The Gartner-Denowh Angus ranch has two locations in Eastern Montana. The home place is just north of Sidney, MT. The Blue Mountain ranch is about 30 miles south of Sidney on the way to Wibaux. Most of the operation is grazing land, but we do have some farmland on which we raise feed. The grazing land is mostly native short grass prairie with pastures ranging from 300 to 1300 acres.
Montana weather can vary greatly. We can go from weeks of below zero temperatures in the winter to 100 degree days in the summer. Some years we get moisture, and some we don't. But whatever the conditions our cows are expected to endure and thrive.
We calve around 700 cows and heifers each year. Our cows are expected to run under the same conditions that the local commercial man endures. This means they graze out as long as possible in the fall, usually until late December, before they ever see any feed. They are then fed a low cost diet until they are turned out on grass in May.
We fall graze and feed a low cost, low energy diet to weed out any inefficient cows. Cows that can't function on a low input system in our environment are culled from the herd. The majority of our bulls go to commercial operations in a similar environment to our own, and we want those bulls to surpass their expectations.
The calves are weaned around the end of September and put on a high roughage ration at the home place. At this time about 1/3 of the bull calves are banded, and the bottom end of the heifer calves are culled off. Neither the bulls or heifers are pushed for high gains on feed, instead being fed a diet to ensure longevity.
Data collection and evaluation is central to our operation. We take a lot of pride in having solid, reliable numbers. It is our opinion that the more accurate and dependable the data provided, the more accurate and dependable the EPDs and ratios will be. Larger contemporary and sire groups will give more accurate results. That is why we strive so hard to treat all the cattle the same all year round - to have the most accurate and dependable data that we can provide.
While our environment and location can be trying at times and can create a lot of extra work, we still feel very lucky to be able to test our genetics in such a harsh and varying location. It can only make GDAR genetics more functional, more efficient, and more profitable.