It’s that Special Time of Year

 

With the holiday season upon us, it is time for us to take a look in the rear view mirror on how quickly 2015 has gone by.

I do not recall a year like 2015 where just about every thing seemed to fall into place. Calving went well with a live calf per cow again this year. Bull sales were phenomenal, being sold out by January. The rains eventually came and it turned out to be a great year for our pastures, with our cow herd still out and here it is December 22.

Our bred heifers were sold as a package to repeat customers in the province of Quebec. Our steer calves sold for record prices “WOW

It’s now time for us to show our appreciation and to say many  thanks  for your support. Your enthusiasm and your visits to Dora Lee are, for us, over the top.

With the holiday season in full swing we realize just how fortunate we are. With heath and family, really what more could any man in his right mind ask for. Our daughter Lee-Ann and son in-law Brian from Scotland, along with sons David and Ben and Sarah with grandchildren, Michael, Katherine, Joseph, Nathan and baby Monica will be here with us to celebrate this Christmas.

To each and everyone of you, “Merry Christmas”.

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By doraleepuppies

It’s my favourite time of the year

Cows Oct '155 The leaves are starting to turn, there is coolness in the air. Yes, fall weather is in the air. It’s a time of year this old cowboy really enjoys.

Back in May and early June we didn’t think we would ever see rain again. The rains eventually came and the hay crop and pastures we had written off turned out reasonable well.

hay bales '15

Our keeper bull calves have been weaned and started on feed. The cull bull calves with their record prices for us, are off to the feed lot. Our pastures are in good shape and should be good till perhaps mid November.bulls at mangerP1030680

We have had several groups of breeders here to tour our pastures. It is very gratifying for us to have fellow breeders take the time to travel here and spend several hours with us discussing what else??? Fleckvieh, why polled?, many different blood lines, genomics  etc. etc.visitors in pasture '15

All and all it has been a very good year for us, bull sales last winter were strong, being sold out early. Bred heifer sales have also been strong and there is much interest in our bull calves for next winter.

Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend. Ben and Sarah, our 5 grandchildren along with our oldest son David will be here to help celebrate Thanksgiving. And of course, we’ll be talking to our son Dennis and Jeanne in Alberta and our daughter Lee-Ann and Brian in Scotland. It is a special time for everyone.

Betty and I are very blessed, we have good health, a great family and a way of life we chose and enjoy immensely. We have much to be thankful for in so many ways. Thanks for listening.

Happy thanksgiving!

By doraleepuppies

Dora Lee’s 2015 Bred Heifers

Our 2015 bred heifers are on their way to their new home at Ferme Dalmas in St-Augustin. Thank you to M. Cyril St. Pierre, a repeat customer from Quebec for their support of our breeding program. These Full Fleckvieh heifers were a quality group it was hard to part with. Sired by Equinox, Platinum, Dr Duke and Viper, all but 1 were polled and all were bred A.I. to calving ease bulls. We wish Ferme Dalmas all the best with these excellent young females.

2015 bred heifers

By doraleepuppies

Spring is in the Air!

Daffodils mar '15

 

With a colder than normal winter now behind us and Easter approaching, it is time to talk about some of the good things happening here.

Interest in our bulls has  certainly been ” over the top” so to speak as we were completely sold out by the end of January. We had youngsters go or are going to Port Hope, Massy and Charlton, all here in Ontario.

An Anchor D Viper son “DLD Phantom 309A” out of our Bar 5 Maria cow has impressed us from day one. Phantom is polled, his genomics score is right were we want it to be and his temperament is second to none.  I believe perhaps the most correct bull ever born and developed here. Phantom is being retained and will be hand mated to a select number of cows.

Calving has gone extremely well with 100%  live calves on the ground. We have offspring from San Mar Pharao, Equinox, Platinum, Wow- Effect, Viper, Arnold’s Image, and 3 heifer calves from our Kaw-Liga 91A bull, a polled King Arthur AFY 50C son we are in the process of developing here. King Arthur was imported in 1971 and we believe to be one of the best Fleckvieh bulls ever to set foot here in North America.

Calves in hutch 15

We have 11 calves from our up and coming herd sire Wow- Effect. They come easy, temperament and color is good. Would it be fair to suggest we are very impressed at this point in time?

After 2 years of development our Platinum bull 61X has proven to us that he can successfully be used on heifers. Each and every calf born to date has low birth weight, been solid in color with eye pigmentation .  We will be breeding several of our heifers to him this year.

So with spring in the air, we look forward to having two of our sons, David and Ben along with Sarah and grand children Michael, Katherine, Joseph and Nathan spend Easter with us here this year. To each and every one of you … Happy Easter!!!

By doraleepuppies

2014 – A Year to Remember!

Snow bank & houseDSC00873 The year started out as the coldest, toughest winter in the past 25 years here in Ontario, thanks to what our weather forecasters called a Nor-easter. When spring finally arrived things certainly began to change here big time. Late May brought us cool weather and abundance of rain fall and in turn unlimited pasture.Legumes in pastureDSC00958 Our Fleckvieh’s never had it so good with knee deep pastures through the summer and fall. It was mid November when our cow herd came back to the barn looking for their winter stored hay.bulls at mangerP1030680Cattle laying in tall grassDSC00953 Bull sales went extremely well with herd sire prospects going  both sides of the border with 2 of our youngsters going into stud in the US.

Come summer we upgraded our 430 JD round baler to a  467 John Deere round baler and had it fitted to handle JD B-wrap – a water proof bale wrap, new to Canada for 2014. ” Simply put”, we now can store our hay bales outside with virtually no water or weather damage. We are now feeding this product. It looks and smells the same as the day it was baled. The most important part is our Fleckvieh’s just seem to love it.

Baler &bale DSC00945 Following a successful haying season, it was time to start preparing a group of sale heifers for our annual Fleckvieh Forum sale. Betty and I had discussed several times over the past few years the pros and cons of instead of taking them to the Auction facility, just placing them on our web site and offering them for sale here at Dora Lee.'14 heifers on side hill   We were thinking, even if we sold 2 or 3 it would be a good start. We were pleasantly surprised. Our phone started to ring and emails began arriving daily.  To make a long story short, we were completely sold out within just a few short weeks. We sold some of our heifers to the veteran cattleman, but what got us really excited was the interest from the next generation. High school students were here buying heifers, starting their own herds and planning to use sales down the road to help pay their way through university.

We wish to say “THANK YOU”  to the many cattlemen who  supported our program again this year. Buzzard Hollow Ranch, Texas Mathew Swart, Brussels Marvin Burkhard, Wallenstein Henk-Jan Ginkel, Norwich Lynn & Brian Vail, Clarksburg Lonnie & Karen Brown, Westlock, Alberta Luke Weber, Holyrood Maurice Web, Arkansaw

With most of 2014 in the rear view mirror and the wonderful season of Christmas upon us, it is now time for Betty and Ross to count our many blessings. We do have our health and family and really, what more could any man in his right mind ask for. We are really looking forward to having two of our sons, David and Ben with his wife Sarah, along with 4 wonderful grandchildren here for a couple of days over Christmas .

Michael at ChristmasDSC_0873-1 May the Joy of the Christmas season fill your home with Happiness. Wishing each and everyone of you, a “Merry Christmas”.

Ross and Betty

By doraleepuppies

Introducing Willow Oaks Alda

Alda DSC01272

This October, our never ending 364 days a year search for outcross polled genetics brought us to the Magnolia Classic sale, Starkville, Mississippi. Traveling in and out of  3 airports, a four hour drive in a rented car, certainly had me wondering, just why am I doing this?

We arrivied at the Magnolia sales facility, where Betty and I were certainly made welcome by hosts Dr. and Mrs Davis and several of the consigners. Just seeing the impressive set of cattle on display -“WOW”. It sure did not take long for me to forget the day and a half travelling it took to getting there.

It all started with a phone call from Maurice Webb, a long time breeder of Fleckvieh genetics down south in Arkansas. I had met Maurice several years ago while attending a Dollar Diamond Fleckvieh sale. Several times a year Maurice and I, “simply put” talk Fleckvieh genetics.

Maurice had been talking to me about Willow Oaks Alda, a polled heifer he was consigning to the Magnolia Classic sale. The top side of her pedigree had outcross genetics for us, by time proven greats, Hafke, GPCC Heather, and Hackenberg and her polled genetics going back to South Africa. My first response was “send me a hair sample”. I needed a genomic profile on Alda to give us an additional selection tool to see if she had what it takes to make a difference here at Dora Lee.

Her genomic profile really got this old cowboy excited. Her RFI score (feed efficiency) was, shall I say, over the top. On scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the very best and 10 not very good, Alda scored a 1 placing her among the very elite for feed efficiency for beef cattle here in North America.

The next order of business was to find a way to get to the Magnolia Classic sale and see for ourselves if she fit into our selection criteria to come to Dora Lee. The next step was to attempt to out bid a sale ring packed with Fleckvieh Breeders from south of the border. We were successful and she arrived here at her new home on Dec 4.

Magnolia sale ringDSC01280

 

I am excited about the potential this young lady has to offer. However, Alda like any other additions here, will need to prove to us over and over again she has what it takes to once again raise the bar here at Dora Lee.

“Fullblood Fleckvieh Genetics at their Finest”

 

By doraleepuppies

It all starts here with our cow herd

cows on grass greenestDSC01080

 

They say it takes a life time to put together that perfect cow herd, are we there yet? No, not yet! However, we have witnessed and been part of a lot of change and adapting to new technology over the years since we started down this path of breeding Simmental back in 1973.

As we go about our 364 day per year search for outcross genetics, the replacement selection criteria we use, includes feed efficiency – the ability to turn forage into meat and milk, average daily gain, udders, temperament, feet and legs, genomic profile, birth weight, fertility, over all performance, maternal calving ease and last but not least feminine females and masculine males. Additions to our nucleus herd are selected by asking ourselves, very simply put, have they earned the right to stay here and walk our pastures?

The challenge of breeding polled genetics into our herd has been very intriguing. It began with the introduction of polled genetics into our nucleus herd in 1998, with each and every polled female then bred back to horned genetics. Now several years later we have  developed a number of homozygous polled females to be part of our walking herd which gives us additional opportunities to continue to add those time proven horned genetics from the 1970’s  & 1980’s .

Our cow herd is continually evolving and moving ahead as we attempt to once again raise the bar. In many cases, superior, feed efficient, polled daughters are now replacing their dams and grand dams.

I do not know just what the future holds. However one thing is for certain, our goal of improving feed efficiency within our cow herd is something we have been working on for several years now and is still very much a high priority here.

Adeline & calf Aug '14DSC01077

Have we been able to breed or purchase that perfect bull or female? No not yet!! However that does not mean for just one moment we are not attempting to locate and/or breed them.

“Fullblood Fleckvieh Genetics at their Best”

By doraleepuppies

Heifer sales!

A sincere thank you for the support of the buyers of our bred heifers this fall. We look forward to watching these young ladies develop and make their mark in their new herds.

Karen   Thank you Luke Weber Holyrood, Ontario for your purchase of Karen and Lindy.

Lindy

 

 

 

Kate stays here in the East! Thank you Matt! Matt with heiferDSC01239Kate Kate was the choice of repeat customer, Matt Swart – Generation Farms – Brussels, ON

 

 

 

 

 

Dora Lee’s Layla FF2B is Alberta bound! Thank you to Lonnie and Karen Brown – Lone Stone Ranch – Westlock, Alberta for their purchase of this stylish, young, Equinox heifer calf. Browns - Lone Stone DSC_5098 Layla DSC_4940

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henk -Jan Van Ginkel  of Norwich selected Candis and Louise as well as a 1st calf heifer, Hazel, with  heifer calf  by our Eclipse bull at side, to add to his herd. Candis    

Louise

Henk & heifers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Della and Shawna caught the eye of repeat customers, Lynn and Brian Vail and have  arrived at their new home at Vailview Simmentals at Clarksburg. Shawna DellaVails & heifers

By doraleepuppies

Dora Lee’s 2014 Bred Fleckvieh Heifers

 

Bred Heifers following balloon DSC_4843

For several years now, Betty and I have discussed the pro and cons of moving to private treaty selling our sale heifers. We have made the decision, and will be offering our sale heifers on the farm. It would be our pleasure to showcase these leading ladies to you. Pictures, performance and pedigree information is posted here on our web site.

As in the past, our heifers have been developed on pasture. The rational grazing system we have developed over the years has certainly suited these young ladies. They are not shy about letting us know when it comes time to move to their next pasture.

We believe that our 2013 heifer group is one of the strongest set of heifers we have produced here at Dora Lee. The only heifer we have marketed from this group, Dora Lee’s Tasha 98Z, sold last fall to Jeff Knox, Australia, where she was the high seller as part of our Fleckvieh Forum sale.

Our heifers have all been vaccinated with Bovi-shield Gold FP5L. They are bred AI to proven calving ease sires with no exposure. All our heifers are polled and we do have a genomic profile on each individual.

 

Lindy 2 DSC_4933

Dora Lee’s Lindy   (CSA 784817)

BW  93 –  205 Day WT 665 –  365 DAY WT 1031

* Sire:  Dora Lee’s Equinox 54T

* Dam:  Dora Lee’s Lindsay 47S

* 100% Fleckvieh polled female

* AI’d to ABR Sir Arnold Image  March 30 –  no exposure

Lindy’s dam gets it done every year and has another exceptional heifer  calf at side this year.

Lindy is bred to the legendary bull Sir Arnold’s Image, who is ranked right at the very top for calving ease and also ranked at the top for maternal calving ease. We are of the opinion that Lindy will go to work for her new owner and produce those top end males & females for many years to come.

SOLD to Luke Weber, Holyrood, Ontario

 

 

 

Louise

Dora Lee’s Louise 20Z      (CSA P784836)

BW 96     205 DAY  WT 707   365 DAY WT 1174

* Sire: Dora Lee’s Equinox 54T

* Dam: Dora Lee’s Lady 2R – a direct daughter of our foundation female ” SRN MS Western 2Y”

* 100% Fleckvieh polled female

* AI’d  to San-Mar Pharao  March 29 – no exposure

Louise has maternal sisters at work in Saskatchewan, Alberta, North Dakota and here in Ontario. Louise’s grandmother (SRN MS Western 2Y) was a foundation female with a heifer calf at side that we purchased from Keith Bloder in summer of 1991. Little did we know back then just what an impact she would have on our herd going forward. MS Western went on to produce until she was 16 with 14 natural calves.  There is no doubt in my mind what so ever, that Louise like her mother and grandmother will be there and get it done for her new owner for the long haul.

Sold to Henk-Jan Van Ginkel, Norwich, ON

 

Karen

Dora Lee’s Karen 37Z (CSA 784831)

BW 85 –  205 DAY WT 635 –  365 DAY WT 1046

* Sire: Dora Lee’s Equinox 54T

* Dam: Dora Lee Emma 37N – maternal sister to Dora Lee    Elexis working  at Anchor D Ranch, Alberta

* polled 100% Fleckvieh  female

* AI’d to Dora Lee’s Platinum 61X  March 22 – no exposure

* Cow power in her make up – Dora Lee Elexis & GPCC Sarah

This young lady would add outcross genetics, depth of pedigree, femininity and 7 Dora Lee matings in her make up to your herd. ” Opportunity Knocks”.

Sold to Luke Weber, Holyrood, ON

 

 

 

By doraleepuppies

Taking our Pastures to the Next Level

cows on high grass '14

It all started in 1993. We were wanting to expand our Fleckvieh herd and took the opportunity to purchase an adjacent, mainly pasture farm that spring. Later on that fall we were successful in obtaining the entire 100% Fleckvieh herd from Keith Bloder, Unity, Saskatchewan.

Our first order of business that summer was to get our new farm fenced. Wanting to get away from the old traditional barb wire/woven wire, we had to learn how to fence all over again when we went with the more modern high tinsel. Not knowing any better we fenced the perimeter and turned our cows out. However by mid August, pastures were worn out and we were starting to feed hay.

Our supplier of our new fencing material, (Andy McDonald), had mentioned ” rotational grazing”, a totally new concept to us here. Being frustrated with having to feed out hay that we had stored for winter use, something had to give.

The following spring I enrolled in a pasture management school at Owen Sound. The instructor whose name escapes me was from Rocky Mountain house, Alberta and was speaking from several years of rotational grazing experience. I must admit I was somewhat sceptical. However no matter how I tried, he had an answer for me. Cattle being turned into waist high grass? Answer – that is not waste, what they tramped down becomes fertilizer. I have been clipping or spraying weeds in our pastures? Answer, you are dealing with the symptom, the cause is over grazing. Do I need to re-seed our pastures? Answer, there is enough grass seed in the ground for the next 100 years. I could go on. However, wanting value from my course fee, I listened very carefully, but was certain this concept called “rotational grazing” probably would not work here at Dora Lee.

We started out by dividing our pastures into 20 acre paddocks, then into 10 acre paddocks. But really not much had changed after year two. We also started mixing trefoil seed into our free choice mineral during pasture season and had minimal response. We still had those nasty weeds in our pastures, and were still feeding hay come late August. By year 3 we were pleasantly surprised. Things began to change, less weeds – more grass !!!

Now, years later, cow paddocks are 5 acre parcels, bred heifer and first calve heifers are in 2 1/2 acre parcels. Maximum grazing is 5 days per paddock, no more weeds and yes, we are turning our cattle into waist high grass these days. Many areas of our pastures are yellow with trefoil flowers, spread and planted by our cow herd.

sunset over pature
The summer of 2012, many say was the driest here in Ontario in 50 years. Our pastures were fine. They had the root systems in place to handle the drought. We now are feeding hay come mid November when our cows come in off grass for the winter. I do not know much about winter grazing, but we will be taking a look. It has been an interesting journey, something I have enjoyed very much.

Some good advice from my father many years ago, “man needs to stay on top of change and new technology.” Dad was right.

Thanks for listening.

Sunset over pasture

By doraleepuppies