Some pictures from Denver of the past five days of Congress
Day 5 – Cheyenne Frontier Days
We had an early start this morning, we traveled to have a pancake breakfast to mark the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Day 4 – Ochsner Limousin
Five Rivers Feedlot
After leaving the Ochsner farm our next stop was Five Rivers Feedlot which is one of 11 owned by the same company. In total the company has the capacity to feed 900,000 cattle annually and employ 600 people. The Five Rivers feedlot is 2.5 miles long x .5 miles wide and has 56 miles of feeding space.
The feed mill was built in 1974 and is now fully automatic. This feedlot feeds 2.8 million lbs of feed daily to 90,000 head of cattle. Drones monitor the cattle along with Cowboys on horseback.
The diet fed consists of corn, whey, fat additives, ground alfalfa and hay which is fed by a fleet of feed trucks which each make 100 trips daily of 20,000 Ibs.
Cattle are bought in from all over the states and Mexico. On arrival they are rested before being vaccinated and assigned a pen.
Natural finished cattle are finished over 184 days and kill out at 617 kgs while traditionally fed cattle are kept for 168 days and kill out at 644 kgs.
The magnitude of this operation with its efficiency was a sight to behold.
Subsurface irrigational efficiency project
After the feedlot we visited a a subsurface irrigational efficiency project which is a subsurface drip irrigational system. Basically what this system does is rather than irrigate overground where water is wasted through evaporation – the water is distributed through a system of pipes situated 12 inches in the ground and 40 inches apart. The pipes drip feed the root system and can also be used to fertilise the crops. This system is being trialed for agricultural, municipal and recreational purposes.
Greeley Hat Works
Our next stop was a traditional hat making factory which is famous for particularly its cowboy hats the Greeley Hat Works where we were taken for a tour of the the facility. We enjoyed refreshments here and were entertained by a couple based in Nashville.
Platte River Fort
Then our evening meal was at Platte River Fort which was another traditional fort. At the fort we partook in a series of games. During dinner we listened to a lecturer from the university who specialises in meat eating, we tasted a number of steaks and had to vote on our choices. We were entertained at the fort by Caitlin Ochsner singing and by her brother Colin’s cowboy skills.
Then after saying our thank you it was time to head back to Denver.
Day 3 – Estes – Gateway to the Rocky Mountains and Magness Ranch
Today started with a visit to the town of Estes which at 7500 ft above sea level is known as the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. With panoramic views and only 90 minutes from Denver City is a very popular tourist destination.
After leaving Estes we travelled 60 miles to the Magness ranch where we met by Mark Hathaway and his friendly staff including Austen who was our tour guide for the visit.
Magness Ranch consists of 3000 acres and carries 450 cows along with their calves and the previous years calf crop. The farm has a total staff of nine.
Cows are calved in three groups
- Group 1: 1st Jan to 15th Feb
- Group 2: 16th Feb to 1st Mar
- Group 3: 16th Mar onward.
Cows calve outside and calves are only every brought in if it is extremely cold before being turned out again. Any bull calf with a birth weight of over 95lbs has a band on his testicles as heavy calves correlate to hard calving.
This herd is totally black and produces bulls for breeding. If the cows don’t go back in calf within a reasonable period they are either culled or if good genetics flushed or used as recipients.
Calves are genotyped to check their status in particular to check for homo polled and homo black. If an animal is homo black it will qualify for the Angus premium, a homo polled animal (with no horns) won’t damage other cattle when they are travelling to slaughter.
On this farm the aim is to wean calves once they reach weights of 50% of their dams body weight. Generally calves are weaned at eight months. By this stage bulls will weigh between 700 to 900lbs, with heifers weighing 500 to 700lbs. Calves are weaned but let suck their mothers daily for five days before complete weaning.
Weaned calves receive a mixture of corn, alfalfa and hay. All animals are weighed at 1 year old and scanned for rib eye on the 13th rib. The yearling young bulls testicles are measured on – sizes of between 36 and 38 cms are the norm. These bulls will eventually be the seed stock for commercial farmers.
Cows are kept in groups of 40 and after being served firstly using artificial insemination are placed in paddocks with a stock sire. These paddocks are fenced with six strands of electric fence.
Irrigation is critical to this farm – it couldn’t function without a continual irrigation system, water rights are more valuable than land itself. Crops sown are maize, alfalfa, grass. Four crops of each are harvested with two maintained for farm use and the other two sold to mainly dairy farmers.
We enjoyed our visit and would like to thank Mark and his staff for their kind hospitality and for imparting so much of their knowledge of their farming system to us.
Day 2 – ILC – Denver Colorado – Futurity Show at the National Western Stock Show
The main message of the talk was you must listen to the consumer and produce what they require.
Day 1 – Opening Cermony – Grand Hyatt Hotel, Denver
The opening ceremony of the International Limousin Congress was held on Thursday evening the 19th July 2018. The ceremony was held on the 38th story of the function room adjacent to the Grand Hyatt hotel Denver, Colorado – the mile high city.
The Executive Director of the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) opened proceedings with a brief overview of NALF and the American industry. The beef herd totals just under 32 million cows.
We were then introduced to the main sponsors Alltech which incidentally was founded by an Irish man Dr. Pierce Lyons.
Following on from this interesting presentation we were addressed by Bernard Roux the ILC President who welcomed everyone and thanked our host country for organising and hosting this biennial event.
The flag bearing ceremony was introduced by Rebecca Verde, saw 13 countries represented with our Society President, Michael Gunn, representing the Irish Limousin Cattle Society. The other countries represented were France, England, Scotland, New Caledonia, Sweden, Germany, USA, Australia, Chile, Canada and Estonia.
After a splendid meal and making old and new acquaintances we retired to bed looking forward to tomorrow’s National Western Stock Show.
ILCS Breed Secretary Paul and our President Michael Gunn are in Colorado for the ILC along with some Irish breeders. Paul sent the above synopsis on last nights opening ceremony.