Winter Cattle Journal 2020: TD Angus carrying on a tradition of excellence
Trey and Dayna Wasserburger of North Platte, Nebraska are still new to the game of Angus Seedstock production. Their first sale was in 2017. But thanks to Bill and Barb Rishel they were given a head start and have been able to carry on and build up a reputation herd.
In 2016 Bill and his wife were ready to retire but hated the thought of a dispersal sale of the genetics they had spent the last 50 years building. His grown children had their own careers and families and weren’t interested in ranching, so Bill began looking for someone who was. He spoke to local banker Greg Wilke from First National Bank about wanting to sell it as a turnkey opportunity to a young family. Greg brought the idea to the attention of Trey and Dayna Wasserburger, a young couple with a year-old son Westyn and a daughter on the way. “We weren’t looking to get into the registered business,” Dayna said. “But it’s been a blessing.”
“It’s very rare; these types of cows aren’t for sale. Bill gave us the opportunity for us to buy everything from the scoop shovel to the herd bulls. They were worth more together for us and for the industry, Bill walked away from a lot of money by selling the way he did,” Trey said. “I feel there will be a lot of opportunities for young people in the coming years as older producers are ready to retire but want young people to succeed.”
This was in the fall of 2016 and they closed on the purchase the first of January, holding their first sale in March. Bill has stayed on in a mentorship positon as the Wasserburgers learn the business. “It’s been a big learning curve, with embryo flushing and transplants, we have had really good mentorship with Bill and several others,” Trey said.
The Rishels relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska and the Wasserburgers moved into the house three days before their daughter Gentry was born in June. In November 2018 they welcomed another daughter, Gwyn. Trey and his team handle the daily operation of the ranch while Dayna, in addition to being a full-time mom to three kids under four, takes care of all the registration paperwork and the bookwork for the ranch. Many times she has to burn the midnight oil so things are done without interruptions and mistakes. Her grandfather Andy Olson built Lazy U Quarter Horses in Hershey, Nebraska so Dayna is no stranger to annual production sales. Trey was raised in northern Wyoming and they met at college. Their children are learning the business first hand and are always eager to help care for the stock and ride along.
“I don’t want to just sell them a bull; we stand behind them 100 percent. I am always available to our customers. We offer full-scale breeding services to our customers for free, so they can AI to our top genetics. I like to deliver bulls during branding season. Where else can you find 30 to 50 commercial customers all together having a good time? I like to see the calves, it helps us build bulls for commercial buyers and track our progress,” Trey said. “We have sold bulls all over the nation and they have never let me down yet.”
“Cow business is the same where ever I go, she still has to be a cow. We are working for one with less maintenance, good genetics, and carcass merit. We run our registered cows just like commercial cows. I had to earn the right to sell bulls to ranches like Bootheel 7 from Wyoming. I consider it a flat honor to sell them bulls,” Trey said.
Trey and Dayna own the land around the home place but do lease summer pasture. They have increased the herd size, running close to 500 mother cows now split between spring and fall calving herds. Another change they made was keeping all the young bulls at home, Bill used to send them off to be developed but the Wasserburgers wanted to have control over their entire life. Trey and Dayna also made a big investment and built a calving barn. “As a seedstock producer we can’t have nipped ears,” Dayna said.
Their 2019 sale was challenging, held on March 15, when the entire state of Nebraska was in the aftermath of winter storm Ulmer and over half the roads in the state were closed. But the Wasserburgers felt that postponing the sale wasn’t an option since some customers had already flown in. So the show went on and was very successful, with 193 live lots sold to 16 different states to both live and internet/phone buyers.
TD Angus at Rishel Ranch Next Generation Herd Sire and Foundation Female Sale will be held March 20, 2020 at the ranch. They will be offering 250 premium bulls and females which will be their largest offering, carrying on the goal of producing Angus bulls and females that excel in docility, fertility, growth, structural soundness, maternal traits and carcass merit. TD Angus also sells a few ranch geldings on the sale every year. These are horses that they themselves have ranched on and will be assets to anyone.
Wasserburgers have been offering a feeder calf buyback program for their bull customers for a few years now. The calves are put into feedlots owned by Dayna’s family the Olsons of North Platte. “We believe in what we are doing and want our customers to see the data from the kill sheets. We know ranchers that have raised cattle for over 100 years but have never seen a kill sheet on their cattle,” Trey said.
As an added incentive for their customers, TD Angus has started a feed test program for their customers’ calves. Running for a full year from March 21, 2019 to March 19, 2020, cattle are consigned in loads of 50 or more that are sired by TD Angus bulls. Producers can retain whole or partial ownership or sell the calves to TD Angus/Olson Farms. The cattle are fed and finished in the Cow Camp Feedlot at Olson Farms in Hershey, Nebraska, and taken to Tyson Meats in Lexington, Nebraska. The harvest data will be collected and ranchers will be able to see it all. There is $25,000 in the offering with $5,000 awarded to each category: average daily gain, feed conversion-efficiency, highest yield, highest prime percentage and highest CAB percentage. Certified Angus Beef (CAB) has partnered with TD Angus for this feedtest and will be on hand the night before the bull sale when the prizes are awarded. They are planning to offer this program every year. “We wanted to make it competitive and prove that the bulls are predictable,” Trey said.
Trey and Dayna Wasserburger are committed to raising the best bulls for their customers and having outstanding customer service, they might be new to it all but TD Angus bulls are making them a household name across the country.
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Last week President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO), some of which pertains to agriculture and livestock markets. In the Order, the President: