(TOPEKA) – Enhancing the genetics of a commercial cowherd, removing invasive trees and improving stockwater accessibility are topics on the agenda for the August 6 Kansas Livestock Association (KLA)/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day near Medicine Lodge. The event will be hosted by C.J. and Russell Blew on the Nichols Ranch, which they lease.
The Blews are fifth-generation ranchers that operate a Red Angus-based commercial cow-calf business in multiple Kansas counties. Striving to improve the genetics of their cowherd, especially in producing cattle that consistently achieve a high-quality grade, is the focus of the Blew breeding program. C.J. Blew will share their experiences with retaining ownership of their calves, collecting sire testing data and utilizing DNA testing for genetic selection. Russell Blew will provide insight on the new cattle-handling facilities built especially for artificial insemination at the ranch headquarters. The design includes a “Bud Box,” which allows them to move cattle through the facilities using low-stress handling techniques.
Prior to the Anderson Creek fire that swept through the area, including the Nichols Ranch, in 2016, the Blews and the ranch owner had begun clearing invasive trees and implementing a multi-year grazing and stockwater development project designed to improve the health of the native prairie. Russell Blew and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Range Management Specialist Dusty Tacha will highlight how the plan was implemented on the ranch and discuss future projects that will help improve and sustain the Gyp Hills grasslands.
NRCS Soil Conservation Technician Carl Jarboe will be on hand to explain how new stockwater sources were developed and strategically located on the ranch. He also will provide information on services available through NRCS for ranchers who would like to make stockwater improvements.
In addition, Agra View’s Amy Roeder and Steve Vollrath will share timely information about programs provided to livestock producers through the USDA Risk Management Agency. Insurance plans to be discussed will include the Livestock Risk Protection Program, Livestock Gross Margin Program and Rainfall Index Program, which protects against the loss of precipitation in key months of pasture, rangeland and forage growth.
The August 6 field day will begin with registration at 3:00 p.m. and conclude with a free beef dinner at 6:45 p.m. All livestock producers and others involved in the business are invited to attend.
Nichols Ranch is located west of Medicine Lodge. From the Highway 281 and Highway 160 intersection on the southwest edge of Medicine Lodge, go west on Highway 160 8.4 miles to Bitter Creek Road. Turn south on Bitter Creek Road, pass through the cattle guard and continue about 2.5 miles on the gravel road to ranch headquarters. Directional signs will be posted.
Remington Ranch near Quinter will host the August 13 field day. Loma Land & Cattle of La Cygne will be the site of the final field day August 16. Bayer Animal Health and the Farm Credit Associations of Kansas are sponsoring all three field days. For more information, go to www.kla.org or call the KLA office at (785) 273-5115.
KLA is a trade organization representing the business interests of independent beef and dairy producers at the state and national levels. Members of the association are involved in all segments of the livestock industry, including cow-calf production, backgrounding, cattle feeding, swine, dairy and sheep.