KW Cattle Ranch

(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host, here in Fort Scott, Kansas, on the K.W. Cattle Ranch. The ranch has evolved into a 3,000 plus acre cattle and horse breeding operation where they even sell their beef on the retail market. Stay with us and we’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott your guest host and I’m here with Nathan Wells in Fort Scott, Kansas, at the K.W. Cattle Company. So first off Nathan, horses and cattle have been a part of the Kraft Family since the 50s. Tell me a little bit about that. (Nathan) When Harold was growing up, they always had cattle and horses involved. They grew up on a farm and they ended up moving to town and it was a big passion of his to always get back into it. So that’s kind of how K.W. evolved later on in his life. (Mikhayla) So, tell me a little bit about how you became a part of the K.W. Cattle Company. (Nathan) I moved to Fort Scott when I was in sixth grade and I ended up coming up to help them with some horses, and one thing just kind of led to another. From there whenever they first decided they wanted to diversify some of their operation, we started the stocker business. And we did that for several years. And as time went along we decided we wanted to do something that was more of a, I don’t want to say challenge, maybe something that was more of a steady thing, something that we could build a name around, and build something for my children’s future and also the family. And so they started K.W. Cattle then, in about 2009. (Mikhayla) Awesome. So since you’ve been here how have you seen, you kind of touched on that a minute ago, but how have you seen the operation evolve? (Nathan) We used to run several thousand stockers a year and so it was a different feel, constant turnover, constant different animals and challenges, to where now we are working on raising more of the perfect animal, more bulls for people to help to improve their herd with. (Mikhayla) Awesome. So behind us here we have some of the stock. Tell me a little bit about the cattle in general here. What kind of breeding specifics? (Nathan) We raise registered Black Angus Bulls. Several different blood lines. Everybody wants to know what trait we’re trying to focus on and in our minds we’re trying to create more of a perfect animal that is complete. We want them to have carcass merit, we want to have good cavities, we want to have a lot of performance in them. Basically to help put more money on their bottom line. (Mikhayla) So beside the genetic and breeding here at K.W. Cattle Company, tell me a little bit about the meat production here. (Nathan) Platinum Beef was started several years ago. Originally we just had animals for ourselves. And we’ve always wanted to provide healthy things for our family. So we decided to start Platinum Beef. It’s no hormones, no antibiotics. We want to grow it here at the ranch. We never wanted to send it out for somebody else to do, so we could insure the quality. It started with one person coming over for dinner, and they liking it and they bought some, so on and so forth, and so it’s grown into something we’re very proud to do. We do probably 30 to 60 animals a year that we send. People can buy it online, or we have just friends and family that buy, just for themselves because they like it. And the best thing about it is that our kids eat it. We noticed a difference whenever you buy store bought hamburger and hamburger from the ranch and seen the kids actually eat their hamburger instead of just eating the chips. So, it’s been a very good thing for us. (Mikhayla) Great. Thank you Nathan. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.

(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host. And I’m back here with Nathan in Fort Scott, Kansas. So, today’s kind of a preparation day for your sale coming up in March. It’s your second annual sale. Tell me a little bit about that. (Nathan) The preparation we’re doing today is we’re fitting the bulls, trimming them, getting them ready for video. The online auction has become a big part. I think last year it was 25 percent of our sales. And so we want that bull to look and show who he truly is. So, today we’re going to get them clipped and next week we will video them. (Mikhayla) Great. What made you guys want to start with an auction? (Nathan) The biggest thing with an auction, because if I sell in private treaty, I’ve got to set the price. Whenever you hold an auction, it’s more of a cost for us, but the market and the people there are going to dictate that value. So, that way they can’t say I’m too high on it. That’s what the market was. And hopefully we’re both in agreement that that bull brought what he was truly worth. (Mikhayla) Great. So, how do you develop the bulls that you sell in your auction? (Nathan) We develop all the bulls here at home. That’s a big question we get a lot. We don’t sent them ever to a feedlot. We always keep ‘em here. Our bulls are developed in big traps. I think the smallest trap that our bulls are developed in is about 20 acres. The 18 month olds, they’re developed in about a 50 acre trap. They are developed on fescue. And so that, we think by keeping them in those bigger traps it’s going to help that bull grow up better and insure some joint soundness at a young age, so that he will be around for a long time for that customer. (Mikhayla) What are some specifics that you do to get your bulls sale ready? (Nathan) Besides doing the clipping, we also ultrasound the bulls. We did that a few days ago and that will help the public kind of see, it’s another tool for them to see what kind of carcass merit they’re going to have. We’ll also do the Zoetis 50K, which is a genetic test. It helps to improve…it’s just a piece of the EPD’s, to help them insure that what that says it is, it is going to be. So it helps to give our clients a better, bigger and better picture of what they’re getting. (Mikhayla) How many people are you expecting and how many head of cattle will you run through your sale this year? (Nathan) This year we’re going to sell 150 bulls. That’s our plan and we’re probably going to have between 100 and 150 people. Last year we had about 75 people show up. And we’ve had great feedback from the catalogs. People are requesting the catalogs. We sent out some fliers and had a lot of feedback on them. And so roughly we expect around 150 people this year and that’s what we’re trying to prepare for. (Mikhayla) Great. So, I know you mentioned that the Kraft family has, are they involved in the auction at all? (Nathan) They are involved in the auction. The printing business will print a lot of the fliers. It will also print a lot of the banners that we use. And that’s been a growing thing. The magnets that we sent out to everybody is a reminder and save the date. We printed those at Word Kraft as well. (Mikhayla) OK, great. Thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.

(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host. And I’m back here with Nathan Wells in their ET barn. To start off, how are you using technology to grow K.W. Cattle? Probably the biggest way we’ve taken advantage of it is using IVF, which stands for In Vitro Fertilization. That’s a process that they’ll actually go in and extract the egg and then they’ll put it in a petri dish, and they grow them out and fertilize them. And over here is some of our eggs that we’ve actually frozen. That’s kind of what they are. You can see they’re labeled and you can see the canes inside there. It’s been a way for us to use cattle that perhaps aren’t 60 days postpartum yet. So, we’re able to flush them faster. You don’t have to give that cow any drugs. And it’s also a lot less manpower whenever you do that. That’s one of the biggest ways we’re using it. And we’re also still using some conventional ways but we’re really excited about what this new technology is showing us. (Mikhayla) Perfect. How do you decide what flushing method to use and on which cows? (Nathan) Most of it just depends upon what Casey, which is one of our embryologists, and Todd, kind of what they tell us, but also off the cow’s age. A lot of times if you’ll use conventional flushing on a young cow you can burn ‘em up or cause some damage sometimes to their ovaries. That’s one of the beautiful things about IVF, you’re not…you don’t have to give any drugs. So it’s more of a natural thing. You can take those eggs out and you can even breed that cow. And use IVF technology on her up to 110 days I think or 120 days bred. And so you never get a stale cow. And it also helps to keep the cow from getting super fat from just constantly being a donor cow. (Mikhayla) You mentioned you do some of this work here on your farm. Tell me a little bit about that. (Nathan) We try to spread it out. We’ve sent cows to Texas, to Todd Stroud. We’ve also got cows in Abilene with Casey Barton and then we keep a lot of ‘em here. One of the biggest reasons we do that is just to spread our risk out. The other reason is is we try to keep especially our young cows right here at home where we can watch over them close. Riley has learned how to go in and scan the cattle, which helps us do a better job on doing the IVF and the embryo technology of finding what process those cows are at in their cycle and how we can set them up and utilize getting the most eggs possible. (Mikhayla) Perfect. And how do you utilize your lab that you’ve built here? (Nathan) The lab that we have there, that’s where they’ll actually go in and they’ll do the sorting. So after we flush out of the chute here with Casey, we’ll then take that vial into the lab and whoever the lab tech is that day will go through and sort through, find the embryos and they’ll either put ‘em in the incubator and we’ll send them to Todd if they’re on the IVF side, or if it’s a conventional embryo way then they’ll actually freeze them in there. And so that’s where all the magic happens. (Mikhayla) OK, great. Thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.

(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host here at the K.W. Cattle Ranch. And we’ve been talking a lot about cattle and we’re going to switch gears a little bit and talk about some horses and I’m here with Riley Schofield, a hired hand here at the ranch. So tell me a little bit about what you do here Riley. (Riley) I’ve worked here for about the last five years, doing a little bit of everything. Recently I just started doing a lot of the ultra sounding and scanning on the donors that we use. And do a little bit of AI too, along with Jeff and Nathan. But mainly I start a lot of the horses, ride a lot of horses, which is really awesome, I enjoy it. (Mikhayla) Great. Tell me a little bit about the horse operation here. How many head do you guys have? How does that work? (Riley) We’ve got probably more horses than we should. We’ve got about 20 head, which isn’t terrible, but we use them a lot. We’ve got two broodmares right now and then we’ll buy some colts here and there. We like to raise them. The ultimate goal is kid-broke horses that Nathan’s girls and Jeff’s kids can eventually ride and do everything on and they’re broke enough for it. But yet we can go either take them to a show, or gather on and stick a kid on ‘em and they’re fine. (Mikhayla) So, tell me a little bit about, you start most of the horses here, but maybe what are some up and coming horses that you have that you’re sending off. (Riley) Yea, we’ve got a pretty cool little filly out of Patty’s Irish Whiskey Mare and she’s out of W.R. This Cats Smart. So, we’re not too great at the cut in here, so we’re probably going to send her off to our cut in trainer and see how she gets along. (Mikhayla) So, horses have been a part of the K.W. Cattle Ranch as long as cattle have been a part. How do the two go together? (Riley) We like to gather everything with horses and use horses. We obviously rope a lot of stuff with it, just doctoring. I think a lot of it comes from when we had the stockers we used to ride all the time. And so we like to continue that into the registered operation. We sure enjoy the horse out of it, so we we like to keep them together. (Mikhayla) What kind of horses do you have here on the ranch? And beyond ranch work, what are some things that you like to do with them? (Riley) We like to do, we raise quarter horses, American Quarter Horses, that’s mainly what we have. We’ve got a few Paints in there, but don’t tell Nathan that. We actually do a lot of here lately, we’re starting to get into working cow/horse type stuff. Nathan and Jeff both were on a ranch rodeo team. Did really well. They made it to the finals a couple of years. And with the kids they don’t do it as much. We use them for kind of all aspects of ranch work and then we like them to be able to perform that ability in the arena as well. (Mikhayla) So I see you have a roping shoe and a roping dummy over there. Do you guys do some team roping as well? (Riley) We do, yep. We like to start some of those horses on it. We’ve got a handful of roping steers that we like to run through occasionally and it’s good for the horses to be able to get a little more practice in than just when you have to rope them in the pasture. (Mikhayla) Awesome. OK, thank you Riley. We’ve been talking to Riley Schofield about the horse operation here at the K.W. Cattle Company and stay tuned we’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.

(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m here with Nathan Wells, the K.W. Cattle Company near Fort Scott, Kansas. So first off Nathan, when you first started here how have you seen this property change over time? (Nathan) When we started here all this right here, nothing was here, it was just a plain piece of dirt. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of building it, helping design it, how we thought it would work and flow and multiple different aspects of the cattle industry and also for the horses that we’re proud of. So, we’ve seen a lot of changes. I think we’ll continue to see a lot of changes and growth in the future. (Mikhayla) When was the main turning point? I think you mentioned in 2009 kind of all this stuff was built. (Nathan) In 2009, we had just outgrown where we were at and we decided to move up here, which was just a quarter mile up the road. It allowed us a lot more area. And so that was when we moved up here and developed all this, all the pens and everything. It was probably, it was a big jump for us, but also helped us have the opportunity to grow. We were so limited before. (Mikhayla) So just in those few short years from 2009 until now, a lot has changed. Where do you see K.W. Cattle in the future? (Nathan) I think K.W. Cattle is going to become, hopefully be a leader in the industry in terms of helping to place bulls, develop bulls and also to help bulls to continue to help put more money on the customer’s bottom line. (Mikhayla) Sure. Where do you see yourself and your family? You mentioned you have kids and a wife, where do you see yourself and them in the future here? (Nathan) I think we’ll always be involved in it. It’s important to me and my wife both, that our kids both go to college. And if they choose to come back and be a part of the ranch, we would welcome that. But we want that to be their decision. I don’t want to be one of those Dads that forced it on them, because I want them to have the same passion that we all have for it. and to love it for the right reason because it is a challenge in life. (Mikhayla) Maybe in the future, would they be interested in coming back and growing the retail side of K.W. Cattle? (Nathan) I hope so. I hope so. I hope that they, that’s one of, me and my wife, both have a goal to try and make K.W. very diversified in a lot of different segments from the horses to the bulls to the heifer development, to even continuing to prove the bulls in the feedyard and the Platinum Beef side of it. I hope that is something that they want to come back and be a part of. And I hope they each take their own division and continue to make it prosper. (Mikhayla) Elaborate a little bit more on the production side of things here, your beef that you sell, where do you see that in the future? (Nathan) It has been something that we’ve been surprised how fast it’s grown. The interest that we’ve had and the questions that we have. A lot of people even want to come to the ranch and actually pick out their own beef. There’s so much market and propaganda out there today with people who are selling false things and we love the opportunity of having people come here and say, I want that one and that’s theirs. And seeing that we do grow it and take care of it the way that we say we do. (Mikhayla) We’ve been visiting with Nathan Wells here at the K.W. Cattle Ranch. Thank you Nathan… (Nathan) Thank you. (Mikhayla) …for visiting with me. And stay tuned next week for the next episode of That’s My Farm.

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