We raise your Herdsire the Right Way

Who We Are...
Located 20 miles East of Winnipeg, Edie Creek Angus is your source for affordable performance tested, forage-efficient herdsires.  We sell Two-year old bulls so that we can develop them properly without pushing them.  This way they can grow out and be ready to breed more cows for more years, $aving you Money!    Edie Creek Angus Genetics are bred for profitability, not extreme EPD traits.  We treat our cowherd like you treat your commercial herd or tougher, that way we can raise bulls that EXCEL in the REAL WORLD!  Read on to find out about our journey towards profitable beef genetics…

Why Buy an Edie Creek Angus Bull?
We have come to believe that getting the cowherd right is the most important foundation for beef production, since feeding that “cow factory” is your biggest expense. Matching your cowherd to your environment is the next most important step after reducing your inputs. Edie Creek Angus bulls can help you with both of those, creating more profit within your cow herd.

Our bulls are bred with generations of fleshing ability, capacity, correct feet, longevity and sire beautiful udders. Our bulls will sire calves that are born easily and nurse quickly. They will establish an efficient, Maternal “Cowherd Factory” for you which can then be mated with Terminal sires to add hybrid vigor performance and the "flavour of the day" in hide colour. Doing this will create a functional, long-living cowherd that will wean calves at the highest efficiency in your commercial ranch environment.

Paradigm Shift
January 2014 was the beginning of a new era for Edie Creek Angus. We finally took the Holistic Management 6-day course with instructors Don & Bev Campbell with 3 other families down in Steinbach, MB despite the onset of calving season during what was to become one of the coldest Winters in recent memory. Thankfully Herman, our dear Dad, held down the fort while Stefan and I, along with our wives, attended the course. The H.M. course just wrapped up in time for calving season to begin on January 25th, as it did every year. Jonathan and Eileen at this time had a 2-yr old daughter, and were expecting their second child in June. Stefan & Kendra had 3 children at the time: a 5 year old son and 3 & 1 year old daughters. This meant that Stefan and Jonathan had enough time out of bed already in the middle of the night helping their wives care for children that calving checks at night were becoming less important priorities in life. The confluence of events with kids, a historically cold winter, and the decision making framework acquired at the H.M. course meant that we had more than enough reason to keep the bulls in their pens a full 3 months longer. The poor frustrated bulls who were expecting to get to go and play on April 20th had to wait until July 15th that year!

Sleep-All-Night Calving Ease!  
In addition to slightly quieter nights and less calves with frozen ears, calving later gave us the additional benefits of having lower nutritional requirements during the coldest months of the year, and letting the budding green grass help the cows flesh up after calving and during rebreeding. Cows harvesting grass is always cheaper than feeding them stored feed! This also meant that weaning time was in December, after freeze-up, so the calves are now staying on their dams during the stress of the muddy inclement fall weather—much nicer to be grazing grass in green pastures than bawling in muddy feedyard pens! Also, because our calving paddock is 2 miles south of the main yard, we’re no longer tempted to interfere with calving in the dark. We check the cowherd 2-3 times per day, and weigh the calves (because we are a purebred operation) on a scale mounted on the back of the quad.

More Production with No Added Inputs?
Holistic Planned grazing has given us the discipline to figure out our grazing plans ahead of the season, and recognize if we need to re-plan partway through the season as conditions change. Based on previous years’ grazing data we can then estimate how long our grazing season will last and, if necessary, calculate extra feed purchases needed before it might be obvious to others and before prices of feed have already gone up. Having a plan also enables us to move cattle to the next paddock at the right time, instead of the tendency to move them once they’ve eaten all the grass. This “leftover” or wasted grass is the foundation of building healthier soil, and is the first step towards improving our soil health and correspondingly the carrying capacity of our grazing land! Improved carrying capacity allows us to run more cattle on the same land instead of having to buy more land, which is now valued far beyond the productive capacity’s ability to repay the land and now well into the “real estate speculation” range of prices!

Bale Grazing Benefits:
Purchased inputs are an expense we are trying to minimize on our farm, but one input we are happy to pay for is hay bales. There is some risk of having to pay high prices during droughts or when other conditions make hay expensive, but generally we believe that purchasing hay is a valuable exchange of money for products. This allows us to convert the hay land we have into more grazing acres, which allows for a bigger economic engine for our farm, and allows us to import nutrients that are guaranteed to improve the organic matter of our soil in a way that synthetic fertilizers do not. Bale grazing is done for two groups of cattle during the winter months—Young stock & the mature cowherd. The young stock group includes bred heifers, 1st time calvers needing better feed to flesh up as they grow, and grass-finishing steers and heifers. This group receives a ration that has higher quality feed, so a higher percentage of 2nd cut hay bales to 1st cut hay bales. Both the young stock group and the cowherd receive approximately a 5-6 day allotment of bales such that there are enough higher quality bales that each animal can access the best feed while it’s out there & before it gets eaten by the bigger bossier cattle. If the feed quality in the paddock were completely consistent, we wouldn’t have any qualms about giving them 2 weeks+ feed at a time. Read more about our bale grazing system here in the article written by Jesse Bussard & published by Gallagher North America.

Money is “kind of” important!
Financial Planning is also an important benefit encouraged by Holistic Management. By creating budgets at the beginning of the year, we can see how we’re doing at sticking to the plan, and have a reference point to start to recognize when expenses are abnormally high, which can give us a chance early enough to make changes before the cash flow restrictions start to cause real problems. Enterprise analysis shows us whether what we’re spending our time and resources doing is actually going to net a profit (given reasonable assumptions of expenses and production levels). If farming were easy, everyone would be doing it—financial planning has significantly reduced the stress loads around financial decisions.

PEOPLE FIRST
Working as a family—three families together as a matter of fact, comes with a mix of blessings and challenges, as many of you know or can imagine. Different personalities, habits (good ones & bad), gifts and skills can make for a lot of misunderstandings, “situations”, but also benefits & advantages! Given the stage of our lives with young children and the priority we place on being involved in their lives & cultivating good marriages, it is very important to communicate the needs of each family, and to find ways to ensure we can be together with them intentionally. We have structured our farm to rotate weekends off between Herman, Jonathan, and Stefan so that each of us can focus on our spouses and families, and have an identity outside of the all-consuming role of being farmers! Holistic Management has helped to train us to appreciate the different skills & gifts brought to our farm team by each member of the team instead of letting our differences divide us.

A Holistic Approach
We have begun the process of learning and decision making that has led to a threefold improvement in our farm: care for our Family, improve the Land and make a Profit by making better educated decisions, it’s the 3-legged stool of farm survival—you need all 3 legs to be strong & healthy or else the stool supports no one!

Direct Beef Sales:
We’ve been selling quarters & sides of gourmet grass-finished beef for 10 years now, and have a following of repeat customers plus a number of experimenting new customers that allow us to sell 20 head per year. One of the additional benefits of moving our calving season is that the animals are now ready for harvest at 24-30+ months of age instead of 18+ months, which gives them a bit more time to grow and consequently more lbs of beef to sell per animal and a more flavourful eating experience for the customer. We are also thrilled to have entered a relationship with Pineridge Hollow Restaurant, (see hyperlink) a local restaurant that appreciates food carefully produced in their neighbourhood! We have received excellent feedback on our beef from their executive chef, which is as reassuring coming from professional “foodies” as it is coming from our satisfied private direct sales customers! Our former butcher, now retired but having cut many many beefs, also commented on how impressed he was by the genetics, which consistently ensured the tenderness of the beef.



Photo on the left: The entire Bouw Family - Journey to Churchill







 



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