Stuewe Ranch

Sam) Hello folks, I’m Sam Capoun and welcome to That’s My Farm. Today we’re heading to the Stuewe Ranch, located just south of Paxico, Kansas. Earl and Heath Stuewe along with their families operate a cow/calf operation and have a few crops. Knowing Earl and Heath all of my life, there’s one thing I have learned-these cowboys know no stranger and there’s always a cold beverage waiting for guests. Let’s take a look.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Sam) Good morning and welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m your guest host, Sam Capoun and today we’re just outside of Paxico, Kansas, with Earl Stuewe. Earl tell me a little bit about your operation. (Earl) Well, the Stuewe Ranch is run basically by myself and my son Heath. And we got started when my Dad and my Mom got married. My uncle Merle Lietz and then his Dad, William Lietz, and that’s when it basically got started. And then my uncle’s retired and my Dad’s in the rest home now, so it’s up to Heath and I to run it now. But kind of a cow/calf, commercial cow/calf operation and we grow a little hay and a few row crops and some corn silage. Anyway, the ranch has kind of been running about the same way. It’s grown quite a bit. We’ve got a few more cows than when we started out with. We wean our calves and keep ’em here at home and feed ’em through the winter til they weigh about 850 to 900 pounds and we sell ’em at St. Mary’s at the Sale Barn there. They’ve got a pretty good feeder market. I guess that’s kind of the overview of the whole ranch. (Sam) So, what’s the importance of keeping these calves til they’re about 800-900 pounds and then sending them off to sell ’em. (Earl) Well, we get to use a little bit of our feed like our corn and our alfalfa hay. And get’ em to weigh a little more so they bring more money. And generate a few more dollars per cow that way. (Sam) So, are you looking at changing any of your operation in the future or or are you sticking mainly to the cow/calf? (Earl) I think we’ll stay with the cow/calf. We like it. And about the only thing we keep considering is finishing out our own calves. We’re getting quite a bit of proven carcass bulls and keeping our own replacements for years. And we keep toying with the idea of feeding our calves out of a commercial feedyard and taking them all the way to slaughter. But the feeder price has been so good here these last few years that we haven’t done that yet. (Sam) Certainly. (Earl) We like to keep ’em at home. We can kind of control your input costs and stuff. Once they go to a feedlot, well you’re at the mercy of the markets and what the corn prices and everything else is doing. (Sam) So, tell me a little bit about the rain in your area. (Earl) Well we’ve been really lucky this year. We’ve been getting a lot of rain and we had a nice little shower this morning to cool things off. And the prairie hay and the brome is good. We’re a little late getting our brome up just cause of the weather. But yea, it’s turned off pretty good. Our alfalfa we just finished our first cut on alfalfa. Well, I should say our first and second cut in alfalfa, cause we put it all up at the same time. We just got that finished. Made lots of bales, it’s just not quite the quality it normally is. (Sam) So, tell me a little bit about what it’s done to the pastures for cows. (Earl) Pastures look great. Yea, they look better than they have for, I’d say, at least four years. And the ponds are full of water and that’s probably the first time they’ve been full since about 2011. (Sam) Stay tuned. We’ll be right back with That’s My Farm.

(Sam) I’m Sam Capoun and we’re here with Heath Stuewe, which is Earl Stuewe’s son. So Heath, more and more generations are being disconnected from the family operation. What’s the importance of you coming back and helping your Dad? (Heath) Oh, it’s just, you get everything put together, you like to keep it going and hopefully my kids and my sister’s kids will be able to take it over someday and keep it going for another generation. (Sam) So, tell me a little bit about your day-to-day operation. (Heath) I pretty much take care of the cattle day-to-day and Dad does a lot of the haying and farming and we help each other. We’re needed all the time, but oh like when we’re calving, I do all the checking and pretty much handle calving unless I have trouble and have to get Dad. We’ve got a Polaris Ranger I run around and check all the cows. Carry a cooler on the back with warm water and colostrum and some medicine. And kind of have it to where I can take care of most problems right out there as we find ’em. And then as we get cattle out to summer grass I haul out all the minerals and check the fence and water gaps and kind of doctor what needs it. And then fall we wean the calves together and then Dad does a lot of the feeding while I’m doing checking the calves and Dad’s feeding the calves in the lots, while I’m feeding the cows that are out in the pasture. We get by pretty good doing that with a lot of, oh we run with cows on a lot of hay meadows that we’ve hayed earlier, once they go dormant and a lot of brome and fescue and cool season grasses and get by on feeding a little bit of corn gluten and not too much hay then until you get into December and start getting into the colder weather. (Sam) So, with all of the rain that we’ve been seeing in our area, have you had any problems with foot rot? (Heath) We’ve just started to doctor a few. We haven’t had it too bad. But, I actually helped a neighbor doctor six last Friday night, so it’s starting. But with the, it being so muddy all spring and then the rot, they’re starting to bruise their feet up a little bit. (Sam) So, tell us a little bit about how you doctor them. (Heath) Well, it just depends on the situation. A lot of times if we’ve got horses there we’ll go out and head and heel ’em, and stretch ’em out and doctor ’em that way. If there’s a pen handy and you’ve got several of ’em we’ll go ahead and run ’em in the pen. And if I’m just out on the four wheeler hauling minerals, sometimes I’ll just use the dart gun and get ’em that way while it will save a trip coming back. (Sam) Oh the dart gun is so handy. We use that on our operation. You just go out and shoot it right in ’em and pick it up and on with your way. (Heath) Yea. (Sam) So, you guys are primarily on horseback, correct? (Heath) Yea, we use horses a lot. I guess that’s another thing I kind of do is I ride the young horses once we get ’em to the point. We usually have, if we buy a young colt, we have somebody start ’em for us and put on the first 60 days. So, they’re not just real green when we’re trying to get a job done on ’em. We’re kind of limited on time to just ride the horse without working at the same time. But horses are a big part of our operation. We couldn’t, we drive cows up to nine miles down the road and rotate ’em between pastures. Drive a lot of our pairs out in the spring and they don’t ever see a trailer until we wean the calves, so it saves us a lot of time and a lot of work loading and handling those cattle, by being able to use the horses to do it. (Sam) Well, certainly. Alright. Well, thank you Heath. Stay tuned we’ll be right back with That’s My Farm.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re here with Heath Stuewe again. So Heath, tell me about what you’re going to be doing today. (Heath) Well today we’re going to rotate some cattle. We actually calve in this pasture. We’re gonna be leaving and so we’re gonna get out of there so it can grow back and have plenty of cover for when we start calving. We’ve got a couple other small pastures that aren’t big enough to put cattle on for the full summer or this number, but not big enough to really justify having a bull on all summer by themselves, but we’ll get through these other pastures. (Sam) So, what’s the importance of rotating cattle throughout the year? (Heath) Oh it just lets your grass have a rest and one area will grow back and they can kinda go in and hit another area hard for a short time and then you get ’em off of it. So every area has plenty of a chance to rest and recover, get the grass to grow back. (Sam) I know we’ve had issues on my operation where the cattle kind of stand in the corner and stomp it out, or maybe if they have lots of flies on them, so they’re trying to herd together. Are you guys seeing any of those issues? (Heath) Yea. There’s been a lot of flies this year and I actually took a trip to Wichita and I went down the turnpike and came back up 177 and the pastures all the way along are that way. So, it’s not just limited to this area. But the cattle are trying to get high up on the hills. A lot of the corners are up high and cattle like to stand there and the wind will help with the flies a little bit and they can huddle together and stomp at ’em. (Sam) So, are you treating anything for flies? (Heath) Yea we do. We’ve got a sprayer in the back of our Ranger. We’re actually going to pen these cattle that we’re moving today and spray ’em for flies before we move ’em. (Sam) Tell me a little bit about your bulls that you have. (Heath) We’ve been buying our bulls for quite a few years now from Mill Brae Ranch and the herd’s pretty much straight Angus at this point. We’ve had some Simmental cross cows to start with and then we’ve been breeding the Angus bulls for a long time. And we’re actually starting to move back to that just a little bit doing a, we’ve bought a few half Simmental, half Angus bulls now that we’re trying out and kind of seeing if we’re gonna keep the consistency in our calves and get a little bit more growth out of ’em. (Sam) So, for keeping this consistency I know your Dad had mentioned keeping retained ownership. What’s the importance of having these Angus traits for the retained ownership? (Heath) Oh just the carcass quality isn’t in just the growth. We buy really high growth Angus bulls. Usually everything’s got at least a 1,300 pound yearling weight. It just makes for calves that, they’re small coming out so you don’t have a lot of calving trouble and then they do really well and grow from then on and we get ’em up to, like the ones that we’re having in March, we’ll start selling those in late December, you know weighing 850-900 pounds. (Sam) Alright. Stay tuned folks. We’ll be right back with this segment of That’s My Farm.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re here again with Heath Stuewe. So Heath a big topic in the industry today is low stress cattle handling. So tell me a little bit about why you guys choose to use horses for this low stress maintenance. (Heath) Oh we just, you can take everything a lot slower with horses than you can with ATV’s. And like going down the road you can slip up through the ditch and around cattle you know without making any noise. And it lets fewer people move a big group of cattle because you don’t have to have somebody stage the head at all the holes. And anyway this fits our operation pretty good. The horse can move sideways a lot better than an ATV can. And those cows sometimes will take their calves and try to head for the brush. (Sam) Certainly. So, typically how many people do you have helping you guys when you’re moving cattle? (Heath) Oh it just depends on the bunch and the distance. We do a lot of trading with neighbors to get enough labor for the big days with just Dad and I. We’ve got neighbors that come out and help us in the spring when we’re dragging calves and then we’ll help them ship their yearlings, cause our busy times of year are offset a little bit from each other. We’re fortunate to to have really good neighbors and a lot of good friends that are good cowboys. They’re professionals, you know they do it all the time too. So, it works really well when we can trade with each other and not have to hire a lot of that help. (Sam) So, tell me a little bit about how you break your horses. (Heath) Oh we usually have someone start ’em. I’m sure not against buying a four to six year old horse that’s going really well. If we start getting our or using horses a little older and we haven’t got that done yet, we’ll buy a colt from a good sale. We’ve bought a lot from Stouts. And this one came from Jamisons. And bought a couple from Hubbards now, but anyway when those colts get two years, we’ll have somebody ride ’em in the fall. We’ve got a neighbor who does a really good job of it. And he’ll put 30 days on ’em in the fall and then another 30 days on ’em the following spring when they’re three years old. And then we’ll kind of take ’em from there and start using them on ranch. And just slow, work little jobs first. And then as they progress and get to being able to handle more, we’ll get to dragging calves first and then we’ll get to doctoring. When they get ready to start doctoring yearlings when you’re having to run ’em down and ship yearlings, that’s when they’re kind of ready to be a horse. When the horses get older we’ve always got a good market for ’em if we want to sell ’em when they get to 14-15 years old because the people that have roped with us, they want ’em or they want ’em for one of their kids. And the older ranch horses are really valuable too. (Sam) So, how many do you typically keep around at one time? (Heath) I usually have at least two. And then we’ll usually have, Dad will have one and we’ll have at least one spare. We’re probably not gonna sell any now with Rita’s, my sister’s kids, getting old enough to ride. Those older ranch horses will stick around to babysit and teach them as they get to going, help in the pasture. (Sam) So, how do you keep up with the maintenance on the horses? And how often do you shoe ’em, take ’em to the vet? (Heath) Our shoer comes every eight weeks and then he’ll come back and nail one on if we lose it. This spring with the wet weather it has been really bad about losing shoes. (Sam) Oh, I’m sure. (Heath) And other than that we just worm ’em and vaccinate ’em every spring. And we’re lucky to have a couple of pretty good horse vets in the area if something does go wrong and if it’s beyond our ability to diagnose or treat, we can go to them and they’ll get us fixed up. (Sam) Well good deal. He looks like a crazy horse, I’m sure you never ride ’em right? (Heath) Yea, this one’s 12 years old now, so he’s pretty much been there and done that. (Sam) Yea. (Heath) I brought my good one when I had to be on TV. (Sam) Well thanks Heath. Stay tuned folks, well be right back with That’s My Farm.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m your guest host Sam Capoun. And this summer we did a little segment at the Stuewe Ranch and they were bringing the cow and calf pairs off the pasture. And we thought it would be important to follow this story. So, we’re back a couple of months later. And we’re here with Earl Stuewe. So Earl, tell us a little bit about what you guys are doing today. (Earl) Well the calves we usually try to get those weaned in September. So, they’ve been weaned and they’re pretty well straightened out now. And we’re running ’em through and we’re sorting the heifers from the steers. Might mention it’s the first of November now. And anyway, we’re sorting heifers from the steers today and we’ve got all the cows moved off the pastures that they were in all summer cause our typical grazing season on our summer grass is the first of May to the first of November. So we’ve got that pretty well done. And the cows are on some cool season grass and some corn stocks and that’s basically where they are now. And we’re not feeding them yet cause they’ve got pretty good grazing for another month or two. But anyway the calves back here behind us that they’re working while we’re sorting heifers from the steers and then we’re going to run them through tomorrow and re-vac all of ’em and pour ’em and implant the steers. And the heifers will all be calf hooded and we’ll sort the ones that we’re gonna keep for our herd off and then the remainder of ’em, the better heifers, the remainder of ’em will probably be sold here in February and they usually have been going back to the country for replacement heifers. Somebody buys ’em and takes ’em back into their own herds. So, that’s what they’re doing behind us. And we’re gonna turn these steers out here pretty quick cause we don’t have time to work ’em all in one day. We’re gonna get ’em all sorted today and then keep the heifers in and work the heifers tomorrow and then the steers we’ll get them back in another day and run them through and work ’em. (Sam) Now what will you do with these steers after you put ’em back out? (Earl) We’ll feed them til they weigh about eight and a half. We’ll probably start selling some mid-January and probably have most of ’em all gone by the end of February. And we just sort a pot load of ’em out at one time and then just keep cutting the heavy end off so we get a pretty nice, even pot load of calves that way and it kind of helps sell when you have a whole pot load that can go to the same order buyer and into the same feedlot. They feed ’em all in the same pen and they kind of like that and they can do a little better that way. So that’s the plan with the steers and then like I said, the heifers we’ll probably hold them til the end of February. And then we’ll try to sell them a pot load at a time and maybe have one of two pot loads what will go back to the country for somebody else. (Sam) So how are the cattle looking this year with the cattle market? (Earl) Well I mean it’s a lot lower, but it’s still really good. I mean the cow/calf man you know getting thirteen a hundred dollars or better for steer, why that’s still a lot better than it used to be. It’s not as good, I suppose it’s $35 dollars $100 lower than last year. (Sam) Certainly. Well thanks for joining us Earl. Thanks for watching That’s My Farm. Make sure you check back in next Friday.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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