Redl's Home-Grown Beef Ltd. - Redl Ranch -
The Land The Cattle
The ranch base consists of 1700 acres of private land, of which 600 acres are in hay production. At an elevation of 3160 ft , we get one cutting of hay with sufficient re-growth to provide good quality fall pasture for the herds returning home from the summer ranges. To achieve maximum productivity from our haylands, we apply manure and concentrated fish fertilizer as soil additives, as well as use sprinkler irrigation to mitigate the effects of drought during the peak of the growing season. Usually, this allows us to grow enough feed to winter the cow herd plus several hundred weaned calves destine to become part of our Home-Grown Beef program. Every animal is tagged with a unique ID number which allows us to record important data on the animal including health issues and medications administered for treatment (if any). Animals receiving medications are removed from our Home-Grown Beef program and sold through regular auction channels.
On the ranch, we are fortunate to have an abundance of clean, fresh water to supply our irrigation needs and provide stockwatering for the herds. Hawks Creek, a year round supply, bisects the ranch which at times provides challenges (in the form of bridge designs) to access lands "beyond". We also border 4 lakes that provide great watering sites for our livestock during the times they roam and graze adjacent pastures and meadowlands.
The herd began with a predominantly Hereford base and has been infused with Charlais, Angus, and Simmental over the years to maximize hybrid vigour (optimize growth, natural resistance to diseases, body structure). We purchase our bulls from a progressive, forward-thinking company in Alberta called BeefBooster. In our breeding program, (bull selection) we place heavy emphasis on animal structure, fertility, lactation, calving ease, disposition/libido, and performance. Calving starts in late march and usually winds down by mid-may. The main cow herds are turned out onto the summer ranges by early June. Our yearlings (destine for our slaughter beef program) are kept on private pastures over the summer to provide them high quality forage, clean water, and an abundance of room to roam, graze, loaf around, and yes, swish away flies. We encourage a stress-free environment for them. Although noxious weeds continue to challenge us and the land to gain a foot-hold, we prefer to address these issues utilizing natural means (heavy grazing pressures, hand pulling). Chemical alternatives in the form of pesticides and herbicides have never been applied on our lands by us. In the past it was necessary (so we thought) to maintain soil fertility by using chemical fertilizers. Today, due to the damaging effects on the soil (salts) and the high costs in terms of energy use in manufacturing and price to consumers, we have abandoned these chemical alternatives in favour of a new product: natural fish fertilizer in a liquid form that we inject into our irrigation systems. It is a struggle to maintain soil fertility in this way (coverage of 600 acres) but we are determined to become less dependent on petro-based products at a time when solutions to global warming and "peak oil" are so necessary.