Bidders are nodding bids to an auctioneer in Brush, Colorado. Behind him is the cacophony that is a sale barn; a cow is bellowing, a bull hauler’s truck sits and idles, men speak on their cell phones, and the hands moving cattle come to the ring and back out again. To the auctioneer’s right on a computer is Cia Stull and she’s not missing a thing.
Stull, a rancher from Fleming, Colorado, and her husband, Trey, the local brand inspector, run about 350 mother cows and 70 goats on their ranch in the northeast corner of the state. Their three children help on the operation as well.
Not only as a sale clerk but also as a rancher, she has watched the cattle market in the past months and knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that efficiency has to be part of the plan to stay afloat in tough times. On the Stull Ranch, managing to prevent open cows and does, hard weaning calves and kids that go off feed, and animals with any nutrient deficiencies have to be avoided.
The Stulls raise a number of commercial cattle that benefit from additional protein and mineral supplements but the show cattle and show goats they raise also had unique nutritional needs.
“We feed Concept-Aid goat mineral year round,” she said. “We also feed our does Sure Champ before and after kidding for the extra minerals. It’s an extra boost and lessens the stress they’re under.”
The Stulls utilize Vita Charge Stress Tubs for two weeks for every calf they wean on the ranch. The surface area allows her to ensure every calf is consuming their share and for Stull, that’s one less thing to worry about.
“I don’t mind putting out the 200 pound tubs to the mama cows,” she said. “If I’m feeding calves, though, I love the 50 pound tubs.”
Stull, who is no slacker, can recruit help to load the large tubs and then push them off the bed of the pickup. Necessity often dictates being creative, however, the smaller tubs have proven popular with Stull and other producers as they’re easier to handle.
Since using the Stress Tubs, Stull hasn’t had to doctor sick calves. For this busy mama who is trying to hang on during a tumultuous market, that matters.
“We don’t ever want to lose any calves,” she said. “We never want that but with the market as it is, we can’t afford to lose one or have one sick. We need every penny.”
The Stulls market their calves as all natural, which has proven to entice a premium and makes the health advantages of the Vita Charge Stress Tubs all the more valuable.
“The Stress Tubs are cost effective for us,” she said. “We use them for a week to two weeks before weaning and then a week following weaning. The small tubs get the calves on weaning faster and that’s valuable.”
In addition to the Stress Tubs, the Stulls feed creep feed containing Sure Champ and Gain Smart Protein 37 to the calves being prepared for sale. She and Trey had a high number of open cows several years ago, which led them to begin using the products. Her belief in the products led her to become a dealer and to make the products readily available.
The women involved in production agriculture, like Cia Stull, share commonalities, long days, and dirty hands. They also share a role in keeping their operations running efficiently with healthy, thriving livestock. For her, and many like her, surviving a volatile market comes down to management decisions and the minerals and protein supplements from VitaFerm were one of the easy decisions.
This post is sponsored by Vitaferm but the opinions are entirely my own. For more information, or to find your own dealer like Cia, please visit http://www.vitaferm.com.