Tri Tip

If you read much or know me you know I really like to eat.  If you have eaten with me, you know I like meat, and beef is the meat of choice.  I like steak, burger, and all kinds of beef except liver.

Today I got to enjoy one of my favorite cuts and preparation methods of beef.  Californio style tri-tip is soo good.  Add in the facts that it was prepared in the traditional style of an oak fire ten feet from the cattle pens at Visalia Cattle Market with Ian Tyson and Dave Stacey music playing in the background, and I shared a meal with great producers of the very product we were eating, and we ate off the bed of a real nice truck with one of my favorite people, Jill Scofield,  it just doesn’t get any better than that.


I had a real nice set of calves to work with in my demonstration and the ring is good sized.  We had had a conference call a while ago and Randy Baxley and his wife Beth who run the outfit wanted to really focus on producers working their calves better for BQA and industry standards.  California Beef Council agreed and shared in getting me there.  So that was the focus of the demonstration.


The calves they let me use were great and really responded to pressure with a lot of feel. After Dinner I got to visit with Dick Knox who has supported BQA for a long time in California, and Celeste Settrini, who is a big supporter of it now.  It was a real nice day for the guy with the best job in the world.



Seat 3B music

It was Ian Tyson’s 85th birthday last week, heard about it on KGHL radio.

We drove by “Deadman Creek” on the way to Kamloops from Williams lake (if you are not a fan, Tyson sings about went there riding colts when young.

I sat in seat 3B on my flight from Calgary to San Francisco.  The Visalia Stocksaddle Company was famous for the tree by that name.

i am working in Visalia, California tomorrow at the auction market.

With all those reminders how could I not feature this song.

Ian, thank you for all the great music and keeping it traditional.

More TRU stockmanship

The students do a report on what they learned or observed in the stockmanship days.  I thought these were real good observations.  Liam came from a logging background and had a real fresh and open mind.  He created positive pressure for animals and people.


Low Stress Cattle handling

Liam Dennison

ASUR 1040-3

Sept 27 2018


calm yet direct approach toward cattle
3 types of pressure.  Drive, draw and maintain
Cattle don’t like pressure from behind because they cannot see where you are.
Cattle have two mind states. Reaction and thinking
Cattle only think about one thing at a time
Always have gates with the flow of cattle
When sorting cattle, it is a good idea to have a numbering system to avoid need for communication in loud conditions
Bud box is a effective way to move cattle thru shoots
Hotshots are a effective way to move cattle when you cannot create more forward pressure then they feel backward
A release off pressure can be just as effective as a driving pressure
Being on horse can be an advantage by being able to see above cattle and the cows in front
Pneumonia is a result of an infection that was already present in the cattle
Sub Q needles should be 5/8”-1/4”
A new needle should be used every time it is used to refill from a bottle
Colostrum must be sucked within 12 hours of birth
Multi shot syringe is to be cleaned with hot water only
Vaccines should be spaced 10cm apart or a hand width
Synovex c implant can increase calf crop by 25%
This is a video Herman to and it shows how his horse bobbing its head put too much pressure on the geese and caused them to fly.  Our cattle don’t fly, so I don’t think we see that we are having an effect on the animals fear or aggravation level, but we are.
This is a great example of the effect of just a little change in pressure causing a reaction on one animal and feeding through the whole herd.

Old Farts and Young People

In Calgary waiting for flights to California to work for California Beef Council in Visalia, California on Sunday.

Just spent 3 great days in Williams Lake, British Columbia with a couple of old farts and a bunch of good young people that really worked hard at improving their stockmanship skills at the Thompson River University sustainable Agriculture coarse.

Gord Colliar and Herman Geertsema were the old farts and we had lots of fun terrorizing each other.  Gord is  Zoetis in BC, and Herman is a great vet and a very good stockman.  

Gord’s partner is an athlete and has him on a real strict diet.  I’m not sure “Blizzards” are on it.

I’ve done this program for three years now, and each year the students have been very different.  This year they were all pretty young and had the same goals and ideas and were a great group.  We split them into different teams and we worked ten heifers for three days on horseback and a foot.  They really got it and the heifers were great and got better and better the more we worked em.

Gillian Watt runs this part of the program and knows just the right kind and the right amount of pressure to use to keep the students hooked and learning.  

We started the first morning with a introduction talk on Stockmanship.  As I was talking about flight and pressure zones I noticed a whole bunch of Geese over in the infield.  They were a great way to explain “flight zone”.  After the talk we worked the heifers on foot learning about pressure and release and angles.  They understood very well.

After lunch all but a few got horseback.  Herman was riding a horse of Gord’s he had never ridden before and I saw him riding around getting used to him.  He ended up herding geese and was moving them real nice.  They were responding to him perfectly and you could really see how his position really created a good response.  

Well that gave me the idea to have the class see how the geese worked.  They responded very well to strait lines and driving and drawing an eye.  I showed some driving and then the student joined in.  They were going right through the gate and the little Half-linger the girl in the video was riding moved his hind quarters over towards the geese about two steps and that was to much pressure and they flew.  Everyone saw what penetrating the flight zone was all about.  It was real fun to see and do.

One night we went out to the Alkaline Lake Ranch to visit.  We went to Steve and Laurie Brewers first and had a visit.  Steve never did show up.  He’s the boss of the outfit and was still out working.  I don’t know if he just doesn’t like me and stayed out working not to have to see me, or if he is just a hard worker.  It could be both.  We had a great visit with his wife and she is nicer anyway!  All kidding asides I have always admired Steve’s ability to get things done.

We had supper with the young folks I’m real proud of.  Mark and Asia Elliot were at Douglas lake when I first went there doing a colt starting deal with Gord and Zoetis several years ago.  I new Mark had a lot of Talent as a horseman and stockman, and have watched him get better and better over the years.  They remind me of our family when we were working and raising our kids on ranches.  It was the greatest time in my life and I really like seeing two young folks and their kids adding to this world.

We got a lot done with the students over the three days and feel good that we gave them a good base to build on.  Herman added a lot to the clinic sharing ideas and giving the kids confidence.  Gord is a real traditionalist and shared ideas on how to work in a crew.  He gave a real good power point presentation and discussed proper vaccine and antibiotic use, BQA and Verified Beef protocol and inspiration to be the best at what they do.


Listening to Gord’s very exiting power point presentation.

We finished up with loading the heifers in the trailer out in the middle of the big pen.  It was a very good three days!

Pow, pow on to the next one.  Visalia on Sunday, then I fly all night to Monterrey, Mexico to work Monday and Tuesday at a conference, then I fly to Cancun for Zoetis and a feedlot symposium for one day, then head up to Stephenville, Texas for the Stockmanship and Stewardship event.  The run is not done there but will continue the story later.

More from Montrose

I am getting along with my iPad about like I got along with the chute in Montrose.  It won’t do what I ask it to do.    I had tried to put the corral design on the post and it didn’t work so here it is.


Sorry about all the confusion.


We completed stop number three of NCBA’s Stockmanship and Stewardship tour in Montrose, Colorado.

Ron Gill and I missed the first sessions as we helped set up the Priefert panels to get the pen how we liked it. We used a design that I think is best to display all the different things we want to show in our demos, and you can do it horseback or a foot. We made the entrance into the pens on what some people think is difficult, but it actually makes it easier to position yourself to creat direction and flow for the cattle to “decide” to go in the pens rather than be forced into the pens. Big difference.

We wanted a tub to use as Temple Grandin was speaking and we new she would be able to really speak about it. It is really hard to find one that is portable and fits in the demo pen, so that is one reason we use a Bud Box so much. We like them both if they are designed and used properly.

I made a joke in our demo that I wanted a tub system but Ron wanted a Bud Box. He didn’t find it near as funny as I did and neither did Temple. I tried to throw him under the bus, but the bus wasn’t moving. I’m sure there will be retaliation.

The guys at the Montrose Event Center were really good to work with. Ray had earrings and tattoos. CJ was a country guy that dressed western. They both worked hard and Ray and I got into a discussion about work ethic. What I see is guys that have his style and character are hard working backbone of America kind of folks that provide lots of the labor that keeps things working. They are not going to be the managers or politician types, so they know they need to work hard to do their part. Just because a guy has a different style doesn’t mean he is not valuable to society. It was a good conversation.

CJ was real interested in our presentation and wished his grandfather would come and watch. It was nice to get to see how dedicated these guys were to the job, and sure made our job much easier by going the extra mile.

The afternoon speakers we got to listen to were great. They had a panel discussing benefits of implementing stockmanship moderated by Kevin Ochsner, of NCBA’s Cattleman to Cattleman. He did a great job of getting the most out of the very knowledgeable and different panel.

They fed everyone a great steak Dinner and followed it with a tasting and comparing of different grades and cuts of meat. I think this is a great learning experience (when you can learn by eating steak how could it be bad).

Last year at Fort Collins they did a similar program. They used a very high quality grass finished sample and several ranchers at my table picked it as their favorite and they didn’t like that. This year the grass fed(notice the difference in the word fed and finished)was not the same quality and no one picked it at our table as being desirable.

I feel this is a very important point we need to see as producers. A quality steak is purchased for a quality eating experience. If the quality doesn’t meet the expectations of the person making the decision to eat a certain steak, they will try something else next time. That decision may be another protein like pork, chicken or fish.

This is why I don’t think it’s smart for our industry to divide ourselves into categories and divisions. We need to find what the consumer wants(they don’t all want the same thing), educate them on real facts and truths, and provide them with a high quality eating experience with all their decisions.

I feel that if you are trying to create a grass finished steak of quality from the same genetics that have been created for our high energy feedlot rations you are not going to create a highly marbled, good tasting steak. You can make real good hamburger, but that’s not what we are after.

There is more and more demand for grass finished. Someone will fill the demand. Let’s do it with quality beef and in a positive as both competitors and partners all in the same business. Beef Quality Assurance is about quality in all categories.

Temple finished the evening with a real good talk on issues in the industry and we called it a good day.

The next morning started out in the Breakfast room at the hotel. This is where so much happens at theses conferences. Discussion and networking of attendees. Ron, Juan Reyes, and Temple had a nice discussion on all things beef, and Juan told us how he got started with the Stockmanship and dogs. It is so great to be surrounded by like minded people that are proud to be in the beef business.

We got to the arena and the cattle and horses were there and ready to go. Juan worked his dogs a little to dog break the cattle and Ron and I sat and watched on our very nice horses. Doug, the fellow that was in charge of bringing the horses and cattle, was a guy that I instantly liked and new before we even saw them that the horses and cattle would be good. I would really like to ride and work with him. Just like Ray with the earrings, I think he knows he is never going to own his own big ranch, so he dedicates himself to the skills and art of being a stockman, and he and so many like him are why Beef Quality Assurance is as good as it is. I would learn and have some fun.

Almost everything was good in the demos. We had plenty of time to explain and do. We worked quite a lot outside in the arena as I felt most of these folks were big country people and we would do well to discuss handling cattle outside. The corral work was done mostly on foot, but Ron did put the cattle through the Bud Box once horseback. I felt real good about the demo. The one mistake I made was not learning how to run the chute. It was a very good chute, but I didn’t know how to run it. My mistake. I’m not good at working a chute, and am terrible when I know nothing about it. It was not good for the demo or the chute provider that donated it, and I won’t let that happen again.
Another word for experience is mistakes and I just got some experience.

Juan then did a demonstration on handling cattle with dogs. Real informative, valuable information on how to work cattle with dogs and a very good way of presenting it using humor, common sense and knowledge all thrown together.

My wife told me she watched some of it on live feed. As Baxter Black says “it’s out there somewhere.”

In the afternoon they had break out sessions. Libby Bigler asked me if I could do the portion on ATV use in cattlehandling. I might not have done it for anyone, but I would do anything Libby asked me because she is such a good person and so dedicated to BQA. I knew Ron and I could get it done from watching previous talks and some experience, and as I’ve said before Ron knows something about everything. I enjoyed doing them and I feel like we gave folks some insight in how to be safe in improve the pressure they create on machines handling cattle.

They finished up with BQA training and a test to get certified in Beef Quality Assurance. I took the test and got recertification as it had been more than 3 years since I had certification online.

I just want to try to paint a picture of what happens at these Stockmanship and Stewardship events. I feel they bring so much value for the time and money invested. Everyone works so hard to make it a worthwhile, valuable event for the producer. Boehringer Ingelheim has stepped up with funding, NCBA has a dedicated team that helps the local state BQA coordinator and extension folks put it together. It is a team effort, and the Montrose, Colorado event was real good. Everyone should be very proud of the effort.

The next one is in Stephenville, Texas October 5 and 6. Then Pasco, Washington October 12 and 13.

I would sure recommend attending and/or having employees attend. Even if you’re not in the beef industry I would try to attend to find out just how good and dedicated this industry is at trying to improve Beef Quality Assurance. I am sure fortunate to be around so many smart people. I still think I have the best job in the world!