Winter Cattle Journal 2019: Ridl Angus
Located two miles north of Dickinson, North Dakota, Ridl Angus is a family-owned and operated business whose mission is to provide high quality customer service, productive cattle and continue to maintain a refined, distinguished cow herd. Being a father-son operation, Ridl Angus has all the makings of a business that prides itself on its customer service and ensures that buyers know the breeding stock that they see is the breeding stock they buy.
“I think the progression of our cow herd is one of our greatest accomplishments,” states Rusty Ridl, son of Arthur and Cindi Ridl. Arthur and Cindy ranch and farm alongside their son Rusty, his wife Alysha and their two daughters Emaly and Betty Joe.
It’s All About the Cows
In 1997, the Ridls dispersed their long-time commercial Simmental herd and Ridl Angus was created. They began buying cows and currently most of the Ridl Angus breeding females originate from Dale Luhman and Luhman Angus.
“We implemented an extensive AI program into our herd right away and have continued that today,” says Rusty. In 1998, Ridl Angus had its first joint production sale with Luhman Angus and now has a yearly production sale the first Tuesday in March.
“We strive for docile, productive cows that are easy keepers and wean off a good calf and breed back in a timely matter,” says Rusty. “We demand a maternal herd that is good-footed with good udders.”
Rusty and Arthur strive for these maternal based characteristics and qualities that excel in calving ease, production and disposition while also having the genetics and eye appeal that producers want. Heifers start calving the beginning of January and run right along with the main cow herd that begin calving the first of February.
The herd is summered on native North Dakota pastures until the calves are weaned the end of September. The cows are then preg-checked and return to fall grazing, which consists of cover crop and corn stalk residue. After weaning, the bulls go on a high roughage ration to induce fertility and longevity to ensure they are athletic breeding bulls for the upcoming season.
NDAA Bull Test
For 31 years Ridl Angus has been heavily involved in the North Dakota Angus Association (NDAA) Annual Bull Test. Bulls involved in the test are received at Ridl Farms the first week of November and are fed there until the sale. L.J. and Janet Dohrman manage the business aspect of the test alongside Rusty and the Ridl family, who are in charge of feeding the bulls.
“It is a great bull test where consigners from Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota can, the first week in November, bring bulls to Ridl Farms, where they are put on gain tests for 112 days,” says Janet Dohrmann. “At the end of the 112 days, bulls are sold at the sale the fourth Monday in April.”
Along with being home to the bull test, Ridl farms usually consigns one or two bulls to the NDAA Bull Test each year as well. In 2018, there were 75 bulls involved in the bull test.
Feed Em Till You Need Em
Customer service is important to the Ridl Angus operation and Rusty and Arthur strive to make sure the experience their customers have will encourage them to return. Along with having to pass a complete breeding soundness exam, all bulls sold at their March sale will be freeze branded and have DNA enhanced EPDs. Ridl Angus also offers producers the option of “feeding ’em till you need ’em.”
“The feed ’em till you need ’em program is a feeding program we offer after the sale,” says Rusty. “We do not put a restricted timeline on when you have to pick up your purchase, as long as you pick your bulls up at the ranch, we are happy to care for them as if they were our own, free of charge until you are ready for them.”
Rusty goes on to say that they have multiple producers that come to pick up their bulls the day they turn bulls out and go directly to pasture with them. Producers are also welcome to brand their bulls before they are loaded onto the truck.
More Than Just a Job
“Raising cattle is my passion,” Rusty says. “Waking up in the middle of the night and going out to the calving barn isn’t work. It has to be done and I enjoy doing it. Fixing fence every day, moving cattle around, AIing season and new calves in the spring is more of a treat than it is a job.”
Along with the cattle, the Ridls have a large farming operation that is run by Rusty’s brother Joe and his uncle Kirt. Together they grow multiple different crops including spring wheat, malted barley, corn and sunflowers. During the busy season, such as harvest, everyone helps each other succeed.
“The best part of working with family is everyone puts in 100 percent,” says Rusty. “This isn’t just a job, so when family is the main source of labor everyone puts in 100 percent effort; it’s a way of life, not just a job.”
This year the Ridl Angus Production Sale will take place Tuesday March 5 at 2:00 PM MDT at Stockmans West in Dickinson where there will be 75 yearling angus bulls for sale. The Ridl family is proud of their herd and encourages potential buyers or interested individuals to stop by the ranch.