Leah and I arrived at the Irvine Ranch where their family were among the first settlers in Manhattan, Kansas area, arriving in 1855. Their cowherd can trace its roots back over 80 years with many of the cows in their herd can trace their roots back to the 1927 foundation. Through the years, they have supplemented their existing cowherd with the acquisition of a handful of superior purebred Simmental and Angus cows. The Irvine Ranch is located very close to Manhattan where they have great access to bull and embryo collection facilities through Kansas State University and also local store markets.
In 1968, the Irvine family started using Simmental bulls in their AI breeding program with commencing to use Angus genetics into their herd in late 1980s. The Irvine Ranch have an annual bull sale on the 1st Saturday of November since 2005. The Irvine family are firm believers in the value of Simmental genetics which are well suited to provide balance of beef production along with the Angus genetics being applied to complement the strengths of the Simmental genetics.
Their herd improvement is focused on improving genetic traits affecting profitability of their beef-producing customers with improving early growth, carcass quality, feedlot and maternal efficiency while maintaining easy calving cattle that are fertile, good-tempered and moderate in mature size. The entire herd is polled.
The Irvine family run 150 head of stud cows where they are artificially inseminated. All heifers are mated at 14 months and scanned to assist with their selection process of breeder cows to be retained in their herd. John researches each animal by matching the sires to each individual cow by using EPD's. All cattle are on a 60 day mating period and then are pregnant tested using a blood sample which can detect pregnancies at 30 days. All their sale bulls are scanned, vet checked and prepared on a corn, fish meal and lucerne ration twice a day with a ration for each bull receiving 12 pounds of corn and fish meal. The Irvine family produce all their own corn and soy bean with local processors harvesting the crops. The majority of ranch is under centre pivots with very fertile soils reaching depths up to 30 feet. The ranch receives a 32 inch rainfall with some of this received through snowfall.
The Irvine's welcomed Leah and I as one of their family members where we were lucky enough to camp on their property for the night and also experience the real American family Sunday bbq. We had a fantastic time with all the Irvine family and they will stay dear in our hearts forever. We wish them good luck for their upcoming bull sale.