Tag Archives: beef

Culling Cows

Drought. Dry, sparse grass and lots of blue supplement tubs.

Drought. Dry, sparse grass and lots of blue supplement tubs.

The drought we are currently suffering through is showing no signs of improving. Despite our positive attitudes and all the thoughts and prayers for water that we can muster, things continue to get worse. All agriculture related conversations inevitably circle around to water. When will it rain? Will it be a wet year? El Nino? Do you know anyone with extra feed? How are we going to survive? Needless to say, our whole family, actually the whole community, is suffering from a great deal of anxiety.

This is a common picture these days.

This is a common picture these days.

Let me tell you, the worst thing you can say to someone in agriculture right now is anything along the lines of “it’s not going to rain” or “it’s going to be another dry year”. It’s almost like a slap in the face. Staying focused on the now, making it day to day, convincing ourselves it’s going to be okay, are the only things keeping most of us motivated. This is very real to us.

Our hay field.

Our hay field.

Every rancher I know is making every effort to conserve water, to become more efficient and, well, survive. Some ranchers are buying and making all the hay they can. They need feed for their cattle and know that is the only way to get it right now. Other ranchers are culling their herds. We are doing both.

Our beautiful cull cows.

Our beautiful cull cows.

In addition to selling our calf crop, where we earn the majority of our income, about two months early, we made the decision to cull or sell, more cattle than we normally would. Selling your mother cows is almost like selling your future and past. These are cows whose genetics were planned years before they were ever born. We watched their births, we watched them grow up, we cared for them their whole lives, we watched them, in turn, give birth. Now we must sell them.

The auction ring.

The auction ring.

Granted, culling cows is a necessity for a healthy herd. Removing genetics that are not efficient makes your herd more sustainable. And, ranching is a business. If a cow is not making you money, she is costing you money. Most of us operate within such tight margins, we simply can’t afford to have the deadweight, even in a good year.

Some of our girls.

Some of our girls.

It’s different when you are forced to cull cows before they are ready. The drought has forced such action. Cows that had calves that weren’t “perfect”, older cows, cows that simply looked at us the wrong way at the wrong time, all were sold. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to some of these good cows.

We sent a full truck to the sale.

We sent a full truck to the sale.

This is our reality. If we want to continue to ranch despite this drought, tough choices need to be made. Having healthy cattle and ground is our only option and that means doing whatever we must to sustain those things. Running less cattle on our dry ground will cause less stress to everything, therefore when it does rain again (and it will!!), we will be able to bounce back faster and better.

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Wordless Wednesday: They Match!

 

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Giveaway: “Vintage” Poster

I love a good giveaway! Especially when it means I get something!

I had a nail in one of the tires on my truck, so while waiting for the nice people over at Les Schwab to fix it for me, I accidentally did some shopping.

I found the coolest posters! I had to buy them! Since I don’t have room in my house for all three, I’m doing a giveaway!!! Two of these are going to be adorable framed in my office, one is going to be adorable somewhere in your home!

This giveaway is for one of these posters! You pick!

 

Cows!

Cows!

OR

Canning!

Canning!

OR

Cameras!

Cameras!

 

I will select a winner next Tuesday, July 10, 2014, using random.org. Just leave me a comment below!!

Good luck!

 

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Payday

How often do you get a paycheck from your job? Once a month? Every two weeks? Once a year?

Dogs, helping with the cattle.

Dogs, helping with the cattle.

For many of us in agriculture it is normal to receive one or two paydays a year. That is it. We must budget those few paydays to last, and with all the unknown variables that are apt to happen in agriculture, that can  be a huge challenge. For us, payday is when we sell this year’s crop of animals or harvest. For farmers and ranchers that specialize in one product, like beef cattle, we work all year for this one day.

Where our cattle live in the winter.

Where our cattle live in the winter.

We sold this year’s calf crop today. As I was sitting at the auction, I realized that not many people outside of beef production, get the chance to experience what I experienced today. I want to show you what a cattle sale looks like.

What an average animal sale looks like.

What an average animal sale looks like.

But first I want to talk about what it took for us to get to this point. This calf crop is the result of almost two years of work. From planning the pregnancies of our Mama cows, to the birth and growth of the calves themselves.

Look at this little cowgirl.

Look at this little cowgirl.

The calves we sold today were almost a year old. My family has spent every day since before their conception with this herd. We selected the bulls we felt would best improve our herd,  we watched as the Mama cow’s bellies grew, we helped them give birth, we spent countless hours watching and protecting them. If you want to know more about the process, please look through the Beef archives to the right of this post.

This is when we de-wormed and vaccinated our babies.

This is when we de-wormed and vaccinated our babies.

When we watch the sale of these calves a whole range of emotions course through us. Part of you wants to grieve for the loss of these animals that you have spent so much time with, becoming attached happens regardless. Part of you feels pleasure, watching these beautiful animals walk around ring. Then you feel thankfulness because you have successfully brought them to market. Often feeling incredibly proud is yet another emotion, the knowledge that I am helping to feed my country is amazing.

This is how we ship our cattle, in huge cattle trucks. The bottom is what they look like inside.

This is how we ship our cattle, in huge cattle trucks. The bottom is what they look like inside.

Needless to the blend of emotions causes a lot of stress, anxiety, but eventually relief and in a good year, joy.

My little cousin was giving me a back rub to help with the stress of selling our cattle today. It was a nice treat.

My little cousin was giving me a back rub to help with the stress of selling our cattle today. It was a nice treat.

Ok, now on to the auction part. If the past we’ve sold our cattle multiple different ways. From video sales in years past to a more traditional way of literally taking them to market.

This is how we sold our cattle today, it is the traditional way of trucking your cattle to market:

This is how we’ve sold our cattle in the past, a video sale:

Each method has it’s pro’s and con’s, but we’ve been very happy with both. Hopefully, this summer I can attend a larger video sale and go more in depth about it for this blog.

Our family is grateful for today to be over. Our emotions have been all over the map and we will talk about nothing else amongst ourselves for the next few days. However, we are thankful that we can continue to do what we love and look forward to many more generations of ranching.

 

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Brown Ranch Hamburger Beef Animal Share

Brown Ranch Hamburger Beef Animal Share 

We are excited to expand our grass-fed meat program! We are offering a chance to buy a live beef animal share! As always, our certified Natural Black Angus cattle have never been fed grain, never received any antibiotics or added hormones. They have lived their lives peacefully and humanely on our 6th generation cattle ranch, enjoying winter and spring in the Sacramento Valley and a second spring and summer in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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We are offering the following shares: 

A petite share – 10 lbs of hamburger for $55.

A small share – 20 lbs of hamburger for $105.

A medium share – 50 lbs of hamburger for $250.

A large share – 100 lbs of hamburger for $475.

A paleo share – 200 lbs of hamburger for $900.

Please contact Megan Brown (530) 518-4432 or megrbrown@gmail.com for more information. 

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Ag Hag

http://shannonrosan.com/

http://shannonrosan.com/

 

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Video: Pushing Calves

This is from March, 20, 2014. We de-wormed these calves with pour on Ivomec.

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Wordless Wednesday: The Master

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Beef Tips in Gravy

As a cattle rancher, most people assume my favorite thing is steak and I eat them all the time. Not true. As well all know (or we should), a beef is not made out of pure steak. There are lots and lots of other cuts that make up a beef carcass. In my book, steak can be a whisper overrated. I thoroughly enjoy the lesser known cuts of beef. Plus my Parents get seriously pissed off when I eat all the steaks.

I could eat this almost every day. Especially if the roasted broccoli is involved.

I could eat this almost every day. Especially if the roasted broccoli is involved.

When my clients buy a beef from me, often they will get cuts of beef they’ve never seen before. Since buying meat from me is a full service program, I am here to offer suggestions, ideas and recipes to use their less familiar cuts. This is one of the recipes I like to share.

My Mom and I split this roast, I made Beef Tips, she made stew.

My Mom and I split this roast, I made Beef Tips, she made stew.

This is arguably my favorite meal. It is my ultimate death row food. I’ve started and ended relationships over this meal.  It’s easy, cheap and amazing. This is some powerful, powerful juju, not to be taken lightly. I’m imparting some great power to you here, use it for good.

You will  need...

You will need…

Beef Tips in Gravy

  • 2 pounds cubed beef  (stew meat, bottom round, arm roasts all work – basically you want to use a cut of meat that likes to be cooked low and slow) (venison also work well)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 package dry onion soup
  • Pepper
It looks hideous before you cook it, I know. But doesn't most delicious things?

It looks hideous before you cook it, I know. But doesn’t most delicious things?

Mix together all the ingredients and place in covered casserole dish for 3 hours at 300. This is also a great crockpot meal.

After the baking for 3 hours or crockpoting on high for 4 hours, its ready. Your house will smell savory and meaty and it will bring all the boys to your yard.

Serve this over noodles (my favorite because that is how my Mom does it), rice or mashed potatoes. Make sure you have some warm bread to mop up all the gravy. Then go take a nap.

Seriously, I will cut people for these leftovers.

Check on this recipe from Life on a Kanas Cattle Ranch for Beefy Noodles!

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Giveaway: Beef and Chop’n’Stir

As most of you know, the West is in the middle of a major drought. Until recently there was no rain. The grass was dead, the ranch was brown and withered.
Thankfully, it rained. It rained enough to get the creeks flowing and the green grass growing. In fact, it’s getting ready to rain right now!

The giveaway items! Brown Ranch hamburger and a chop and stir thing.

The giveaway items! Brown Ranch hamburger and a chop and stir thing.

We were so thrilled with the rain and the green grass, my Mom wanted to put some good karma out there and do a giveaway! We recently discovered this wonderful tool, called the chop and stir. It makes hamburger into nice, little, even crumbles. I love my hamburger like that, especially in tacos.

A pound of burger is quickly chopped into little, even crumbles. Yum.

A pound of burger is quickly chopped into little, even crumbles. Yum.

I feel like the meat cooks faster too.

I feel like the meat cooks faster too.

Unfortunately, I can only give the meat to a local person, because I am too afraid to ship. But if you aren’t local, you still get the chop and stir. All you have to do is leave me a comment below and I will use random.org to select a winner next Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Good luck!

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, Beef, food, Giveaway, meat, photos, Ranch life, Uncategorized