CHINOOK, Mont. – The Crowleys are bracing for a winter storm after at least a month of mild winter weather and temps during the last week of January climbing into the high 40s.
“We haven’t had terribly cold weather yet, although we had a few inches of snow,” said Teddy Crowley, who operates Clear Creek Angus in north central Montana with Sara, and their kids, Kruz, Jaxton, and Kane. “The forecast starting Sunday (Feb. 2) is for temperatures to drop well below zero, with wind chills.”
The family is in final preparations for their 11th annual production sale on Monday, March 4, at Bear Paw Livestock in Chinook beginning at 1 p.m. There will be refreshments in the morning and a prime rib luncheon at noon.
Clear Creek Angus’ auctioneer will be Joe Goggins, and Montana Angus Association president Kurt Kangus will be at the sale. The MAA always supports their members’ bull sales.
The Crowleys are hoping temperatures will be milder for their sale this year. Last year, northern Montana had the coldest winter on record with “a lot of snow” happening during their production sale. Roads were closed due to heavy snow and wind, and a lot of time was spent moving snow.
“We sold the bulls over the phones and the sale was on the Internet, as well, so we made it work,” Teddy said. Montanans are more than used to cold weather and everyone works around the snow and below zero wind chills.
The registered bulls are doing well and are ready for the sale in just a couple of weeks. The video of the bulls is up on the website (www.clearcreekangus.com), as well as Clear Creek Angus’ production sale catalog. The catalog will be mailed out to customers in the next week.
The 50 K genomic testing on the bulls is completed, and the bulls will have semen testing done this coming week.
“When they are semen tested, we put their lot tags in them,” he said.
Teddy said some of the features that separate their registered Angus bulls from others are moderate birthweights, heavy weaning weights, great dispositions, homegrown high-quality Angus bulls and he guarantees first year breeding.
“We stand behind our bulls 100 percent, and always strive to have a satisfied customer,” he said, adding they will keep the bulls for customers until April 1.
Other than that, there are just a few minor details to take care of for the sale, and it will be “go” time.
Meanwhile, calving is progressing at the ranch, and everyone is pitching in, including Teddy’s dad, brother and the boys. They help as soon as they get home from school.
Because of the ice and the conditions it causes, the heifers have mostly been in the barn calving.
“If it is nice, we kick ’em out after 24 hours,” Teddy said.
The heifers are nearly finished calving, with about 60 calves on the ground as of Feb. 1. There are more heifer calves than bull calves, so far.
“Our birth weights are better this year. We are averaging 70 pounds,” he said.
On the Clear Creek Angus Facebook page, the Crowleys have a photo of a Connealy Jet heifer with her Broken Bow calf.
“We love the udders on the Jet heifers. He will flat out fix any udder issues. This is a full sister to our lot 11 bull, and a full sister to the bull Nissen Angus purchased in 2017,” the photo cutline says. View the pair and other heifers and calves and bulls at https://www.facebook.com/ClearCreekAngus.
In addition, Krux, Jaxton and Kane have their own heifers and it makes calving more exciting for them.
“We like to keep the boys interested in what we are doing on the ranch. Krux and Jaxton’s heifers had their calves and are excited about the calves. Kane’s heifer hasn’t calved yet,” he said.
Clear Creek Angus was one of the sponsors for the MSU Blaine County Extension Service heifer development program Jan. 31.
“It was a good program. There was some good information provided,” Teddy said.
Some of the standouts included Dr. Rick Funston from the University of Nebraska, talking on, “Increasing production efficiency - the importance of early conception and factors influencing that,” along with Dr. Lane Schmitt, who provided a regional benchmark for total pregnancy rate and the percentage becoming pregnant in the first cycle of the breeding season based on date he collected.
“The MERCK reps talked about vaccines, and the local veterinarian at Chinook Veterinary Clinic presented data from a spreadsheet on the pregnancy rates he gathered from all the cows he has preg-checked in the region,” Teddy said.
Customers who won’t be able to make it to Bear Paw Livestock for the Clear Creek Angus sale can participate in the sale by going to Northern Livestock Video Auction (http://www.northernlivestockvideo.com), registering and bidding online.
For more information on the sale, call Teddy at 406-395-4962, and to view the catalog and bulls, visit https://clearcreekangus.com.