The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association will host the second annual Summer Cattle Production Tour. The June 22 tour will feature three farms in southwestern Wisconsin. The goal of the tour is to fulfill the mission of the organization to promote networking of beef producers and learning from other producers.
The first stop on the tour is Spring Creeks Cattle Co. near Wauzeka, owned by Bob Mitchell and family. Mitchell started the operation by buying his first farm near Linden in 1976, after growing up in town. In 1991, he purchased his first purebred cattle, and transitioned the operation to Crawford County in the early 2000s.
The family’s 600-head seedstock and commercial cow-calf operation includes Mitchell, wife Rhonda, and the families of their three sons, Matt, Bart and Scott. They raise Limousin, Lim-Flex, Angus and crossbred cattle, selling replacement bulls and females in addition to marketing feeder cattle. The Mitchell family members hold individual roles in the operation, caring for the cattle and producing feed. Spring Creeks Cattle Co. has held a joint production sale with Marda Angus Farms each fall since 2014, and will hold its second bull sale this year.
The second tour stop is Rush Creek Ranch, operated by Reid and Matt Ludlow, near Viroqua. The operation buys extremely light-weight calves throughout the Southeastern U.S. during the winter and contracts with other producers to precondition and graze them until spring. Reid has grown Rush Creek Ranch into an intensive rotational grazing operation. Initially running cattle on 40-acre pastures, Rush Creek Ranch now runs eight separate sets of cattle from 600 to 900 head, with pastures divided into 5-acre paddocks.
Becoming more intense through rotational grazing has enabled Rush Creek Ranch to increase stocking density by 5% each year without adding acres. The Ludlows have made significant investments in electric fencing to divide the pastures, as well as water lines and tanks to best use the rough hills of southwestern Wisconsin.
The final stop will be at Woodhill Farms, also near Viroqua. Owned by Dan Borgen and Brian McCulloh, Woodhill Farms is an Angus seedstock operation known for performance. The majority of the income for the farm is generated from the sale of Angus bulls and breeding females. McCulloh manages the operation on a day-to-day basis and has been a leader in the Angus breed, focusing on using breeding objectives, expected progeny differences and genomics in their selections.
Woodhill Farms is also focused on forage management to improve utilization and maximize the use of the land through intensive grazing, cover crops and focused nutrition.
The Summer Cattle Production Tour will have a special guest, Jennifer Houston, 2019 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president. She will give an update on NCBA efforts in Washington, D.C., on behalf of cattle producers. Both lunch and dinner are provided on the tour. Buses will leave from Boscobel and Viroqua, and provide transportation for the day.