"We are feeding and raising our animals well so our neighbors can be fed well."
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No Bull

Options for Profitability

By Del Ficke



I will preface this article by saying this may not work in every program; but, I absolutely know, it applies to many livestock enthusiasts out there . . . probably you!
Wouldn't it be refreshing to have bulls that are completely acclimated, out of your best cows, all the while saving thousands of dollars in replacement bull costs? Lord knows the true cattleman and cattlewoman are always seeking ways to make ends meet while growing a quality meat product.

Making ends meet - a Graze Master calf knows how its done.

You can do this by raising your own bulls and moving forward with three major steps:   

  • Study and use the information provided by the breed association of your choice.

  • Visually appraise the animal (to see if that seed stock producer is raising cattle the way you are).

  • Shoot for the same marketing targets.

You . . . have now put together important pieces in selecting your new genetics.

You . . . have a factory in your own herd! 

You . . . know the cows that produce the best, stay in good condition and re-breed every year without exception – accountable acclimated cows. 

Every seed stock operation does something well, unfortunately very few have the accountability standards needed to move a low input operation forward.  Find the one that fits your operation, purchase bulls or semen and breed them to your best cows. Soon you will have the genetics that fit your needs with fewer trips to find them.

At the end of the day, it’s all about allowing the cow to be a cow. Your program will profit with the predictability and you will enjoy your cow herd more each day!

Let’s talk more about using what
you know and the best of what you are raising to make your livestock endeavor profitable for you and your family.  

Contact me any time at (402) 499-0329 or email me at:

No looking back . . . It's all about profitability moving forward. 

Cover Crops Make Sense and Cents

Let’s build nitrogen for free!
By Del Ficke

A nutritious mix of clover, native grasses and other plants ready to graze.

It's refreshing to see all the moisture we are receiving, even the snow! Depending on how long the snow stays around, say until March, it provides many of us with naturally ideal conditions to frost seed (applying seed via a broadcast seeder on top of the snow/frozen ground) of legume seeds.

We have been seeding legumes with this method and also by no-till drilling into established stands of cool and warm season grasses with excellent results.

Why you ask?  Because it's cool!

We are eliminating our need for commercial fertilizers by using legumes, such as red and white clover and sweet clovers that build their own nitrogen from what's available for FREE in the air.

A recent talk given by a mentor of mine, Gabe Brown, said there is up to 32,000 pounds of FREE Nitrogen above each acre!

Did I mention it's

Just by spending a few dollars per acre with seeding that can last several years, your livestock will also flourish on the plant diversity and gain extremely well.  Since so many of the practices low input operations are using have been done in the past, it's not so much changing as re-changing. 

The no-brainer part is we can accomplish so much for not much expense – you got it, even for

Legit Legumes
By Nate Belcher 

Legumes are nature's amazing way of pulling nitrogen out of the atmosphere and fixing it into a form that will  then be available for other plants to use for vigorous, healthy, uninterrupted  growth.  The thing I love about following nature's way of increasing the fertility of soils, is the nutrient cycling that snowballs and gets better over time. 

As legumes increase the amount of nitrogen present in the soil, other plants capitalize on that nitrogen and all of a sudden more species begin to show up and in greater abundance.  In turn, as plant diversity and growth increase, the carbon content in the soil rises which can be thought of as the soil's "energy storage."  When soil biology taps into that stored energy, nutrient cycling increases, boosting plant growth and allowing the legumes to thrive and produce even more nitrogen.


Cool season legumes for pasture include:  Red Clover, White Clover, Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch and Spring Peas.


Warm season legumes include:  Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover, Sun Hemp, Cowpeas, as well as White and Red Clover in some cases.

Below are some pictures of drilling cover crops directly into "tired" pastures and also nodules producing nitrogen on a young, fall planted spring pea.


Cereal Rye and Hairy Vetch drilled into pasture.

Nodules on fall planted peas.

Rejuvenating pasture with cool season covers.



Also, it's important to note, that annual cover crops have a very positive effect on water infiltration after they are killed off by cold temps.  With this snow we are getting, it is important that we capture as much of that as possible and store it in the soil to be used during the growing season. 

Below are a couple pictures of a root stock of sorghum-sudangrass while it was growing and after it had been terminated by cold temperatures.  Those roots drill down during the growing season making channels many feet deep into the soil.  When the plant dies and the roots decompose, they leave channels that water can flow right into. This is great for capturing fall and winter moisture that can be slow to infiltrate. 


Sorghum-Sudan roots.

Sorghum-Sudan roots after beginning decomposition.


In closing, this is so worth the watch, a farmer teaching farmers.  The video features Gabe Brown at the 2015 Albert Lea Seed House Open House:
Contact us for all your Green Acres Cover Crops needs:

Del Ficke
Nate Belcher


Graze Master Goulash
By Brenda Ficke


This meals prepares quickly and is a delicious, warm dish to delight your family during the cold weather. 
1 pound of hamburger cooked with onion (of your desired liking)
1 can of tomato soup
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of sugar
Salt/ pepper and chili powder to taste. 
I usually add pepperoni, some red pepper flakes and sometimes a bit of picante sauce if it needs more moisture.
Cook one pound of elbow macaroni and drain.  Mix together and add two cups of your favorite shredded cheese.  Enjoy!

Make Graze Master Beef part of your New Year!

We currently have the following premium Graze Master Beef cuts available.  Our cattle are pasture-raised and receive a small amount of non-GMO grain as part of our holistic approach. 
Graze Master Beef Products (vacuum-sealed for easy thawing):
One-pound hamburger packages
New York Strips
Delectable Doggie Treats
Other specific cuts (please ask)
Our meat company is located at Pleasant Dale, Neb. just a short trip west from Lincoln.  We welcome you to pick up the meat directly from us and we also offer some delivery options.  We can also arrange larger beef processing orders with you in quarters, halves and wholes.  Call today!
Call Del Ficke any time at (402) 499-0329
Learn more at:  
Ficke Cattle Company location:
873 182nd Road
Pleasant Dale, NE


Copyright © 2015 Ficke Cattle Company - Graze Master Genetics, All rights reserved.

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