Delicious Hamburger Stroganoff

Delicious Hamburger Stroganoff

Delicious Hamburger Stroganoff

The Cook

Jamie Pierson, Pierson Ranch, Brusett Montana. 

I’m a 29 year old ranch wife and mother to two young cowboys, Cash and Charley. My husband Bo and I ranch with his father, Mike Pierson, in the Missouri River Breaks near the Fort Peck River. We run around 600 Black Angus cows and raise registered quarter horses as well.

The Recipe

Delicious Hamburger Stroganoff
This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law. It was her mother’s and has been passed down through the family. I fix it anytime because it’s so good, and especially when I’m wanting some comfort food. This is a great meal on a chilly day to warm your belly up, too!

The Ingredients

1⁄2 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup canned mushrooms, sliced
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

The Preparation

Sauté onion and garlic in butter on medium heat. Stir in meat and brown. Then, add flour, salt, pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in soup. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add sour cream; heat through. Serve over cooked noodles.
This recipe easily doubles for a bigger quantity.

strog-2Ask the Cook

Food Philosophy
I try to cook hearty meals that will stick to the cowboys’ ribs because their next meal might be 9 or 10 hours down the road. And they darn sure earn a good meal because cowboying, especially when we’re doing our fall gatherings and sorting, can be draining. The days are long and the weather is cold. When there’s lots of cow work to be done and our neighbors and friends come to help out, a nice spread is the least we can do to thank them for their help.

Any advice for our readers?
Hungry cowboys aren’t very picky about what you serve them, as long as it’s warm and filling. We’re pretty much just “meat and potatoes” kind of people around here. These four ingredients always seem to find their way into my recipes: butter, cheese, cream and bacon. You can’t go wrong if you’ve added some of these ingredients to your food!

Cooking Confession
A few years ago, everyone came in after stacking hay bales in the heat and wanted a drink. I made Kool-Aid but forgot to put the sugar in. Everyone drank it and never said a word. One person even complimented me on my good “circus water!”

If you have a recipe you’d like to share in a Dinner Bell column, give WR a call at 702-566-1456 or send an email to

Cowboy Nachos

Cowboy Nachos

Cowboy Nachos

The Cook

Linda Lawler
Recently we were on the Big Island of Hawaii and of all things we had the most amazing nachos. In fact, the best ever nachos, and that says a lot considering our family loves Mexican food. So, when I was preparing for this month’s Dinner Bell column, I thought I’d try to recreate this yummy dish to serve at a family birthday party. To my surprise, the nachos turned out just as good (maybe even better). Within minutes everything on the platter was inhaled and everyone was raving about the secret ingredient: The slow cooked tender beef!

These nachos can be used as a hearty appetizer or a main course with a green salad.

The Recipe 

Cowboy Nachos
• 2 – 2 ½ lbs. Chuck Roast
• 1 – 15 oz. black beans
• 3 tomatoes chopped
• 1 cup of cheddar cheese
• 1⁄3 cup of deli-sliced jalapeno peppers
• Salsa
• Sour cream
• 1 bag of yellow and blue corn chips

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees

2. Season the roast with Jim Baldridge’s Secret Seasoning (or another “meat seasoning”)

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola or safflower oil in a Dutch oven or deep oven proof pan/skillet

4. Sear roast – about 2-3 minutes on each side. Add ½ cup of water, put on the lid and pop in the oven for 4- 5 hours.

5. Let the roast stand for a ½ hour or so. Meanwhile, heat the black beans and spread all the chips on a large platter. Shred the beef and place on top of chips. Next spoon and spread the warm beans, chopped tomatoes, deli-sliced jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese and top off with guacamole, salsa and sour cream to your liking.

• 3 chopped avocados
• 1 small onion finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic minced
• 1 ripe med. tomato chopped
• 1 lime – juiced
• Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients

Burnt Vanilla Cream – Serves 4

pieThis has been my “go to” dessert over the years. It’s easy, creamy and delicious. I got the recipe from Donna Hay’s “Cooking from the Pantry” – a great cookbook I used during the busy Mom years.

• 2 cups of cream
• 1½ Tablespoons of cornstarch
• 5 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1⁄3 cup of brown sugar
• Superfine sugar to top

1. Place the cream in a saucepan over low heat and allow to become hot but not boil. Whisk together the cornstarch, egg yolks, vanilla and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream. Stir over low heat until the mixture thickens. Pour into 1 cup capacity dishes and chill for 3 -4 hours or until firm.

2. Top with sugar and broil top just as the sugar starts to bubble. Be careful not to overcook.

Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili


The Cook: 

Tammy Taylor, Taylor-Made Ranch
Taylor-Made Ranch was established in 2000 by Stacy and Tammy Taylor in beautiful Wolfe City, Texas. They raise registered Herefords and pure F1 baldies or commercial breeders through private treaty.

The Recipe

Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili
Our favorite cold-weather recipe here at Taylor-Made Ranch is Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili. It’s made with beef, black beans and dark beer. I usually pair it with jalapeno beer bread for a warming & stick-to-your ribs winter meal!

My husband Stacy is the king of the grill but I enjoy puttering in the kitchen. My Cowboy Chili recipe is our compromise on the age-old beans vs. no beans argument. I like the beans, and e likes dark beer, so to appease his chili-purist ‘No Beans’ mindset I created this recipe that includes both black beans and dark beer so we’re both happy.

The Ingredients

2 lbs. lean ground beef (95% lean)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1-½ cups chopped onion
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 medium yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1⁄8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14-1⁄2 oz.) chili-seasoned or zesty-style
diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 to 14-1⁄2 oz.) beef broth
12 oz. dark beer
1⁄3 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp. honey
2 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, rinsed, drained chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

The Preparation

• Brown ground beef in stockpot over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up into 3/4-inch crumbles.
• Remove from stockpot with slotted spoon. Set aside. Pour off drippings.
• Heat oil in same stockpot over medium heat until hot. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender.
• Add bell peppers and jalapeño; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until peppers are tender.
• Return beef crumbles to stockpot. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
• Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, broth, beer, tomato paste and honey; bring to a boil.
• Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes. Uncover stockpot; continue simmering 30 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
• Stir in beans; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until beans are heated through.
• Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Ask the Cook

What’s your food philosophy?
I try to cook with as many fresh ingredients as possible. Although I occasionally use a can of soup or box of instant pudding when a recipe calls for it – more than likely you’ll find me learning to make that ingredient myself instead. For this recipe, the black beans are typically cooked earlier from dry beans and the crushed tomatoes & veggies are primarily from my garden. Even the dark beer used is home-brewed by my husband Stacy!

Any advice for the readers?
With only two of us at the ranch most nights, I use the “cook once, eat twice” method of cooking: Serve half the recipe hot and put the other half in your freezer. On those days where you’re too busy to cook, a healthy home-made meal is as close as your own freezer.

Cooking Confession:
Although I typically strive to use base ingredients in my cooking, I make the best and most requested soft cookies using a recipe that has a boxed cake mix in the list of ingredients! It’s so quick that I can whip these cookies up on a Sunday morning in enough time to bring them hot out of the oven for a church luncheon after the Sunday service.

If you have a recipe you’d like to share in a Dinner Bell column, give WR a call at 702-566-1456 or send an email to

The Ways We Graze

Not All Cows Dine The Same

If left on their own, cattle and wild ungulates like to hang around the water hole and graze the dickens out of riparian areas. This fact has caused more than a few cowboys to scratch their heads and wonder if they can breed a critter that'll head for the high country when the grass greens up.

If left on their own, cattle and wild ungulates like to hang around the water hole and graze the dickens out of riparian areas. This fact has caused more than a few cowboys to scratch their heads and wonder if they can breed a critter that’ll head for the high country when the grass greens up.

By: Jaime Pullman

What makes cattle good at grazing? Is one breed better designed for grazing than another?

Recently a reader asked WR if cattle bred to live off western grasses could survive easily on the grasses of the east, and vice versa. The answer depends on a multitude of factors, but the key is adaptation. When cattle evolved as grazing animals, their job was simply to survive and reproduce. Domestication asked them to produce within the limits of their environment and climate. Today, cattle genetics from across the world can be easily exchanged, and animals are moved thousands of miles within a day. This provides unique opportunities for introducing heterosis and improving various traits. But this type of movement comes with problems, as well.

According to geneticists and producers from a 2004 National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium meeting report,“A gene pool conferring adaptation to past and distant environments confers less than optimum adaptation to current and, indeed, to future conditions.” The report continues, “In many instances, management systems and environments are changing more rapidly than animal populations can adapt to such changes through natural selection… While providing many benefits to efficient livestock production, movement of genes into new environments also can reduce adaptation of a resident herd to its unique conditions and challenges.” As a result, the report suggests “Rapidly increased genetic potential for production may be achieved at the expense of decreased genetic merit for adaptation” (fertility and survival). 

Breeds of cattle don’t exhibit remarkably different grazing habits in general, but they are each best adapted to graze under the conditions in which the breed developed. During the early 1990s, researchers from the Northern Agricultural Research Center in Havre, Montana, found that different biological cattle types do not significantly differ in the amount of time or distance they traveled when grazing rangeland.

However, the bite rate did differ among breed groups (a bite is defined as that tearing sound heard as the forage is pulled from the stems – bite rate is the number of bites in a given period of time). The larger, higher-producing biological types had a higher bite rate. The researchers proposed that the increased bite rate might be a response that, essentially, allowed each breed to get the right amount of intake for their breed-specific needs.

Introduction to a new environment would require the individual microflora to adjust to new forage, but that adjustment would occur over time to improve feed efficiency. Other stressors, including changes in terrain, heat, humidity, and altitude require longerterm adaptation.

The genetic grazing ability of an animal, while an important consideration, is less important than climate, forage conditions, available labor and management skill. Choosing the best cattle type for a climate is most successful if you consider the climate in which the breed developed, and the ability of the cattle to adapt to the environment. Cattle native to temperate regions do well in cooler conditions, for example. Which brings us back to adaptation. There are about 75 different cattle breeds in the US and most can be grouped according to their place of origin (Bos taurus, Bos indicus, etc), and some assumptions about their ability to adapt to different climates can be made from that information.

According to Dr. William Pinchak, a professor at Texas A&M AgriLife Research who has more than 30 years experience as a grazing beef cattle nutritionist, every genotype and environment exists across wide regions. If you break up the country by region, some sections will have different forages than others. For example, in some sections there may be greater amounts of tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. Humidity, temperatures, and precipitation can vary significantly across small distances. Even small changes can impact cattle that are adapted to one environment when they are moved to another.

Dr. Pinchak says, “Generally, cattle highly adapted to hot humid environments do not fare well in colder, dry environments. Similarly, cattle from the Northern third to half of the West take a year or two to adapt to the Southern Great Plains region. Northern latitude western cattle are usually selected for higher growth potential and body size than southern cattle and are fed hay, silage, etc. for up to six months per year to meet genetic potential for performance.”

Sparse forage suits cattle of small to moderate size best, while abundant forage can maintain larger cattle or a greater number of smaller cattle. When forage is low quality, lower milking cattle are best, since those that have high milking ability can lose body condition which may result in a drop in reproductive ability, unlike in a high quality forage situation. Inconsistent forage situations are most adapted by easy fleshing cattle types with low to moderate milk production.

Body size is also important because smaller cows tend to do less damage to grass paddocks, particularly during wet weather. There is also some evidence that smaller cattle are more mobile and are less impacted by heat stress than larger cattle.

Many of the traits improved through heterosis are especially important in grazing systems, including productivity, longevity, and fertility. This can be achieved by using high quality sires and breeding to large-gene-pool breeds. Genetics of cows is very important, but in terminal breeding situations, sire choice will have the broadest genetic impact on a herd.

Though research has shown some differences among breeds in the way grazing occurs, there is no evidence that one breed is generally more adept at grazing than another, except that some excel under certain conditions. But even under those particular conditions, the genetics of one group of animals within the breed may be significantly different to others. Research completed in the 1990s by New Mexico State University researchers found significant among breed and within-breed genetic variation in diet selection, which changes how range is utilized and managed.

This is why many experts recommend using large population breeds because sire selection options will typically provide the most genetic progress. Beef cattle diets are primarily pasture and stored forages, but pasture is the most economical feed program. It is also very sustainable when grazing cattle numbers align with the right amount of forage, the right type forage, and all at the right time. For this to happen, management is key.

According to the 2004 National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium report, because cattle and wild ungulates prefer grazing near streams, preventing the over-utilization of riparian zones before adequate grazing of upland terrain is highly important. Research suggests that this type of problem can, at least in part, be solved through genetic selection.

A Montana State University study published in 2004 found that Tarentaise cattle, which are native to the alpine region of France, spent a higher proportion of time grazing on slopes distant from water sources than Hereford cattle, which are native to the British Isles. In addition, the researchers observed heritable variation within the Hereford breed to graze steeper, drier range areas.

Dr. Pinchak says, “We risk a lot in the beef cattle industry when broad generalizations are made.” He says the West versus East question can only be answered precisely if geographic location, forage/pasture type, winter feeding program and, most importantly, ownership and management objectives are identified. With our knowledge of genetics constantly developing, producers now have an opportunity to use both management techniques and genetic selection to improve forage utilization.

There is no one perfect breed, even under perfect conditions, but genetics can be selected to improve on the situation you have. Understanding the demands of your environment and climate on your cattle, and the ability of the cattle to adapt to those conditions, can make the best salable product within the challenges you face, regardless of your grazing situation.

Working Ranch Branding Party

By: Linda Lawler

Every summer at the Sawtooth Valley Ranch we put together a hearty and delicious lunch or dinner -depending on how long the branding takes -for those who participate in this ranching tradition.

This year I decided to cook a main dish I have always wanted to make: short ribs. My husband and daughter love to order short ribs when they are on a restaurant menu. So, the pressure was on to make short ribs that met “their standards” and reward a hard working crew.

You want short ribs to be nice and tender, so you need to cook them for at least 4 – 5 hours (for 4 – 6 lbs) in the oven. The key is sourcing the best quality beef, which isn’t hard to find in the United States. And making a homemade sauce in my book does make a difference.

For the side dishes for The Working Ranch Branding party I decided to pair up two classics: homemade coleslaw and Ranch Beans (the name on the can). My neighbor, Donna-Marie, made some apple banana bread. And to quench everyone’s thirst I make a large container of Arnold Palmer’s (or as they say in my neck of the woods – Swamp Water) half peach ice tea and half lemonade. Since the branding takes place in the middle of summer I made one of my (and my family’s) favorite summer time desserts: Frozen Lemonade Pie.

The Recipe

WR Short Ribs — Serves 6 (I ended up having to double this recipe for my crew)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
• 4-6 lbs short ribs
• 2⁄3 cup brown sugar
• 1 t paprika
• ½ t garlic powder
• 1 T cider vinegar
• ½ t chili powder
• 2⁄3 cup ketchup
• 1 T mustard
• 2 T molasses
• Salt and pepper
2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl
3. Arrange ribs in a 9 x 13 baking dish seasoning with salt and pepper
4. Pour the sauce over the ribs and toss.
5. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in oven for 4 – 5 hrs. (depending on tenderness)
6. Remove foil the last 30 min.

Homemade Coleslaw
• 6 cups of shredded green and purple cabbage (can add some shredded carrots too)
• A small bunch of chopped green onions

• 1 cup of mayo
• 2 T cider vinegar
• 2 t black pepper
• ½ t salt
• ½ t sugar

1. Toss the dressing with the salad and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Frozen Lemonade Pie

• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
• ¼ cup of white or brown sugar
• 7 T unsalted butter, melted

• 2 cups heavy cream
• 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
• 1 6-oz can frozen lemonade concentrate (do not thaw)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Make the crust in a med. bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly on the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 6 minutes; cool completely.

3. To make the filling: in a cool med. stainless bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, stir together the condensed milk and frozen lemonade. Gently fold the lemonade mixture into the whipped cream. Pour the filling into the crust. Freeze overnight or for about 6 hours.

4. When ready to serve let the pie stand for 5 min before cutting. Optional: top with mixed berries.

Linda Lawler, flanked by her two assistants, Carolyn Hillgren on her right and daughter Katie on her left, worked very hard to create a spectacular late afternoon lunch for the WR crew and neighbors.

Linda Lawler, flanked by her two assistants, Carolyn Hillgren on her right and daughter Katie on her left, worked very hard to create a spectacular late afternoon lunch for the WR crew and neighbors.

Cattleman’s Crystal Ball

Genomic Testing May Be Complex, But Is Finally A Reliable Window Into The Future?

By: Jaime Pullman

Depending on your perspective, the world of cattle breeding has gotten more complicated in the last twenty years just as it has become more transparent. Genetic testing, genetic tools, and the unfurling of the bovine genome have given us the opportunity for more information than you ever dreamed of in years past. But knowing when exactly you need that information, when it will work for you, and when it will make sense for your bottom line and breeding decisions depends on some key considerations.

“DNA testing can be a very valuable resource but it still incurs a significant cost,” says Robert Weaber, Cow-calf Extension Specialist and Associate Professor at Kansas State University. “Producers should understand that they need a comprehensive plan to utilize the information in selection of animals to realize a return on their investment. The realized gain is typically easier for seedstock producers as the genomic information for many breeds is incorporated into the animal’s EPDs.”

Genetic testing can identify carriers of undesirable genetic mutations, enhance EPD accuracy earlier in an animal’s life with genomically enhanced-EPDs, and improve the ability of producers to make informed, thoughtful decisions for breeding and management.

“This is especially helpful for traits like stayability or maternal calving ease where evaluation of an animal using progeny data will take 4 to 8 years,” says Weaber. “With genomic data incorporated into a genomically enhanced genetic evaluation system animals that may be less than a year old can have EPD accuracies similar to those of an animal with 5 to 20 progeny depending on the trait.”

Improved accuracy for young animals doesn’t apply to testing proven sires, however, because most of his genetic potential has already been shown. In either case, it’s clear that genetic testing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Perhaps one of the best things producers can do to make the most of genetic tools is simply to refresh their understanding of genetics.

“Unfortunately my experience tells me that there is a disappointingly large fraction of producers, both commercial and seedstock, that do not adequately understand EPD or the accuracy value associated with EPD,” says University of Nebraska Associate Professor and Extension Beef Genetics Specialist Matt Spangler. “It is impossible to understand genomics and the benefit of this information if the fundamentals (EPD and accuracy) are not understood first.”


Most major beef breed associations now incorporate genomic information into EPDs—they aren’t two separate pieces of information.

“The DNA and EPD information represent a part-whole relationship. The DNA test describes a portion of the genetic merit for a trait. The EPD describes the net merit (or sum of the value across all genomic regions and their interactions). Using both pieces separately is confusing as they may point different directions,” cautions Weaber.

“For instance a bull might have a great DNA marker result and rank in the bottom 5% of the breed for Weaning Weight EPD. What does this mean? It means that the net merit is not very good. However, at the regions of the genome included in the DNA test he appears to have very favorable merit. Then by difference, the remaining genetic merit for all other areas in genome, he must be very bad to pull his rank very low.”

Ahh… back when things were simple. Just roll out a couple bales for the cows, chop a water hole, fill the mineral feeder and choreup the big team. Then all this genetic jargon shows up and complicates things. Here at WR, we were pretty sure a locus was big flying grasshopper

Ahh… back when things were simple. Just roll out a couple bales for the cows, chop a water hole, fill the mineral feeder and choreup the big team. Then all this genetic jargon shows up and complicates things. Here at WR, we were pretty sure a locus was big flying grasshopper

Typically breed associations today will handle the genomic testing developed for the particular breed, resulting in the GE-EPD, or genomically enhanced EPD. If you don’t belong to a breed association, genomic testing might be best relegated to parentage and defect testing because one test isn’t accurate across all breed types. High density (HD) testing is now offered by many organizations, which looks at a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – the variations in DNA makeup. But that’s not always your only option.

“For seedstock producers they should use the test that their breed organization includes into EPD. Historically this has been the 50K. The density (number of SNP) of these tests has continually grown (e.g. 80K),” informs Spangler.

“While the size of the larger tests has continued to grow there have been some breeds that have offered a lowdensity (ex. 10-30K) test that is less expensive than the larger alternatives. Through a process called imputation (essentially filling in the missing SNP based on information from relatives), the same amount of information can be garnered by a low-density test as can be achieved by a high-density test.”

Commercial producers are typically looking at a narrower scope of testing, usually for parentage, but have to be careful how the testing is used.

“While there are tests marketed for use in commercial cattle for traits like growth, carcass and fertility, commercial producers should use caution and understand the limitations of genomics,” says Spangler. “This technology is not robust across breeds. For example, a test designed for Angus cattle will not work in Red Angus cattle. Consequently the science suggests that using this technology in non-pedigreed crossbred cattle will not yield predictable results. There are some tests that have been developed for straightbred commercial cattle (like Angus) and cost/benefit analysis should be considered before using such a test to ensure that the cost of testing is offset by gains in performance and/or improved management decisions.”


Genetic information allows producers to make more reliable management and breeding decisions. Testing earlier in an animal’s life provides value for both the seedstock producers and the commercial producer that ends up buying those genetics. And as the cost of bulls increases, commercial producers will be looking to seedstock producers to help them find that value in the form of more complete genetic documentation and increased confidence in purchase decisions.

Balancing your knowledge of EPDs and the limitations of DNA tools is key to benefiting your herd. Weaber warns producers to align the traits they select for with the marketing end point. Don’t focus all your selection on carcass traits if you sell calves at weaning in a conventional sale barn. Don’t select replacements based on a terminal or carcass index when you need maternal traits. Remember where your value is coming from. “The genomic tools are useful, but are not a silver bullet,” says Weaber.

“Also, producers don’t always seek out the advice they need to maximize the impact of their testing program. Although producers have historically each made their own genetic selection decisions, many would benefit from seeking professional help in designing and implementing a selection/breeding system. Many don’t do their own tax accounting; selection can be just as complex.”

From identifying genetic mutations to increasing EPD accuracy it’s clear that current DNA technologies provide opportunities for us to better understand cattle genetics. Identifying where your knowledge needs a boost in applying those technologies, or in using the resulting information, and then seeking help from an extension agent, breed association, or veterinarian, will allow your business to benefit the most.

Ranch Ready Rides


ATV’s for 2015

By: Colin J. Cleary

As the New Year is on the move it’s time to start prepping for more work with the warm weather such as; calving, fencing… ah shucks, we just have to get ready for everything we deal with on the ranch! What better tool to help you and your crew get things done than a new ATV? There aren’t too many jobs out there where an ATV can’t assist in some sort of way. I got ahold of four manufacturers; Polaris, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha, and told them I wanted to know which machine they produce is the most “ranch worthy” for your Working Ranch and this is what they presented me with!

Polaris has put a twist into the ATV market with their new model called the ACE 570 SP. This is unlike any other ATV as it has a regular seat with a steering wheel! (EDITOR: see Tim’s Test, Sept / Oct 2014, p. 22 – I drove the snot out of this machine and loved it!).

This setup provides the rider with a much more comfortable ride along with easier entry and exiting of the vehicle, a major plus for those of you who may have bad backs or knees. It also has a roll cage to help ease your mind when it comes to safety. The Polaris Ace 570 SP features a liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder 567cc ProStar engine that cranks out 45HP! The front rack will hold 120 lbs., while the rear will hold 240 lbs.

The Ace sits 10.25” above the ground, is 48” wide much like other ATVS, and features power steering to easily move over tough terrain. Polaris emphasized it can handle towing those big ranching objects with its 1500 lb. and standard 1.25” receiver. The Polaris Ace 570 SP is available in Black Pearl Metallic and let me tell you, this is SHARP! I stopped in at my local and friendly Polaris dealer – Full Throttle Powersports in Lena, Illinois and test drove one of these rigs over the holidays and it has my seal of approval for ranch worthiness!

I can easily see where this will make ranch work fun! To learn more visit your local Polaris dealer or check them out online at


Yamaha’s ranch-worthy ATV is the ever-so-tough Grizzly 700 FI. The Grizzly has been around awhile and has built a name for itself for being tough and fun to ride. The Grizzly is powered by a 686cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine with enhanced engine settings to improve low end, mid-range and top end performance, with a towing capacity of 1322 lbs. It has a convenient digital LCD multifunction display for easy vision of the ATV’s performance. The Grizzly has a three-position On Command 4-wheel drive system which lets you switch between 2WD, limitedslip 4WD and full-locked differential 4WD, all with the push of a button.

yamahaThe Grizzly 700 has an Ultramatic transmission with dual-range hi/lo. To help slow you down when coming off the mountainside this ATV has an automatic centrifugal clutch which produces downhill engine braking in 4WD and reverse.

To top off this impressive ranching machine it also features electric power steering to make this already great handling machine better. The Yamaha Grizzly 700 is available in three colors: Steel Blue, Hunter Green, and Realtree AP HD.

Now that you all are itching to get out of the bunkhouse and ride (if only it wasn’t winter), I always say the best way to find out which ATV or any piece of equipment is right for you is to stop in at your local dealership and test drive them. Trust me, they are all more than willing to help you out in determining which model best fits your Working Ranch needs. Visit for more.


kazukiHonda was excited to announce they have updated the popular ATV known as the Fourtrax Foreman Rubicon. The Rubicon is available in six different models all based with the 500-class engine, a 475cc liquid-cooled OHV 4-stroke, which is definitely tough, efficient and has proven itself overtime.

There are two transmission choices for the Rubicon: a conventional ATV gearbox which is the only manual shift IRS on the market; and the automatic dual-clutch transmission for those of you who may not want to have to worry about shifting down the trail. It can tow an impressive 1300 lbs! Some new features on the Honda Rubicon are the improved electric power steering, more comfortable seating, better reverse controls, improved cargo capacities with new redesigned racks, and new paint schemes.

The all-new Honda 2015 Rubicon also carries a new look, which Honda wants Working Ranch readers to know it’s designed to last, no matter what you may throw at it. To help protect it Honda installed an all-steel full-coverage front bumper with mounts for a winch. With six different models Honda should have a model for you. Stop in to your local Honda dealer or visit them via web at


4Kawasaki wanted the readers of Working Ranch to have a look at their 2015 Brute Force 750. It is built to operate in the harshest terrain while maintaining comfort. The Brute Force 750 features a sealed rear wet brake, a rigid tubular steel frame, and a digital fuel injection (DFI). When it comes to carrying all that ranching equipment on the rack, it can hold an impressive 264 lbs. of gear and tow 1250 lbs. of whatever you may want to hook behind this beast of a machine.

The Brute Force 750 is powered by a liquid-cooled, four-stroke 749cc 90- degree V-Twin engine, and features a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for very responsive acceleration. You can engage the 4-wheel drive with the simple flip of a button, and the display is very easy to read. The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 is available in two colors: Super Black and Metallic Stardust White. For more information on this ranch-worthy ATV check out your local Kawasaki dealer or go online to

Boost Those Babies


Your young calves may need some extra help…sometimes even before they’re born.

By: Gilda V. Bryant

Most of the time, calves are born without a hitch. But, when pregnant cows don’t regularly receive minerals, especially during the third trimester, their offspring may be weak, sick and unable to nurse. Supplementation with injectable minerals or vitamins as well as colostrum and electrolyte drenches may make a huge difference in that puny calf’s health and subsequent performance.

Kathy Whitman, D.V.M., clinical veterinarian at Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, reports that a poor, unthrifty calf can be the result of trace mineral deficiencies, especially selenium. Inadequate levels of vitamin A also cause complications in a newborn.

“If we have a problem, we want to address it as soon as possible,” Whitman advises. “Know what you’re dealing with, so you don’t inappropriately treat them. Get on top of it as soon as possible.”

For instance selenium deficiencies are common in Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, the Atlantic states and New England. Northern California, Oregon, Washington and parts of Idaho also lack this mineral. These areas produce low-selenium forages, and cattle tend to be low in this vital trace mineral. They often drop calves that have white muscle disease.

This serious affliction occurs in calves from one to three months of age, affecting muscles, ultimately causing lameness, progressive weakness and death. If the disease strikes calves that are one to four weeks of age, the heart muscle and respiratory muscles may also be affected.

“If you know you’re going to have an issue with white muscle disease when that calf is born, inject it with a selenium- vitamin E injectable right away,” recommends Whitman. “Not having the correct diagnosis is a big issue. If you give a selenium injection and you’re in an area that has plenty of selenium, you may inadvertently give the calf toxicosis. If it’s the inappropriate diagnosis, you’ve given him an injection and you’ve just wasted money.”

John Currin, D.V.M., clinical associate professor at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine reminds producers to check with local extension personnel, consultants or veterinarians to get proper supplementation recommendations.

“Overall, having the cow on the appropriate mineral supplement program is the most cost effective and the most important aspect of trying to maintain a calf’s adequate mineral level,” Currin reports.

Vitamin A maintains delicate tissues in the lining of the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts. Sick calves will have infections and the GI tract becomes hard and brittle, unable to absorb nutrients. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, rough hair coat and reduced feed efficiency. If the mama cow has a low vitamin A status, her calf will most likely be low in vitamin A. Whitman recommends injecting cows with vitamin A about five weeks before calving to build up this nutrient in the mother’s colostrum.

Injectables are an excellent treatment option because they are readily bioavailable when injected. They rapidly increase nutrients in theblood—often within eight to twelve hours. Nutrient-deficient animals immediately utilize the mineral or vitamin, and excess nutrients are stored in the liver for later use. Their improvement will be more significant than in an animal with just adequate mineral stores.

Currin says another benefit of injectables is that the producer knows his animals received the proper dosage. They are easy to obtain, although some require a veterinarian’s prescription. The downside of injectables includes rare cases of tissue reaction such as swelling, injection site lesions and in even more rare cases, anaphylactic shock. Since young calves aren’t heavily muscled, Whitman and Currin recommend giving injections subcutaneous – Sub Q – in the neck area in the triangle in front of the shoulder. Whitman uses a three-quarter-to-one inch, 18 gauge needle, entering under the skin at a 40 degree angle. (See product package insert for dosages and other key information). Occasionally, due to drought, harsh winter weather or stress, calves are born with limited trace minerals, such as copper, zinc, manganese and selenium.

These nutrients play a major role in the calf’s ability to grow and properly develop a healthy hair coat and feet. Carcass characteristics and feed efficiency depend on the trace minerals an animal receives as a young calf. Currin says trace minerals play an important role in the function of the calf’s immune system.

“If calves don’t have the appropriate nutrients, they don’t have these minerals present in a functional manner,” Whitman says. “Then they aren’t going to respond to any immunization you give them. You’re wasting your money and you have a sick calf. What’s probably even more important are the subclinical deficiencies that impact performance. We have enough to get by, but not enough to support good growth and health. These animals are always just chronic, poor doers. They get by and  survive, but they don’t do as well as their healthy counterparts.”

Good quality colostrum in adequate amounts is chockfull of vitamins and minerals, providing passive immunity to the calf. To receive antibodies from colostrum, calves must absorb immunoglobulin by a process called passive transfer. After 24 hours, a calf’s ability to take in antibodies decreases dramatically. If the calf has inadequate passive transfer, he will be sickly and probably will never reach peak performance.

Whitman provides a drench with the dam’s colostrum if a calf has had a difficult birth. She also provides commercial colostrum drenches for a weak, tired calf that won’t get up or if a calf’s mother dies.

Dehydration in these young animals can be serious because they lose electrolytes, the salts and minerals that conduct electrical impulses in the body. They are necessary for muscle contraction and energy generation.

“Drenching is a good way to give electrolytes to calves that have become dehydrated from scours,” Currin advises.

“For calves that have had their temperatures drop between 94 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit, a warm colostrum supplement drench doesn’t hurt,” Currin says. “Warm up calves that are in bad shape before you drench them, so you don’t stress them out. You can push them over the edge if they’re in bad shape.”

The biggest problem Whitman sees with these sick calves is that after injecting them with the vitamin or mineral it makes the calf better.

“But we really haven’t solved the problem,” she adds. “It started before this calf became deficient. There’s an underlying problem with our nutrition program or something else that needs to be addressed. We’ve got to go back and investigate why we had this issue to begin with.” Cattlemen should try to anticipate trouble, especially if they’ve experienced drought, stress or a hard winter and suspect their cows will have a mineral deficiency. Take care of cows before calves hit the ground.

“Adequate calf nutrition, vaccination program and mineral supplementation are key,” Whitman advises.

“Make sure you have adequate passive transfer that’s going to provide not only your immunoglobulin, but a good source of the vitamins and minerals that calf needs. Have a good relationship with your veterinarian for any diagnostics, questions or advice. If there is a need for supplementation, consult with your veterinarian to decide what the best course of action might be.”

Some Extra ‘Horses’ for the Ranch

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by Colin J. Cleary

2015’s Howlin’ HD Pickups

Is your old trusty pickup starting to show her age? Maybe after looking into one of these fancy 2015 rigs ‘ol Betty might have to hit the road! Every year here at Working Ranch we nose around and check out what the major truck manufacturers have updated and improved on from the previous year, and needless to say they always seem to make the best better somehow! I checked in with Chevrolet, RAM Trucks, Ford, and GMC to see what to expect from the new 1-Ton 2015 line-up.


How does 397 pure Duramax horsepowerpacked behind the steering wheel of the all new Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD sound? Chevrolet has upped the ante in what they claim as their “most advanced heavy duty pickup ever”. They have updated the exterior and interior, while adding an optional built in 4G Wi-Fi… if I could only trade in my office.

But let’s get to the most important part in terms of ranching… towing. The 3500 HD can tow a whopping 23,200 lbs. and features Hill Start Assist which can sense potential “rollback” when you are braking on an incline. The feature then holds the brakes momentarily when you switch over to the gas pedal to help keep the truck from rolling backwards. Chevrolet also offers trailer sway control, where sensors can detect a swaying trailer and, when the system is properly equipped, the truck will apply the truck and trailer brakes automatically to help realign the trailer
and stop swaying.

Another popular option available on the big rig is the exhaust brake system which helps reduce the amount
of braking needed. The livestock will also have the ride of their lives with these fancy towing features!

When it comes to interior, the new 2015 Silverado is quieter due to a thicker windshield and sound-deadening
materials. With redesigned seats you will also be more comfortable than ever before. The 3500 HD is available in 9 different colors and has an amazing line of accessories to help make this truck a true one of a kind. For more information contact your local Chevrolet dealer or visit them on the World Wide Web!


No stranger around the Working Ranch, Ram has a very reputable name when it comes to towing. The new 2015 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn® offers 30,000 lbs. of towing when equipped with their 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel I6 Engine. It also has a best-in-class payload of 7,390 lbs., and 865 lb. ft. of torque! Ram trucks are tested thoroughly in the frozen tundra of Upper Michigan, thus ensuring one tough truck for your Working Ranch no matter what
the season or work condition.

To simplify setting the vehicle up for towing, Ram offers an optional gooseneck prep package with built-in
wiring and hitch so you’re ready to hit the road when you drive off the lot. When it comes to interior, Ram has
hit it out of the park; the control center features an 8.4 inch full color touchscreen that can also be used as a
camera… for the bed of your truck and the rear bumper. I know this would help me out when I’m hooking
up my stock trailer! (A few mishaps have happened on the Cleary Ranch).

My personal preference of the Ram would have to be the leather-tooled seats on the Longhorn Edition. The Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn is also available in 17 different color packages to make this Ram workhorse get a nod from every rancher around. To test one of these bad boys out stop into your local Ram Trucks dealer.


Ford wanted to let the hard-working readers of Working Ranch know they have just the truck to handle any job on
the ranch, in style. The renowned Ford F-350 King Ranch edition with a new Ford-built 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel engine will have you ranching in style. The more powerful 6.7L engine is class-leading in fuel economy, and features a new, larger turbocharger delivering even more on-demand power when you need it. Add the TorqShift® 6-speed Select Shift automatic transmission and you’ll really have the perfect powerhouse. This transmission operates with lower rpms because the torque converters lock up at lower speeds.

When towing we know we can never see enough of what is going on behind us, but Ford has made that easier. The
Powerscope mirrors are standard on the King Ranch and offer power-heated glass, power telescoping, power foldaway and heated spotter mirror… it has more features in the mirror than my trusty ol’ car does all together!

Ford offers a factory-installed 5th wheel and gooseneck substructure attached to the frame for incredible durability when towing. For you ranchers out there who really get off road, the F-350 Super Duty can also be equipped with the FX4 Off-Road Package that features skid plates on the transfer case and fuel tank (a must on most working ranches). Get on over to your local Ford Dealer or visit them online for more information on these ranch tough Super Duty trucks.


If your outfit is in need of a little extra comfort, look no further than GMC’s new Sierra 3500 Denali HD.
Sierra’s new interior brings comfort, refinement, and convenience to a whole new ranching level. The cockpit of this massive workhorse was engineered to provide every cowboy riding along with a much quieter interior thanks to the new inlaid door design, triple door seal, and hydraulic powertrain and body mounts.

The interior features a soft touch instrument panel and door trim along with Denali-exclusive perforated leather-appointed seating. And how about a standard heated steering wheel and heated and cooled front seat to take the chill off those winter mornings?

When equipped with the Duramax engine and the Allison 1000 series transmission it will be practically impossible not to love this truck. With unreal luxury and power comes an unbeatable suspension; the Sierra 3500 Denali HD offers a smooth ride due to a fully independent coil-over-shock front suspension and 3 inch wide multi-stage rear leaf springs, which engage progressively as the load in the bed or hitch increases. So if the ranch is looking for great comfort and power, check out the GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD. Stop on in to your local GMC dealer to learn more about the Sierra and what GMC has to offer.

All in all, these manufacturers make very impressive powerhouses, but of course the best way to see which one
fits your needs is to go drive them and put them through the legendary ranch test.

Feeding for Breeding

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by Gilda V. Bryant

What you do before calving counts

Planning for the successful conception of either a seasoned cow or first-calf heifer is similar to solving a puzzle. It requires the right pieces to make a complete picture—good quality forage or other feedstuffs, healthy body condition score, a good mineral supplementation program, proper amounts of energy given to
cattle at the right time and a healthy, active bull.

Jeff Hill, PhD, ruminant nutrition expert and Beef Business Manager with ADM, says that
it’s not what you feed prior to breeding, but what you do before calving that makes the
next calf crop possible.

“Make sure cows are in good condition,” Hill advises. “I’d say a body condition score (BCS) of five is the bare minimum. Pushing six would be preferable. It would give you a little more latitude.” He adds, “When calves are worth as much as they are right now and with cheaper feeds, the economics are probably in favor of pushing them to a six. If calves are worth less, that incremental gain that you get may not be economically justified.”

If the cow’s BCS has dropped below a five, feeding higher energy 60 to 90 days before calving helps her maintain body condition and allows her to cycle. Hill says, “The body condition score the cow has at calving is critical
because she’s probably going to lose some weight anyway. If you try to feed her to gain weight, she will just
produce more milk. If you don’t have a good BCS at calving, by the time she starts lactating, you can’t make it up.”
Hill gives this advice, “You’ve got to start thinking about it sixty to ninety days prior to calving.”

Steve Blezinger, PhD, PAS (Professional Animal Scientist), ruminant nutritionist and management
consultant, says that both cows and heifers need to be healthy and receiving good feed and minerals. He adds, “Since heifers are still growing, their level of nutrition should be properly matched to age and size. This somewhat higher nutritional plane should continue through pregnancy and postcalving to insure the heifer continues to grow and develop so she reaches a proper mature size.”

However, Blezinger cautions producers to make sure that heifers are not overly fat prior to and at calving. This can lead to increased calving problems including dystocia, a difficult birth that needs assistance.

Rancher Rodney Howell, owner of Lone Star Angus near Gainesville, Texas, likes for his cows and first-calf heifers to carry good flesh. Part of his cattle management strategy includes separating cows by age groups and calving dates so they can be fed for their ages and stages of pregnancy.

Jeff Hill reports that during the third trimester, the cow’s feed intake will drop between 15 to 20 percent due to the size of the fetus. Hill recommends concentrating nutrients to make up for her reduced intake.

Minerals play a vital role in the reproduction cycle. To support the cow post-calving and to prepare for breeding,
she needs calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc. Blezinger advises, “These, along with all the other required minerals, should be accessible at all times, but for certain, at least 60 days prior to calving and through the breeding season.”

Because the microbes in the rumen tend to absorb trace minerals, especially copper, zinc and manganese,
the animal often doesn’t get the amounts needed for healthy body function. Fortunately, treated trace minerals known as chelates can be beneficial. Chelates pass unscathed through the rumen, eventually entering the small intestine where they are absorbed and utilized by the animal.

A new class of minerals now available to the beef industry shows promise for transporting copper, zinc and manganese for the animal’s use. Known as hydroxy forms, they act like chelates because they aren’t absorbed in the
rumen. They have low solubility until they reach a low acid environment, which just happens to occur in the small
intestine, where absorption occurs.


Another piece of the puzzle is the bull. The key to sperm production is a good mineral program, which can be the same one the rest of the herd receives. He needs at least 60 days on minerals before turnout to produce healthy, active sperm. Hill says, “The one trace mineral that relates to spermatogenesis is zinc. Paying attention to a good, available source of zinc would be prudent.”

Like the females, a bull should have a BCS of at least five. Hill reports the bull shouldn’t be overconditioned because
he needs to travel and to be able to breed. To avoid going lame, his feet and legs should be in good condition.

“Bulls should also have been given proper exercise or conditioning prior to joining the herd,” Blezinger advises. “For example, if the bulls are kept in their own pasture or trap prior to breeding season, the pasture should be laid out in such a way as to promote exercise. Providing feed and forage at one location and water at another allows for movement and exercise.”

In addition, a veterinarian should conduct a breeding soundness exam about 30 days prior to the start of the
breeding season to make sure the bull is ready to be turned out.

“I feel like the oversupplementation of trace minerals has the potential to be as negative as undersupplementation,”
Hill shares. “Find that optimal balance. Try to get those minerals in the best form, delivered to the right location [for absorption].”

Blezinger adds, “While we talk about specific minerals that have been shown to be particularly important for reproduction, all minerals are important to the cow and bull’s performance and health. The mineral should be matched to the forage base the herd is on. This means forage testing and matching to the mineral values
shown in the assay. Subsequently this should mean finding an “off the shelf” product that meets the requirements
as closely as possible or, if the herd size is adequate, having a custom mineral formulated. The mineral program
is the basis for a sound nutritional program.”