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Monday, March 20, 2017

Flat Aggie visits Snowy Idaho


Welcome to Malson Angus &Herefords! We’re a registered cattle ranch near Parma, Idaho. We raise Black Angus and Hereford cattle. We were so excited Flat Aggie came to visit us.

      Our family includes Josh and Maggie Malson, and our children Mackenzie, Emma, Jayten, and Brynleigh. 
Our family-Josh, Maggie, Mackenzie, Emma, Jayten and Brynleigh

This family business was started by Josh’s dad and grandpa in 1977. Josh works with his dad and one brother to manage the cowherd daily. The cattle we raise are called purebred or seedstock cattle. They are the “parent” stock. We sell bulls (males/dads), cows (females/moms), heifers (female cows who havent had babies yet), semen (to artificially inseminate cows) and embryos (to put in recipient cows) to other ranchers. We host an annual production sale every November to market our cattle to commercial producers. Those ranchers raise beef that you can buy in the grocery store or at a restaurant.

      We live in the southwest part of the state, 10 miles from the Oregon state line and about 50 miles northwest of Boise, the capital of Idaho. Idaho and Oregon are separated by the Snake River. Our kids go to school in Fruitland, Idaho, and we cross the river into Ontario, Ore., to buy our groceries and shop locally. 

      Our area is considered semi-arid high desert, meaning we have cold, moist winters and hot, dry summers. The average rainfall is around 11 inches. This winter was extremely harsh. In fact, it set records for the amount of snowfall. We had about 3 feet of snow on the ground December through February. 
You can see from this photo the amazing view we have from our ranch. The topography of Idaho changes a lot. We have low and high spots on our ranch and can see mountains to the north (like in this photo), east and southwest of us. Jan. 10, 2017

Usually we get snow, but it only stays for a few days then melts. At this time last year all our pastures were green. 
 
Our Angus and Hereford fall pairs in Aug 28, 2016. We use pivot irrigation to water our pastures. Our soil is quite sandy and dries out quickly if there is no water on it. The cows love the green pastures where they graze.

At the beginning of March we still had pastures with snow in them. Winter weather makes it tough on people, equipment and animals. We had to put out lots of straw for our cows, and we had to bring more cows into the barn to calve this year. We don’t like to do that as they would rather calve undisturbed out in the pasture. 
 
Josh walks through the pastures to check the cows getting ready to calve. The snow was so deep, we couldn’t take a pick up or 4-wheeler out there. Jan. 5, 2017

Taking care of our animals is a priority for us, so we do whatever we can to help them. When temperatures dip below freezing and there is snow on the ground, we check our cows throughout the day and night.
This winter we purchased a feeder that was pulled behind a tractor and cut off big flakes of hay. Dec. 30, 2016

      Its busy on the ranch all year long. We have baby calves born several times per year, but most of them come January-March.  They are called spring-born calves. The rest are born in August-November. They are called fall-born calves.

      Every calf born gets an ear tag. They look like big plastic earrings. They are each assigned an identification number so we know who they are and who their dam (mom) and sire (dad) are. We have to keep track of all this information so we can report it to the American Angus and American Hereford associations. These breed associations keep track of the all the genetic information for registered cattle.
The kids’ favorite Hereford heifer had her first calf on March 11, 2017. They checked on the new calf after she was turned out with her mama. The number on her tag shows she was the 94 calf born this year. We use an alphabetical system to indicate what year the cattle were born, i.e., 2017-E, 2016-D, 2015-C, etc.
      Each calf gets weighed. Baby calves usually weigh anywhere from 60-100 pounds. We like our calves to weigh 80-85 pounds. They also get their first shots of vitamins and minerals. We put iodine on their belly button so they dont get an infection. When a calf is born, the cow licks it off, which helps it get dry and makes it want to stand up. Within about a half hour, the baby is to its feet to start nursing. Its important the calves get first milk, called colostrum, from their mamas because its provides them with lots of nutrients to start growing. 

      We check the cows and calves every day to make sure they are doing well. We also want to tag them as soon as they are born. They get really fast and really spunky the older they get! They like to run and play just like kids!
We have two pastures with spring cows in them. One pasture is for the moms and babies after they calve. The other is for the cows and heifers waiting to calve. Both pastures are monitored throughout the day. We are checking to see who is close to calving and how cow-calf pairs are doing. Calves are tagged throughout the day after they are a few hours old. We want to make sure the cow has had time to lick them off and bond with them. Flat Aggie enjoyed walking through the pastures with us to check on the babies. We love our cows and it’s fun to see how the babies are growing, and how the genetics we selected are working in our breeding program.

      Other activities on the ranch include growing hay for feed, checking water and moving pivots on our pastures, fixing fence, spraying weeds and cleaning pens. 
 
All of our kids are eager to help where needed. Our son especially loves to help clean pens. You can find him at any of the cattle and sheep shows we go to helping out in the stall area. We love that this lifestyle is teaching our kids responsibility through the feeding and care of an animal.

There is always something to do and it takes many hands to help get the work done. 
Flat Aggie helps feed the show and sale animals. Each pen gets a different amount of feed based on the nutritional needs of the animals in the pen. Just like the cowherd grazing on pastures, these animals are monitored daily to make sure they receive the best nutrition. We also look for signs of sickness so they can be treated quickly. We use math every day around the ranch, i.e., amount of feed to mix, how many doses of vaccine (which are used to prevent sickness) are needed, how much seed needed for planting, etc.

      We also show our cattle to advertise the genetics we have for sale. Our kids are in 4-H, and show cattle and sheep. The show season is from January to August, with the majority of shows in June and July. 
Mackenzie exhibited her heifers at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo., for the first time in January 2017. It’s a really big show and takes a lot of work to get ready for it. 
Many seedstock breeders from across the country come to show and sale cattle at the Stock Show. It was fun to watch Mackenzie show her Angus heifers on one side of the ring, while the Hereford bulls were shown on the other side.

      Idaho agriculture is a large part of our state’s economy. We have more cows than people here. Our top ag products include milk, cows/calves, potatoes, hay, wheat, corn, hops, barley, sugarbeets, onions, peppermint, spearmint, apples, lentils, dry edible peas, honey, oats, sweet cherries, peaches, prunes and plums. Idaho also has lots of wilderness areas great for skiing, camping, hiking, rafting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

      It’s a great place to live and work. We also say it’s a wonderful place to raise cattle and kids! If you would like to learn more about ranch life, raising cattle, or the state of Idaho, please let us know. Thanks for coming to visit!!
The ground was covered with snow for months. We would have a snowstorm with 5-6 inches then we had freezing rain, then another storm of 8-1- inches, more ice, more snow… We always have to feed in the winter, but never have this much snow. One day it would be gray skies with ice or snow, the next sunny with blue skies. It was like Mother Nature just couldn’t make up her mind! I think the blanket of snow and frosty trees made for a beautiful sight! Dec. 30, 2016
For more Flat Aggie fun check out the Farmer Math that goes along with this report!

MORE PICTURES!!!
Our youngest loves the sheep too. They are just her size so she can lead them around and love on them.

Here is one of our Angus bulls turned out in the pasture to breed fall cows. We had snow on the ground, nearly 3 feet of it, from December through February. We have to feed the cows hay in the winter time.

This bald eagle was a welcome sight after the hard winter. He and his mate can be seen in the pastures and flying around the ranch. March 10, 2017

Our son washes his Hereford heifer. During the day the show cattle come into pens in the barn. They are led around with halters. They each get a bath and their hair blowdried. This is the first year he gets to show. March 4, 2017


There were two cows in the barn that had been brought in during the night. This is a newborn calf who was only a few hours old. March 4, 2017
These Angus heifers in this pen were born in August and September. They were just weaned, which means they dont need to drink milk from the mama cows anymore. They are in the pens because they will get halter broke to lead around and be shown. Some of them will be sold to other ranchers and we will also keep some to have their own baby cows when they get older. Flat Aggie helped put silage in the bunks for them to eat. March 13, 2017
Flat Aggie says hello to the show heifers in their pen.

This is our Hereford bull we bought from another breeder to bring different genetics into our herd. His pen mate is an Angus bull that will be sold private treaty this spring.

Flat Aggie helps feed Maggie’s retired show mare. She’s an American Quarter Horse.