Cattle

Cattle

The cattle operation deals mainly in providing other producers with good quality, young, bred females. occasionally bringing in custom cattle for the grazing season.

Some of the Things We Do

The Ranch operation is managed by Darrel Walker, his wife Peggy, and their small staff of ranch hands. 

Moving from a small mixed- breed herd of cows used to mainly provide meat and milk for the family, then a registered Hereford herd in the 1950’s, the operation is now comprised of mainly commercial Angus cattle including yearlings, bred heifers and  to today’s commercial Angus herd, this cattle operation deals mainly in providing other producers with good quality, young, bred females. occasionally bringing in custom cattle for the grazing season.  

This dovetails into a cow/calf pairs  enterprise which has varied from 1,000 hd of cows calving in the spring with as few as 100 hd, depending on the marketing opportunities for different types of stock in a given year both feeder calves and bred females.  Development of replacement heifers for the breeding herd is one of the major challenges facing many beef producers, but GDBF’s land base, mostly non-arable pasture, is well suited for raising healthy stock.  As such, cattle, albeit in different forms, are a natural product line for GDBF. 

 By implementing an intensive rotational grazing method the operation has benefitted by more than doubling the overall carrying capacity of the pasture acres.  It means extra work moving herds after only several days in each paddock, but has proven well worth the effort.  Most of the cattle work, other than winter feeding, is done off the back of a horse. This is very hard and difficult work that doesn’t have a time clock attached to it.  The demands are onerous and the conditions in West Central Sask don’t create a plethora of great weather.

 

 

Using methods and skills developed to minimize the stress on the animals is of key importance to the operators.  Even cattle handling facilities are built with this in mind, incorporating the use of Bud William’s low-stress handling techniques and with the help of Dr. Joe Stookey from the U of S, a facility designed for efficient and humane handling of the animals.

  Intensive rotational grazing

As cattle producers, we understand the need to raise more beef using fewer resources. Global meat demand is expected to surge by 70 per cent by 2050 due to a growing world population, particularly the middle class. As part of the global livestock industry we need to ensure that we are able to meet this demand by supplying high quality protein while optimizing the use and sustainability of limited natural resources.

Cattle yard and surrounding pasture
Cattle yard and surrounding pasture

 

Market Dynamics

The cattle industry is challenging in many ways; here are some of the challenges faced:

North America accounts for more than one-quarter of the world's beef supply. Production per animal is highly efficient, particularly in the United States and Canada, but aspects of the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the system need critical review. 

Production units, especially concentrated systems like feedlots, face substantial regulatory pressure related to air and water quality, food safety issues, and animal welfare/animal rights issues. These pressures will increase in the future, as will concerns about effects of beef production on greenhouse gas emissions. 

Public concerns for food safety will focus greater attention on animal traceability and liability associated with food borne pathogens. Animal rights activism and consumer perceptions about “factory farming” production methods will challenge the use of concentrated feeding operations and pharmacological technologies in North American beef production systems.