Flying K Ranch Angus: Making A Name for Themselves

Flying K Ranch Angus: Making A Name for Themselves

By Maura Keller

When it comes to owning and operating an award-winning ranch, having your name on the door means something. For the multi-generational family operated Flying K Ranch Angus (the ‘K’ standing for the family surname of Kuntz) in Findlay, OH, Greg Kuntz, along with his wife Patty, their sons Chris, Robert, Gregory and their daughter, Ashley, have worked diligently to make this Angus ranch truly stand out from the proverbial crowd of ranches dotting the area.

“We are unique to most operations because we are a family owned and operated continuous flow operation,” says Chris Kuntz. “Every week we take in cattle to be harvested and graded for the grocery chain.” From birthing to feed orders, four generations of the Kuntz family work to manage every facet of the ranching operations.

“The most challenging part of the continuous flow program is making sure we have cattle that hit all our marks that we have set to ensure the best quality for grading and yield,” Chris explains. “Some of the key attributes of our cattle operation are the high genetic cattle we have and the close relationships we have all the way through until it’s at the grocery.”

To accomplish this, the Flying K team is in continuous communication, five to six days a week with the processing facility to ensure everything they see in the Flying K cattle is holding the consistent high quality and high grades that the ranch is known for.

“Our nutritionist plays a large role in our operation as well. He is always willing to go the extra mile and fully understands any issues we have as he runs his own cattle operation,” Chris says.

Exceptional Efforts
The entire Flying K Ranch team strives to continue to improve the ranch’s efforts by embracing low-stress handling of the cattle, while fine tuning the setup of the ranch’s chute system, explains Bob Kuntz, who moved home four years ago from Idaho to assist his parents in their fast-growing business at the ranch, followed a couple years later by his brother Chris. Gregory also recently joined the team and brings with him a background in agriculture business and sales.

The brothers work in tandem to oversee daily cattle operations. “We have found that running multiple feed rations catered to our cattle serves them well,” says Bob Kuntz. “Everyone has a role or part to play, which means we count on one another and so we have grown closer together.

So why the name Flying K Ranch? Quite simply, to pay homage to Greg Kuntz’s long-standing career as a retired Colonel in the United States Air Force. In addition, Patty worked in a career as a commercial airline flight attendant until she retired and joined Greg in establishing this award-winning ranching operation, after years of growing beef only for their immediate family. Their love for “all things aviation” seemed combined with their love of ranching, seemed to be the ideal name for their cattle operation.

“In transitioning from a military career to ranching the discipline I learned in military aviation has made a world of difference,” Greg Kuntz says. “Also the persistence to keep everything moving forward. We do not do anything halfway as there is no room for second best. Our passion is to provide the best quality angus carcass we can and then set the bar higher.”

Today, Flying K provides beef products for customers throughout Ohio and beyond. And because of their long history in cattle production, the entire Kuntz family recognizes the importance of providing their cattle with top-quality grass, grains and essential nutrients. The herd enjoys a wealth of sunshine, fresh air, and grass – resulting in hormone-free, antibiotic-free great-tasting beef that is pasture raised and grain finished.

The ranch’s 15-year-history has earned it accolades aplenty, including BQA certification, which recognizes Flying K’s solid husbandry techniques, that are coupled with scientific know-how to raised cattle that have exude quality. Flying K embraces the finest handling, facility management, transportation, record keeping, and herd health procedures which has resulted in the ranch earning the sought-after Certified Angus Beef® label, meeting 10 exacting standards for taste and tenderness.

How to Develop a Cattle Diet Plan for Your Herd

Article and images courtesy of VITAFERM®

How to Develop a Cattle Diet Plan for Your Herd 
(SAINT JOSEPH, Mo., July 3, 2024) Raising cattle isn’t as simple as it once was. Generations ago, our great grandparents likely bought some cows from the neighbor, purchased a bull from another neighbor and hoped for the best. Their cattle diet plan probably didn’t exist, as they fed the feedstuffs that they raised on their farm – corn and hay.

Today, you invest in quality genetics. In order to optimize those genetics, you need to provide a quality nutrition plan. It needs to include more than turning the herd out to grass and giving them a salt block or two.

Developing a cattle diet plan involves several key steps to ensure that the nutritional needs of the cattle are met for optimal growth, health and productivity.

6 Steps to Develop an Effect Cattle Diet Plan 

The expert team at VitaFerm® wants you to succeed in cattle production. That is why we’ve developed this simplified approach to develop an effective cattle diet plan. Throughout the process, if you have specific questions, we encourage you to seek out your local BioZyme® dealer or Area Sales Manager or speak with a ruminant nutritionist with your specific questions.

1.  Understand the Nutritional Requirements 

Knowing and understanding what to feed cows is a vitally important step to your nutritional success. Here is an abbreviated rundown of the essential nutrients your herd needs to thrive.

Energy 

Cattle need energy for maintenance, growth, reproduction and lactation. Energy is usually provided by carbohydrates and fats.

Protein 

Essential for growth, reproduction and lactation. Protein requirements vary with age, weight and production stage.

Vitamins and Minerals 

Critical for various bodily functions, including immune response and bone development. Important minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and trace minerals like copper, zinc and selenium.

Water 

Ensure constant access to clean, fresh water. Water intake is crucial for digestion and overall health.

2.  Assess the Cattle’s Needs 

Your herd’s nutritional needs will be largely dependent on the reproductive phase they are entering. Take this into consideration as you create your cattle diet plan.

Stage of Production 

Nutritional needs for your beef cattle are often the highest during the final weeks of gestation and lactation. Determine if the cattle are in the growing, finishing, lactating or maintenance stage.

Body Condition 

Evaluate the body condition score (BCS) of the cattle to determine their current nutritional status. Ideally, your herd will be in the “just right” range of 5 to 6.

Breed & Age 

Nutritional needs can vary based on breed and age. Breeds that are known as heavier milkers will require more nutrients. Likewise younger heifers are still developing, and those older cows will also need feedstuffs with a higher nutritional value.

3. Analyze Available Feed Resources 

Forage Quality 

Test the quality of available forage (hay, silage, pasture) for nutrient content. You cannot tell forage quality only by outward appearance. BioZyme offers complimentary forage testing for its customers. Once your forage analysis is received and the results are ready, our staff nutritionists work with you to make recommendations for your cattle diet plan.

Grains & Supplements 

Evaluate the quality and nutritional content of grains and supplements available. Once you know the quality of the forages you are feeding, you gain a better understanding of the kind of grains and supplements you need to supplement with. Supplement any nutrients that your forage is lacking, and if unsure, always consult with a nutritionist.

4. Formulate the Diet 

Base Diet on Forage 

Forage should be the foundation of the diet. High-quality forage can meet most of the nutritional needs. However, we cannot emphasize the importance of forage testing enough. A complete analysis will assist you in knowing what other nutrients you need to accompany it with.

Supplement as Needed 

Add grains, protein supplements and mineral/vitamin premixes to fill any nutritional gaps. This is where the VitaFerm supplements can make a difference. VitaFerm is a line of nutritional supplements for beef cattle that maximize energy and forage utilization for successful production.

VitaFerm is fueled by AO-Biotics® Amaferm®, a research-proven prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility. There is a VitaFerm mineral for every stage of production.

Balance the Ration 

Use ration balancing software or consult with a livestock nutritionist to ensure the diet is balanced. This includes balancing energy, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

5. Consider Feed Additives 

Prebiotics & Probiotics  

These can improve gut health and nutrient absorption. Amaferm, our research-proven prebiotic is the cornerstone ingredient to nearly every product we make due to the fact it helps keep the gut healthy. Since know that 70% of the immune response is found in the digestive tract, keeping the gut healthy is vital to keeping the entire animal healthy.

6.  Monitor and Adjust the Diet 

Monitor your herd’s diet regularly. Keep track of weight gain, body condition and overall health of the cattle. Make necessary adjustments to the diet based on performance and changes in forage quality or availability. Regular pasture checks to monitor water tanks, mineral feeders and forages are a good idea, especially in big country areas, where pastures are spread out.

BioZyme Products are Research Proven   

Now that you are more familiar with formulating your cattle diet plan, don’t forget to include the Amaferm! Amaferm is the key additive in all VitaFerm products. It has more than 111 published and/or presented research studies proving its increase in digestibility and, ultimately, its impact on the animal.

Providing a high-quality trace mineral and vitamin supplementation like VitaFerm Concept•Aid is research-proven to improve reproductive efficiency. For example, our reproductive success report shows that VitaFerm Concept•Aid has proven itself as an industry leader in fertility support. Its ability to improve pregnancy rates, calving percentages, and weaning weights is unmatched by other brand products.

Get Your VitaFerm Today   

Providing the proper vitamins and minerals for cows is an important part of your cattle diet plan. At BioZyme, we give you options within the VitaFerm line. Not sure what to feed cows when it comes to the VitaFerm line? Check out our Concept•Aid Product Navigator.

Get your VitaFerm products from an authorized BioZyme dealer today. Our extensive dealer network is here to help you meet mineral needs.

Cattle Nutrition Experts  

VitaFerm® is an established brand of vitamin and mineral supplements designed to maximize energy and forage utilization for successful beef production. Our products support cattle producers looking to maximize their operations. And best of all, VitaFerm products ensure balanced nutrition for livestock.

The VitaFerm brand is the flagship brand of BioZyme Inc., a leading fermentation company pioneering advancements in animal nutrition and health. Through innovative research and high-quality manufacturing, BioZyme creates powerful solutions that improve animal performance and support producer profitability in the agricultural industry.

Our mission: undeniable positive impact on the health and wellness of your animals, and your business.

About BioZyme® Inc.

BioZyme Inc., founded in 1951, develops and manufactures natural, proprietary products focused on animal nutrition, health and microbiology. With a continued commitment to research, BioZyme offers a complete line of feed additives and high density, highly available vitamin, mineral, trace mineral and protein supplements for a variety of animals including cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, horses and dogs. BioZyme brands include AO-Biotics, VitaFerm®, Gain Smart®, Sure Champ®, Vitalize®, DuraFerm® and Backyard Boost®. With headquarters in St. Joseph, Missouri, the company reaches a global market of customers that stretches into countries across five continents. For more information about BioZyme, visit www.biozymeinc.com.

Legendary Akaushi Genetics

Legendary Akaushi Genetics

The superior choice for commercial cattlemen

Article and photos courtesy of Legendary Akaushi Genetics

Founded in Legacy. Driven by Data” – this mantra encapsulates the mission and vision of the new Legendary Akaushi Genetics. Established in 2015, Legendary Akaushi has been at the forefront of preserving and enhancing the foundation genetics of Akaushi cattle. Recently, the ranch transitioned ownership from Bill Fisher and Jordan Beeman to Steve Cotrelle, marking a new era of innovation and growth while still staying true to the vision of the original founders.

With new ownership, the commitment to preserving these foundation genetics remains steadfast. However, there is also a renewed focus on propelling the breed forward. Leveraging our unique position of owning numerous rare foundational animals, we are poised to create new maternal lines based on rigorous data analysis and performance metrics. This data-driven approach ensures that we not only preserve the legacy of Akaushi genetics but also enhance the breed’s future potential through informed breeding decisions and innovative practices.

History of Akaushi
The Akaushi breed, also known as Japanese Brown or Red Wagyu, has its origins in Japan’s Kumamoto and Kochi prefectures. This breed is part of the larger Wagyu family, which includes Japanese Black, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. Wagyu translates to “Japanese cow,” and Akaushi specifically means “red cow.” The breed’s development began in the late 19th century, following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, which opened Japan to Western influences and led to the introduction of European cattle breeds such as Simmental and Devon to enhance size and maternal traits. In addition to these Western influences, Akaushi cattle also integrated genetics from the Korean Hanwoo, noted for its exceptional marbling and robust flavor. Studies indicate a significant genetic overlap between Akaushi and Hanwoo, with some Akaushi showing up to 80% genetic similarity to Hanwoo cattle, this sets them apart from the Black Wagyu and makes them a great cross for heterosis on these types of cattle. This genetic linkage highlights the distinctive qualities of Akaushi beef, blending the intense marbling with a rich, beefy flavor.

Akaushi cattle were first imported to the United States in the 1970s. This initial import included two Tottori Black Wagyu bulls, Mazda and Fuji, and two Akaushi bulls, Judo and Rueshaw. These early imports laid the groundwork for the Akaushi breed in the U.S. However, it was in the 1990s that a significant expansion occurred with the importation of additional Akaushi cattle. This included both Akaushi and Black Wagyu, but the focus was primarily on enhancing the Akaushi genetic pool. These imported cattle were pivotal in establishing a robust Akaushi population in the U.S., ensuring that the breed’s superior marbling, tenderness, and flavor were preserved and propagated. The Akaushi cattle that were originally imported are mostly tied to HeartBrand Beef, previously known as Englewood. In the early 1990s, the Englewood company recognized the potential of Akaushi genetics and invested in importing and breeding these cattle. Englewood’s efforts were instrumental in introducing and popularizing Akaushi beef in the American market. The company eventually rebranded as HeartBrand Beef, continuing its mission to produce high-quality Akaushi beef. Legendary worked with Heartbrand and Wagyu Saki to build their initial herd of rare Akaushi donors.

Why Use Legendary Bulls
Akaushi cattle offer numerous benefits, making them an excellent choice for commercial herds. Known for their exceptional marbling, Akaushi beef consistently achieves higher quality grades, moving select cuts to choice and choice cuts to prime. This superior carcass quality translates to a rich, buttery flavor and a tender texture, highly valued in the beef market. In addition to their premium meat quality, Akaushi cattle exhibit high fertility rates, calving ease, and robust growth, which contribute to efficient and profitable breeding operations. Another significant benefit of Akaushi cattle is their ability to adapt and perform in various climates. Bred on the volcanic slopes of southern Japan, Akaushi cattle have evolved to thrive on grass and in pasture environments. These environmental condiditions allowed the Akaushi to differentiate themselves from the Black Wagyu as they flourish in more rugged conditions, resulting in a thicker build and weaning weights comparable to continental breeds. Since the Akaushi is more related to the Hanwoo than the Black Wagyu, it is also a great choice for producers who have used a Black Wagyu bulls in the past; as these calves will have a high level of heterosis. It is not uncommon for purebred Akaushi to wean calves weighing between 400-550 lbs, with calves being born at around 65 lbs on average. This unique environment also endowed Akaushi cattle with heat resistance. In Texas, it is common to see Akaushi cattle grazing alongside Brahman-influenced cattle in the summer heat when other breeds seek shade or water. Akaushi cattle also perform well in cold environments, thriving in states like Idaho and even further north in Canada.
Our focus on data-driven breeding practices aims to identify cattle that excel in commercial beef production systems. We are currently investigating feed and water efficiency and plan to develop systems and facilities to measure these traits next year. We believe that Akaushi cattle are ideal for use in tropical climates where Brahman-based cattle are common due to their resilience. Akaushi cattle bring not only resilience but also superior carcass quality to the equation. Starting this year, Legendary will incorporate ultrasound technology to select bulls for our program and for sale to our customers. Advances in ultrasound technology over the past decade have made it a valuable tool in ensuring the bulls we sell will marble efficiently. This data will contribute to producing Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) through the Australian Wagyu Association, where our cattle will be compared to Black Wagyu. Although Australia has a robust system for EBVs in Black Wagyu, it may take 3-5 years for the data to accurately reflect the performance of Akaushi. We expect to have the results of the ultrasound scans available by the next breeding season, contributing to ongoing studies comparing Akaushi to Black Wagyu.

By choosing Akaushi bulls, you can significantly improve the quality of the carcasses produced by your herd. This improvement is particularly advantageous if you run a farm-to-table beef program or sell cattle on the grid. In the past year, premiums for F1 calves have decreased, but we anticipate these premiums returning once cattle prices stabilize from their current all-time highs. Investing in Akaushi genetics positions your operation to capitalize on these future market opportunities, ensuring consistent production of high-quality beef that meets consumer demand for superior marbling and flavor. At Legendary Akaushi Genetics, our dedication to preserving the rich legacy of Akaushi cattle while driving the breed’s future through innovation and data-driven practices sets us apart. Our commitment to quality, sustainability, and excellence positions us at the forefront of the beef industry, offering unparalleled value to our customers and the market. By choosing Akaushi bulls from Legendary Akaushi Genetics, commercial cattlemen can enhance their herds with superior genetics, ensuring higher quality beef, improved efficiency, and greater adaptability to diverse environments.
For additional information on our breeding stock, commercial cows, bulls, semen and embryos, visit our website for more information at akaushigenetics.com

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