It takes many livestock production factors to produce quality cattle, and western Ohio’s Stachlers meet the high standards for that equation, day-in and day-out. The Stachlers, Bill and Ryan, father and son, St. Henry, Ohio, raise top-notch cattle. Bill, who previously farmed with his brother, is the third generation in his family to farm. Ryan is the fourth generation, working on the same land as the first.
Ryan showed signs of a strong interest in becoming a farmer when he was a teenager, Bill says. He started raising calves in high school, and got up every morning and finished his chores before school. “He’d get home from school, and be out helping within 10 minutes without me asking,” he added. “A lot of decisions for the operation were for him; I didn’t need it.”
“I like the challenge of everything in raising cattle,” Ryan says. “Working by yourselves, making your own decisions and being your own business person,” he says. “And you’ve got different things going on all the time.” Because of integrating Ryan into the operation, they increased the operation’s scale to 850 to 900 head of cattle on the farm, purchasing them at 800 lbs. to 900 lbs., and finishing to 1,380 lbs. to 1,450 lbs. It’s primarily a Holstein operation, but currently they have about 100 head of colored cattle on hand, with 200 more ordered from their steer source.
The Stachlers’ feeding program proves they raise cattle with standards of excellence. “We use a lot of different forages and distillers, and a hominy product we purchase from a food-grade plant about 60 miles away,” Bill says. They grow crops to put back into the cattle, raising as much as they can on 400 acres, and also planting cover crops. They double-crop what they can, and grow corn for silage. Among their crops is Brown Midrib Sorghum, or BMR Sudan grass, which is more digestible, seeded after wheat.
“We’ve got a good nutrition program,” he emphasizes. The Stachlers keep the nutritionist, who they’ve been working with for about five years, apprised of the ingredients used in the feed. He samples it and decides how much to give of each ingredient. That ongoing evaluation and refinement of the feed happens starting with a visit each Monday.
“He stops by, and changes what needs to be. That’s our call to have him stop in each week. We need him, is how we feel about it. And he’s willing to do that, so we have him do it,” Bill says.
“The yields and grades in our cattle are getting better,” Bill says. “That’s what we’re after. Usually it amounts to a $900-$1,000 a load bonus. That’s the way, with Nexus, we have the contracts set up at Plainwell.”
Herd health practices are a top variable in cattle care, and are key to Bill and Ryan. They follow Veterinary Feed Directive protocols, and their vaccination program is complete. They purchase their steers from a producer in Virginia, who processes them all and administers vaccinations before they arrive at the Stachlers’.
“One of the key things with herd health is to make sure there’s plenty of ventilation,” Ryan emphasizes. “We keep our barns pretty well open. You’ve got to have fresh air.”
The duo had filled their steer building two years ago, and added onto it in late spring, taking it to 64’ X 375’. For right now, they’re comfortable with their numbers, though.
It’s a good home for livestock, too. Most of the cattle are inside, but about 200 to 300 head at a time are outside in the summer months. Then they’re moved inside in December.
“With a good nutritionist and good ventilation, you don’t really have health issues,” Ryan says.
Cash flow Conscious
When it comes to figuring breakevens and estimating purchase costs, the Stachlers handle it with a mindset of avoiding costly surprises. “We figure everything high. But we still go with the flow. At some point, you can over-figure things, but you don’t want to figure everything to the bare bones. If something does happen, then you’ve got some wiggle room in there,” Ryan says.
Bill and Ryan perform all their own tillage and planting themselves. However, they rely on a custom harvester. “We just can’t justify the equipment expense for a chopper and combine, for the amount you use it,” Ryan says.
They care about their surroundings, as well. The Stachlers’ cover crops are beneficial for conservation, but they pay attention to environmental safety, as well. Their manure storage facility meets Natural Resource Conservation Service requirements, and they maintain all the proper licenses and permits.
Bill and Janet, Ryan’s mother, live on the farm site. Janet was raised on a farm, and was involved in the Stachler operation until Ryan was integrated into the business. Today, she works at a nursing home.
“She helped a lot getting where we’re at,” Bill says. “She did a lot getting us here and keeping it going. She still helps as needed, too.”
Ryan’s wife, Stephanie, was also raised on a farm, but is focusing on their three children now, ages six, four and 18 months. “Eventually, I want her to be able to be more involved,” Ryan says. And Dad and grandpa agree, if the three children want to get involved in the farm in the years ahead, they’re welcome.
Nexus Marketing 877.207.1051
P.O. Box 1767
Ames, Iowa 50010-1767