He came to Wisconsin because of its soil quality, and marketing location. It’s a relationship that continues to reap benefits at Rush Creek Ranch near Viroqua. The 2019 Cattlemen of the Year was presented to Reid Ludlow of Rush Creek Cattle Ranch of Viroqua on Friday night. Ludlow, originally from Colorado, came to southwest Wisconsin in 1976 after considering many potential beef producing sites. Rush Creek Cattle Ranch and its stocker grazing operation have continued to grow in terms of acres, number of stockers being run, and understanding how to best use the forages in the state. Ludlow says he believes one of his keys to success is buying extremely light weight calves, primarily from the southeastern corner of the U.S. during the winter, and then contracting with other producers to precondition the animals until they’re ready to come home to Wisconsin when spring pastures are ready. Ludlow concentrates on intensive grazing – extremely intense by some standards. Initially Rush Creek Cattle Ranch were on 40-acres pastures, but that’s evolved into much more. Today Ludlow’s having success with stocking rates as heavy as 600 animals on a 5 acres pasture. Rush Creek Cattle Ranch runs 8 separate sets of cattle, ranging from 600-900 head, and the pastures are all divided into 5-acres in size. Ludlow says by becoming more intense in his rotational grazing, Rush Creek Cattle Ranch has increased its stocking density 5% per year without adding any additional acres. Since 1976, Reid has made investments in electric fencing to divide pastures, water lines, and tanks to best utilize the rough hills of his area. Every day Ludlow says he’s working to perfect his approach to pasture management, parasite control, price risk management, and marketing. He’s been an active participant in pasture walks, and hosted educational program for UW-Extension and beef production classes for over 28 years. Ludlow’s oldest son, Matt, became part of Rush Creek Cattle Ranch for the last 10 years. His youngest son, Adam, was also in the audience along with grandkids, for the award ceremony Friday night. Rush Creek Cattle Ranch will be one of the stops during the 2019 WCA Summer Tour June 22nd – starting in Viroqua. For more on the upcoming tour watch: wisconsincattlemen.com
Getting up at 2 in the morning might shock some of her listeners, but for Pam Jahnke, it’s part of the business. Born in Northeastern Wisconsin, Pam Jahnke grew up in agriculture. Raised on her family’s 200-acre dairy farm, she learned the “farm work ethic” first hand.