” he said.

The next morning, they visited the cowherd at Coleman Angus with Larry Coleman and saw some “great cows.”

That evening, they went over to Montana Ranch Angus, and checked out the bulls and females in the sale.

“They had a pre-sale get-together Friday evening, and Saturday, they had a sale. We bought a new female from Montana Ranch Angus,” Justin said.

The weather has been cold at Brown’s Angus Ranch, down in the 20s and 30s some days with a few flakes of snow and icy roads, but no major snowfalls – yet.

In February, they are expecting some 130 calves. Add that to their bull sale and it will be a particularly busy time for the Browns.

“Within three weeks, it is going to get really, really busy. Right now, it is feed, feed, feed – and putting down bedding,” Justin concluded.

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