WHY IS BUCK LAKE RANCH A BLACK ANGUS SEEDSTOCK PRODUCER?
In 2006 Buck Lake Ranch was a Cow/calf producer with a herd of about 450 cows, mostly Angus/Hereford cross and bred to Black Angus bulls. Times were tough with the full impact of BSE and incredibly poor markets in the cattle industry. Operating in B.C. is even more difficult because of higher costs of hay irrigation, transportation and predator losses. One advantage was that some direct meat customers raved about how great the range and grass fed beef tasted. Wayne decided to get into some direct wholesale to specialty butchers and began finishing several steers each month. Two high end butcher shops in Kelowna agreed to buy a steer a month and the first deliveries echoed the raves about the tasty meat. Then Wayne took two really plump and fancy steers, a black white face and a red to the slaughter house and then delivered these to the butchers. Shortly thereafter the butchers both called to complain. The carcasses were Grade A not Grade AAA as they had expected. Wayne offered discounts in the price but one said unless he got AAA every time forget it. This was impossible for Wayne to deliver the way he was set up with the breeding in his herd. Wayne decided to withdraw from the direct meat business UNTIL he could deliver AAA every time or at least 90% of the time. He wanted praise for the quality he produced not criticism that it was not good enough.
Wayne had a few purebred Black Angus cows that he was dabbling with in 2005 to breed his own herd bulls, primarily focusing on AI ing to Calving ease sires like MYTTY IN FOCUS, to reduce the sleepless nights at calving time which are hard on +60 oldsters like himself and his crew. Wayne's studies, after the direct meat marketing foray, focussed on carcass genetics but he could not find any bull sources other than AI sires in the Black Angus breed which was heavily shifting into that direction. The Angus Association development of genetic E.P.D.s makes trait selection possible such as: high growth from lower birthweight to weaning, high growth from weaning to yearling, maternal milking potential and, most importantly to Wayne, huge improvements to rib-eye muscling and marbling, making his goal of AAA meat every time out achievable with careful selection and breeding. No other breed of cattle could match the genetic mapping and the diverse base of the Black Angus.
Then, in 2007, the Cow/calf financial losses were overwelming and Buck Lake Ranch cut it's commercial herd in half to reduce the bleeding. The decision to convert and grow into a purebred Black Angus producer was made. Costs of raising competitive bulls are at least 3-4 times higher but prices per animal are also higher. The best seedstock producers in Canada, like Hamilton Farms for example, can average 10 times the receipts per calf compared to commercial calf producers. The only way Wayne could see to survive and possibly make a profit was to go at the Seedstock market, facing stiff competition and provide bulls with an edge over that competition. His experience with the butchers firmed up the direction to build a cow herd with full tracking of all genetic traits and aiming to produce bulls that rank in the top 10% in each of the traits including carcass traits that are often overlooked or ignored by other seedstock producers. Since 2007 Buck Lake has been buying purebred cows and raising cows that have the necessary genetics to provide the base to breed superior bulls from. Purchases were made from top herds in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana and Nebraska. Heavy use of Trait leading AI sires was established. He focused on major growth from SAV NET WORTH, SITZ UPWARD 307R, SITZ ONWARD 298S and HF TIGER 5T, and major carcass improvement from GAR PREDESTINED and SS OBJECTIVE.
Steve Gibson took over Buck Lake Ranch management in 2010 and he brought with him years of experience as a cow/calf producer in Alberta, a purebred black angus producer in Australia and he was a Wagu producer for the Japanese market. Steve is directing the purebred program to have balanced traits with emphasis on more punch by his use of sires such as the calving ease without loss of production growth SAV BISMARCK and TC ABERDEEN. He recently bred many cows to HF TIGER and to a top bull from Hamilton Farms that we purchased, the HF KODIAK son, HF STOP N' STARE who wowed the crowds at the NWSS Nationals in Denver as one of a pen of three that took Division Reserve Championship. STOP N' STARE also had the largest scrotum at the 2012 Hamilton sale at 42cm, and scanned ultrasound to be one of the best ribeye and marbling bulls in their line-up. Other bulls in Steve's 2012 breeding selection include big growth sires SAV HERITAGE, MOHEN DYNAMITE and TC TOTAL. He also is introducing us to the very complete AI sire CONNEALY RIGHT ANSWER and to CONNEALY CONSENSUS thru a son purchased from our friends at Hamilton Farms, HF CONSENSUS 235Y. Like Wayne, Steve is an experienced cattleman who loves breeding superior Black Angus bulls for serious commercial producers.
We hope to see you at our third annual production sale March 23, 2013 at the Calgary Stockyards in Strathmore, Alberta where you can judge and compare our cattle for yourself. When you see them we are sure that you will want to join the happy family of buyers who appreciate top quality. If you aim for the best meat final product and want to be proud of what you produce you will understand why Buck Lake Ranch is in the Black Angus Seedstock industry.