When speaking with Phil Perry of Perry Ranch near Oskaloosa, Kansas, one quickly realizes his commitment to be a learner, leader and server, giving back to his community and his industry.
Phil has chosen to take an active role in numerous organizations. He’s served on the local school board and a local co-op board. He’s served on the Kansas Livestock Association executive committee and the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. He’s also served as a GENEX delegate.
“It was my GENEX rep who suggested I become a GENEX member,” shares Phil. “Then when I received a flyer in the mail about becoming a GENEX delegate, I decided to try it. I like being involved in my industry; you gain a lot of friendships and knowledge from other producers across the USA. You learn about their practices, and that keeps your mind open to new ideas. It keeps you from becoming stagnant. You need new ideas to become and remain progressive in this industry.”
Beef Representation in GENEX is Important
As a GENEX delegate, Phil attends two meetings each year – the annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a fall delegate input meeting. The fall meetings are held in eight locations across the USA. Fortunate for him, one is located nearby in Kansas City.
“Being a delegate has been a very good experience,” notes Phil. “I really enjoy the conversations I’ve been able to have with ranchers from all over, and having beef producer representation in the cooperative is important.”
Focusing on Making the Females We Want
The cow herd is the focus at Perry Ranch, which consists of about 400 cows and 1750 acres (including both owned and leased land).
As Phil explains, “We focus on making the female we want rather than focusing on the terminal calves, though the calves still perform well and are above average on the grid.
“We want rib, depth and not a great big cow. We’re looking for a mid-five or below frame score, and we need cows that flesh easy, as they aren’t babied here.
“We also want a self-sufficient cow with a strong immune system. We feed our calves out, so we see which ones have health issues. We use that information to determine which cows have healthy calves and can then cull cows accordingly. We also sort cows for attitude and disposition.”
Enjoying the Time Observing the Cattle
Artificial insemination has been a part of the Perry Ranch breeding program for about a decade. “My son completed an A.I. school and got me interested,” explains Phil. “I started with a dozen or so and then increased from there.”
Today, GENEX does the A.I. work. “I like to hire a professional for specialized things. This way, I don’t have to worry about having a tank and semen on hand or the tank going dry either. Then, at breeding time, I just get to enjoy the time handling and observing the cattle! Plus, I’m impressed with the guys GENEX has on the front. It’s a good crew.”
This year’s breeding project took place on May 28. “We used to breed heifers to calve in January and cows to calve Feb. 1. Now, we breed for calves born after March 1.”
While both heifers and cows are bred on the same day, heifers are generally done calving by the time the cows start.
The new timetable gives Phil more opportunity to observe the herd during calving season with the longer daylight hours. “And we’re still selling as many pounds, if not more, with the later due dates! This is probably because they’re on grass sooner, no nipped ears and so forth. There’s also virtually zero scours or respiratory issues.”
As for sire choices, he previously used SimAngus™ sires but now uses mostly black Angus. “This seems to help keep the size down, better genetics for the grass we have and produces the deep-bodied cows we like.”
Sires are used for 3 to 4 years before a new sire is chosen. In recent years, sires have included 1AN01224 CEDAR RIDGE, 1AN01044 FINAL ANSWER and 1AN01238 RESOURCE.
A quick look at the cow herd shows that Phil and GENEX work well together to make Perry Ranch a success. As a cooperative, we thank Phil for choosing to be a member of GENEX and for his continued loyalty.
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