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  • Zach McFarlane, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Angus Advisor: Western Region

Quarter Circle U Ranch in Gold Canyon, Ariz., is owned by Mike and Amy Doyle, building on the legacy of Amy’s father, Chuck Backus. Jordan Selchow, ranch manager of the Quarter Circle U Ranch in Gold Canyon, Ariz., has started to wrap up his fall works as he ships calves and cull cows. 

Starting in December, this central-Arizona ranch ships backgrounded calves to a feedyard in Gage, Okla. The Quarter Circle U Ranch retains ownership and capitalizes on value-added marketing strategies to remain competitive in the cattle market. This is true of most of our producers in the Western region as they prepare cattle for video sales, the auction barn or other marketing avenues. Remaining competitive in the feeder cattle market requires a focus on what makes your cattle different. 

Selchow has also started thinking about selection of replacement females as the calving season approaches in December when they start the first round of artificial insemination (AI). He’s learned how vital maintaining an appropriate protein and mineral supplementation regimen is for his herd. The goal is to maintain a positive plane of nutrition in his heifers and cows during breeding to ensure conception. Working with your county extension agent to sample forage, soil and water can give you a thorough understanding of any nutrient deficiencies or even toxicities. 

Selchow has dealt with devastating wildfire on the ranch along with a severe 430-day drought. With less than 20 inches of annual rainfall, this ranch must use strategic supplementation to survive and focus on managing the calving season to maximize the annual grass growth. The rest of the year, cattle must consume and utilize the strategic mineral and protein supplementation that Selchow employs. 

Whenever I visit the ranch, I am always amazed an Angus-based herd can not only survive, but thrive in this harsh desert climate. This is due in large part to the fact that the Quarter Circle U Ranch focuses extensively on heifer selection and development. Selchow needs cattle with good feet and legs that can travel and adapt to this harsh climate. He also uses genetic selection tools like GeneMax® Advantage™ in combination with phenotypic characteristics to select high-quality females. 

Focusing on dynamic problem-solving and decision-making helps this Arizona rancher contend with the extreme ranch circumstances. With calving season approaching from March to May, Selchow is praying for rain and being critical on his heifer selection and development. 

Ranchers learn lessons every single day, and I want to share these lessons with the readers of the Angus Journal. For me, it always pays to be a lifelong learner and recognize that everyone has a unique perspective and unique challenges. What we all share is a passion for the beef industry and the ranching lifestyle. 

As always, be well and God bless the American rancher. 

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