Lee Leachman, owner of the Leachman Cattle Company of Colorado was the agenda for the day and all the group were really looking forward to it.
We met Lee Leachman at the Horton Feedlot which is just outside Fort Collins, this is where Lee grazes his cows, well most things were there this year other than the Elite cows as the irrigators had helped produce more grass than expected.
We drove round the field looking at the cows with Lee pointing out some special ladies as we went by them.
All cows had been AI’d, they AI in 2 separate lots 8 days apart so the bulls if any repeats are there don’t have too many at one time. 2nd service of AI is not normally used but this year they did this is then followed up by sweeper bulls, using a group of bulls with different bloodlines is no issue, as all will be DNA’d for a parentage check once the calves are born.
The cow size has decreased by 100kg over the last 10 years. Muscle growth has increased but cow size and intake are going down, this helps to make more profitable cows which Lee demonstrates with his $PROFIT index.
LCOC has customised the $PROFIT into the £PROFIT for the UK.
After leaving Horton Lee showed us where he was performing feed intake trials at the Colorado State University. The feed intake equipment is GrowSafe the same BIG use at the NFE Unit at Wold Farm in Yorkshire.
Lunch and drinks were next on the agenda as the heat in Colorado was quite humid and tiring
LCoC Headquarters and Bull Barn West County Road Fort Collins was the destination for the afternoon and evening.
Lee very kindly took us all into an air conditioned room as he knew the temperatures this afternoon were going to be fairly unbearable.
Lee gave us an interesting presentation about LCOC from past to present. Explaining in detail about his methods and selection process.The sales and figures sold so far.
2018 bull sold
As you can see his Stabilizer’s the composite breed are outselling all other breeds in the Leachman sales.
Genomic’s is another area Lee is exploring and hopes to be able to make good progress so major breeding decisions can used with these tools.
Lee also explained to us about PAP testing (Pulmonary Artery Pressure) this is to help breeder’s reduce losses from brisket disease also known as mountain sickness.
In Wyoming and Colorado, for instance, many cattle go to summer pasture at elevations above 9,000 ft. Reduced oxygen at higher levels can affect the lungs and causes artery walls to thicken, it makes it difficult for the right side of the animal’s heart to pump blood into the lungs as blood pressure increases, it can blow out the valves of the right ventricle. Some affected animals develop edema in the neck and brisket. Swelling may spread to the jaws, or along the belly. Often, you don’t see symptoms; you just find the animal dead.
With all the testing and information that Lee is correlating an EPD for PAP score is now being used in selection for some herds.
Unfortunately testing will not totally solve the issue but it will reduce cases of the disease and it has been found to be 30% heritable. Fortunately that is one disease we don’t suffer from in the UK.
A walk up to the bull barn where we perused around Lee’s Elite cow’s and heifers all had been AI’d but were now being used to collect embryos using IVF.
The bulls were next on the agenda all in their yards and waiting to be turned back out on to grass.
Lee and Lisa, (Lee’s wife) wined and dined us for the evening with great success, serving us certified Aberdeen Angus Prime Sirloin cooked rare to medium rare on the BBQ served with salad and potatoes it was the best steak we had eaten all week and by that time most had one or two !!! The beer and wine flowed and a very enjoyable night was had by all, Lee and Lisa a BIG thank you for kind hospitality.