MJE, LLC Celebrates 50 Years of Building Excellence with a Golden Anniversary Event

MJE, LLC Celebrates 50 Years of Building Excellence with a Golden Anniversary Event

Article and photo courtesy of MJE Livestock Equipment

Wichita, Kansas—MJE, LLC, a pioneer in the construction and agricultural equipment industry, marked its 50th anniversary with a grand celebration at B-29 Doc’s Hangar in Wichita, Kansas. The event highlighted the company’s enduring legacy and commitment to the future of agriculture and construction. Founded by Max Jantz, MJE, LLC has evolved from a local dirt-moving operation to a leader in construction services and livestock equipment, now helmed by his children, Heather and Aaron Jantz.

The Golden Anniversary celebration was an homage to the hard work, innovation, and community that have been the hallmark of MJE, LLC since its inception. Attendees included the Jantz family, employees, clients, vendors, and friends of the company, all gathering to honor the past and look forward to the future.

The evening featured a dinner, music by the Cory Farley Band, and a special video tribute encapsulating the spirit of collaboration and achievement that defines MJE, LLC. “This event is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, the trust of our clients, and the support of our community,” said Aaron Jantz, co-owner of MJE, LLC.

MJE, LLC’s story began with Max Jantz’s ambition and has grown through the addition of comprehensive construction services and the expansion into MJE Livestock Equipment. Under the leadership of Heather and Aaron Jantz, the company now employs over 240 individuals and continues to innovate within the agricultural and construction industries.

The celebration also served as an opportunity to express gratitude towards the company’s employees, clients, and partners. “Our success is a collective effort, and this milestone belongs to every member of the MJE family,” stated Heather Jantz, co-owner of MJE, LLC.

Looking to the future, MJE, LLC is poised for continued growth and innovation. Focusing on expanding capabilities in civil, environmental, feedyard, and dairy construction and growing the dealer network for MJE Livestock Equipment, the company is committed to keeping the agricultural industry safe, profitable, and innovative.

As MJE, LLC embarks on the next 50 years, the company invites stakeholders and the community to stay connected through its website and newsletter. “Together, we look forward to building excellence for generations to come,” concluded the Jantz family.

For more information about MJE, LLC and its services, please visit www.mjellc.net.

About MJE, LLC  

MJE, LLC, founded by Max Jantz, has grown from a modest dirt-moving operation into a leading provider of construction services and livestock equipment. With a legacy of innovation and community engagement, MJE, LLC is dedicated to advancing the agricultural and construction industries.

About MJE Livestock Equipment

MJE Livestock Equipment makes the lives of farmers and ranchers easier through strategic herd management advice, facility design, and American-made livestock equipment built with innovation that makes ranching easier and cattle safe, healthy, and happy. 

To learn more about MJE Livestock Equipment and become part of their fast-growing network of dealers, visit our website: www.mjelivestockequipment.com/dealers

For additional information, the news media should contact: 

Megan Elsey

Director of Public Relations and Marketing

MJE Livestock Equipment


(620) 846-2634

Transforming Cattle Health and Profitability with Horn Fly Management

Transforming Cattle Health and Profitability with Horn Fly Management

Article and photos courtesy of Central Life Sciences

Found on the backs of cattle, horn flies are the most pervasive and costly external parasites of cattle in North America, taking up to 40 blood meals a day. Losses from horn flies cost the industry an estimated $1 billion each year due to the stress they inflict and diseases they spread to cattle. Using a fly management program to limit flies on cattle will help promote herd health.

The Impact of Horn Flies

Effects from horn flies on cattle include:

 • Irritating cattle with their painful bites causing cattle stress and annoyance

 • Burning excess energy to dislodge flies and cattle bunching, leading to interrupted grazing patterns

 • Reducing weight gains and calf weaning weights  

 • Decreasing milk production

The diseases that horn flies spread to cattle, including beef heifer mastitis, can be linked to lower conception rates. Studies have confirmed that cows with infections can take 25% longer to conceive. 

Beef heifer mastitis is a potentially devastating issue for cattle herds, as it can quickly spread and have a significant impact on both animal health and your bottom line. Mastitis, characterized by the inflammation and infection of one or more teats, often leads to the development of blind quarters. This condition, while often overlooked, can destroy the milk-producing tissues within the affected teats, ultimately resulting in decreased milk production and reduced weaning weights.

Central Life Sciences Product Shoot, Texas, April 2023

Horn flies are known to feed on the blood vessels in the skin of the teats, causing irritation and creating a gateway for mastitis-causing bacteria. Horn flies can carry these harmful bacteria from one animal to another, entering the teat orifice and moving upward within the quarter, where they inflict damage on the milk-producing tissues. These flies only leave the animals to lay their eggs in fresh manure, perpetuating the cycle of infection and infestation.

According to Dr. Nickerson at University of Georgia, 75% of all heifers have mastitis before they calve. He attributes 50% of that mastitis to the horn fly. By implementing an effective fly control program and incorporating Altosid® IGR to help prevent cases of mastitis, you can improve the overall health of the herd, particularly among the heifers.

The Horn Fly Life Cycle

To better control fly populations and protect against cattle diseases, it’s essential to understand the horn fly life cycle:

 • Day Zero: Female adult flies leave the backs of cattle briefly to lay their eggs in fresh manure.

 • Day 1-2: Eggs hatch into horn fly larvae.

 • Day 3-8: Larvae molt into pupae.

 • Day 9-17: Pupae molt into adults.

 • Day 18-40: The adult horn fly emerges as a small, black insect, approximately 4 millimeters long. The adult can live anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.

While the total life span of horn flies is slightly longer than one month, their populations expand quickly, causing infestations. In untreated herds, fly infestations can increase rapidly to upwards of 4,000 flies per animal.

Implementing proper practices and preventative fly control strategies is key to protecting your herd and profit from horn flies. Altosid® IGR is a feed-through fly control solution that passes through the digestive system and works in cattle manure where horn flies lay their eggs, limiting future populations from emerging. The active ingredient in Altosid® IGR mimics naturally occurring insect biochemicals that are responsible for insect development. The most effective way to control fly populations is to interrupt their life cycle. And Altosid® IGR, from Central Life Sciences, does just that while also eliminating the expense, labor and stress on your cattle associated with other fly control methods.

The 30/30 Program

Disrupting this life cycle is an essential component of controlling horn flies. By adding Altosid® IGR 30 days before fly emergence and continuing throughout the season until 30 days after the first frost, you can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in cattle. 

The 30/30 Program recommends the use of Altosid® IGR to control fly populations. Producers should start including these products in their feed or supplement early in the spring, 30 days before flies begin to appear through 30 days after the first frost when cold weather reduces or ends fly activity. This time frame ensures an ideal window of treatment with the products, protecting against an unpredictably early or late start to the spring or winter seasons.

To limit the population of overwintering flies that emerge in spring and mark the start of fly season, producers should follow the key steps of the 30/30 Program:

 • Begin feeding Altosid® IGR 30 days before average daytime temperatures reach 65° F.

 • Continue the process until 30 days after the first frost in the fall.

Numerous studies have highlighted the severe economic damage that flies can cause to both dairy and beef operations. Therefore, it is essential to control fly populations. By adopting a “30/30” approach, producers can get ahead of the fly population in the spring before it builds up to a level that exceeds the economic threshold.

By continuing to feed 30 days past the average first frost date in the fall, producers can reduce the total number of overwintering pupae, giving them a head start on the population for the following year. When incorporated into a complete Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, the use of Altosid® IGR with a “30/30” approach can help producers account for the unpredictability of the seasons and significantly lower fly populations while increasing cattle comfort and profitability.

Integrated Pest Management

The key component to start any IPM program is the initial Planning phase, which includes the identification of problem pests, understanding their habits and devising a management strategy. Once the target pests have been identified, a successful IPM strategy must advance to the Implementation phase, approaching pest control through a combination of several complementary methods.

To have a complete program, one should include several of the following tactics:

Central Life Sciences Product Shoot, Texas, April 2023

1. Improve cultural practices to reduce fly resting, feeding, and breeding sites through regular cleaning and upkeep of facilities and surrounding vegetation. Effective fly control begins with cultural practices, particularly in managing cattle manure. Flies breed in manure, emphasizing the importance of proper manure management.

2. Incorporating natural enemies of flies, such as parasitic wasps and predatory beetles, constitutes biological control. This method helps limit fly populations without adverse effects on animals or humans. By enhancing the ecosystem’s natural balance, biological control is an eco-friendly approach to pest management.

3. Incorporate various physical techniques, like fly traps and sticky tapes to remove adult flies that migrate from surrounding areas and help monitor the amount of fly activity.

4. Using targeted products to control flies like Altosid® IGR, a feed-through fly control product. This product delivers a key active ingredient to cattle, disrupting the fly life cycle in manure and preventing the emergence of adult horn flies.

While establishing a solid Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is crucial, the journey doesn’t stop there. Ongoing monitoring is just as vital. Regularly assessing fly populations using speck cards and fly traps allows cattle operators to fine-tune their strategies, maximizing control efforts. 

For maximum effectiveness, Altosid® IGR should be used as the foundation of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, including proper sanitation, maintaining physical structures, incorporating naturally occurring fly enemies and using chemical controls. Given the role flies play in cow health and conception, implementing proper practices and preventative fly control strategies is key to protecting your herd and profit from horn flies.

To learn more about Altosid® IGR fly control solutions, call 800.347.8272 or visit www.AltosidIGR.com.

Altosid is a registered trademark of Wellmark International.

Control Burrowing Rodents

Control Burrowing Rodents

By Heather Smith Thomas

Burrowing animals, ground squirrels, voles, gophers, rock chucks, badger, can damage a pasture and pose a risk for livestock if they step in deep holes. There are many ways to get rid of these pests, according to Sarah Baker, Custer County (Challis, Idaho), University of Idaho Extension Educator. Forage loss in a field or pasture from gophers and/or voles may be as much as10 to 50%. In a hayfield, mounds left by gophers can dull the blades on cutting machinery, and dirt can end up in hay bales. Rodent tunnels may interfere with flood irrigation; the water disappears down a hole, skips an area and pops up somewhere else in the field.

“When I get calls about burrowing rodents, the first thing I ask is what animal they are dealing with. Eradication methods will differ, so we need to know if it’s pocket gophers, voles or ground squirrels. Many people confuse pocket gophers with ground squirrels, so they need to identify the animals,” Baker says.

“Ground squirrels’ activity is often above ground. They make larger holes, which can be very detrimental. Since they feed above ground, control measures are focused more above ground. Pocket gophers tend to stay underground, with extensive burrow systems. All our control measures with pocket gophers must be inside their tunnels because they don’t come above ground very often,” she explains.

“The best way to identify pocket gophers is by their crescent or horseshoe-shaped mounds. As they dig burrows they push the soil above ground and create many mounds in that area of the pasture,” says Baker. These mounds may be 12 to 18 inches wide and 4 to 6 inches high. Gophers can create several mounds in one day and a single burrow system may cover 200 to 2000 square feet.

Control Strategies
Control methods include underground traps, baits underground, and fumigation. “Several methods can be effective, depending on how bad the infestation is. With a large infestation in a pasture or field you may even consider plowing that field. This will destroy the burrows and mounds and force the rodents to come above ground, vulnerable to predators,” says Baker.

“One way to get rid of burrowing rodents is crop rotation. Gophers love to burrow in alfalfa because they feed on the large taproots underground. If you have a serious infestation in an alfalfa field you could plow it out and plant an annual grain like oats. Gophers don’t like the shallow roots of small grain crops,” she says.

In a horse pasture, trapping or baiting may be a more feasible option, depending on the infestation. “Trapping is not legal in some states. Check on the laws in your own state. There are several different kinds of traps that work, including cinch traps (that grasp the animal mid body), and box traps of different types and brands,” says Baker.

Traps can be set in the main tunnel or any of the lateral tunnels. “Gophers may not revisit lateral tunnels, however, so trapping may be more successful in the main burrow. Once you locate fresh soil mounds, find the plug side of the mound and insert a stick or probe to find the lateral tunnel. Then dig the tunnel out with a shovel or your hand, following the lateral tunnel until you reach the main tunnel,” she says.

Traps can be placed in the main tunnel in pairs, facing opposite directions. Farm supply stores sell a variety of traps, which can be set according to the manufacturer’s directions. Traps should be anchored to stakes with wire, to keep the gophers from moving them deeper into the burrow system and to keep predators from taking off with the gopher and trap.

Trapping is easy but time consuming. It can be very effective if a person has the time to do it. “When I was a kid my dad used to pay me $1 per gopher so I trapped a lot of gophers, and that’s how I paid for my basketball shoes,” Baker says.

“There are different baits—that come in grain or pelleted form–but you need to find out which ones are legal in your state. The most common types of toxic baits contain strychnine. The main restriction on these is that they can’t be used above ground. They have to be placed down into the burrows. Strychnine is very effective for gophers but it accumulates in the body tissues. If some other animal eats a gopher that was poisoned with strychnine, death may occur. You might not want to use strychnine in an area where there are pets,” she says.

“Another legal poison is zinc phosphide, but it is a restricted use pesticide. You must have an applicator’s license to purchase and use it—which means learning how to handle it, taking a test, and becoming certified (check with your state for regulations/use). There are some zinc phosphide products available over the counter, if the concentration is 2% or less, but they are only sold in quantities of one pound or less. You can find these at many home and garden stores,” she says.

Most baits are in pellet form that can be put in the burrow. “The main thing with zinc phosphide pellets is to not use them when you are expecting rain. Moisture will cause the product to form a phosphine gas, making it ineffective,” says Baker.

“Some baits contain anticoagulants (similar to mice and rat poisons) but are not as effective as strychnine or zinc phosphide. Because of their lower toxicity, however, they sometimes are a better choice in situations where there are pets or other animals that might dig up and eat the dead gopher. Most of these products are multiple-feed baits and require more bait per application than single-feed baits like strychnine. There are various product names, like Kaput, Rozol, etc. and you can buy these over the counter.”
There are various types of probes that can be used to put bait into the burrows. “You can buy these at a home and garden store, but most extension offices have probes that can be loaned or rented to people,” she says. With these you put the bait in a small container attached to the probe, and once you get the probe into the main tunnel you open the container and it drops the bait into the hole. To locate the main tunnel, probe about 8 to 12 inches from the gopher mound, poking the probe down into the ground about 4 inches. When the probe is over the main tunnel it will readily drop about 2 more inches. Then you can dispense to correct amount of bait into the tunnel and close the hole after you remove the probe.

“If it’s just a small infestation, trapping is probably the most effective and cheapest method, compared to buying bait. Fumigation and combustion are other ways to get rid of burrowing rodents but a person has to know what they are doing to use these, because they can be dangerous otherwise,” says Baker.

If it’s a large infestation and a pasture is riddled with old tunnels and dotted with holes or mounds, you may have to disk it up and reseed it. “It’s important to level any gopher mounds, because then if you see fresh mounds you know you still have some gophers left. As a kid trapping gophers I always knocked over the mounds and then if I saw new ones pop up I’d know where to put my traps. And if there’s no new activity you know you got them all or they’ve moved somewhere else,” she explains. Gophers don’t hibernate and are active year round.

“The important thing when you start seeing rodent activity or mounds is to control them early. Once the population gets going, it becomes more difficult to eradicate them all. Pocket gophers breed in the spring and can have 1 or 2 litters per year, averaging 3 to 6 babies per litter. They can produce a lot of young ones in a year and quickly get out of hand and seriously damage a pasture,” says Baker.

Matt Brechwald operates a gopher control service based in Kuna, Idaho. Farmers often hire him to get rid of problem rodents in their fields. “The person you hire to eliminate these animals may use several different methods. The one I use is carbon monoxide injection into their holes, to kill them, and I utilize a piece of equipment called a PERC (pressurized exhaust rodent control) to get rid of gophers, voles and ground squirrels. There are other products available you can purchase or that a hired operator might use. One is called a Rodenator and another is called a Verminator. These put a combination of propane and oxygen into the tunnel. Then this is ignited, which creates an explosion that is supposed to kill the rodents with the concussion, and cave in the tunnel—to prevent re-infestation,” he says.

“Another method farmers sometimes use is an implement pulled behind a tractor, making a tunnel and dropping bait in that tunnel. As gophers are burrowing, they come across that tunnel and explore it, and eat the bait. A person can put poison bait into a field and cover a wide area in less time. I prefer my method, using carbon monoxide under pressure rather than poison,” says Brechwald.

“The best poison available for gophers or voles is aluminum phosphide. It comes in pellet form and you drop it into the tunnel and get it a little wet. This triggers a chemical reaction that produces fumes. This gas is extremely lethal and works very well for killing rodents, but you need to have an applicator’s license to legally use it.” You must learn about the proper way to handle this chemical, and take a test to become certified to use restricted products like this one.

“Aluminum phosphide works really well, but there have been a few human fatalities, including two children in a house near Salt Lake City, Utah. The gas came up through a crack in the foundation. Now it can only be used for agricultural purposes by someone with an applicator’s license—with the education and authority to use it. Even for agricultural purposes it can’t be used within a certain distance from a residential structure,” he explains.

“Poisons that you can buy over the counter generally contain some form of cyanide in a bait. One problem with these products is that in recent years the EPA has cut down the level of active ingredients that can be used in over-the-counter baits by about 50%. They are not as lethal as they used to be and not as effective. If gophers or ground squirrels sample this bait and don’t consume enough to kill them, it just makes them sick for a while—and they won’t eat any more of that bait. They won’t touch it again,” he says.

Ground squirrels and voles leave their tunnels open, whereas gophers plug their holes. “There are restrictions in various parts of the country on using poison bait for ground squirrels because other animals, such as burrowing owls, may go into those holes and eat the bait,” he explains. Read labels on poison baits; there may be different provisions for ground squirrels, due to concerns about surface animals eating the bait.

“Sometimes there are residual poisonings of other animals when baits are used. People have treated pastures for ground squirrels or gophers and then their dogs find the dead animals and get sick after eating them,” says Brechwald.

“Poisons can be an easy way to deal with gophers because you can buy a probe to put down through into a tunnel and drop the bait. There are drawbacks, however, in that today they are often not as effective as in the past (lower levels of poison) and carry a risk for poisoning other animals, or residual poisoning,” he says.

To trap gophers we dig out the tunnel and insert the trap into the tunnel, or a box trap at the end of the tunnel that catches the animal as it comes out,” says Brechwald.
The positive aspect of using traps is that you know when you’ve captured the animal, because you find the body, or the animal in the box trap. “Depending on the time of year, this may mean that you have the culprit from that tunnel. But if it’s during the breeding season there may be more gophers in there, and the trap will only get one at a time,” he says.

Ignited Propane
“The way this works is that concussion from the explosion will kill the animal and cave in the tunnel. Gophers are very territorial but if they are digging along and break into a tunnel system that is already there, they will explore that system if they are not challenged by the original dweller,” says Brechwald.

“It therefore helps to cave in the tunnels, so other ground squirrels won’t move int. I didn’t choose to use this method because of some of the drawbacks. It looked like a person would have to work a lot slower, to get the right combination of propane and oxygen in the tunnel and then set it off,” he says.

Another drawback is the noise. “I was a police officer in Boise for 12 years and we got a lot of calls in the spring from people in the foothills around Boise whenever someone was igniting these. The neighbors were calling the police, thinking someone was shooting a gun or setting off explosives,” he says.

“There are also issues with fire danger, especially in the West where everything can be so dry by July. We worry about sparks from the explosion setting fires in dry weeds, hay stacks, etc. For me, the benefits of this machine were outweighed by the potential negatives,” he says.

Smoke Bombs
These can often be purchased at a farm store. “A disadvantage to these is that you have to open up the tunnel system, light the smoke bomb, get it down into the tunnel, then seal the tunnel again. There are lower levels of success with these than when using a pressure system,” says Brechwald. “There’s also some risk for fire danger in a weedy patch when everything is dry,” he says.

Injecting Carbon Monoxide
“The machine I use has a 14-horsepower motor mounted on it, along with an air compressor powered by that motor. All the exhaust from the motor goes through the cooling coil that goes into the air compressor, where the carbon monoxide gets cooled, concentrated and goes into a pressure tank. When I go out to a group of gopher mounds, I insert a probe into the tunnel to inject carbon monoxide,” says Brechwald.

He feels this the most humane way to kill the animals. With a propane explosion the animal gets burned as it is killed. The gut-clench trap kills them fairly quickly but they suffer for a few moments as they die. With cooled gas going into the tunnels, they don’t feel anything.

“I probe into the mound, and once I get inside the tunnel with the probe I turn on the gas. There are a couple holes in the tip of the probe. I open a valve and the carbon monoxide goes through those into the tunnel at very high pressure/concentration. With gophers we don’t have to seal off any other openings because they block off their own tunnels,” he says.

Often if gophers smell something coming into their tunnel, they push dirt up and block the tunnel, effectively shielding themselves from the gas—and wall themselves off. “They can smell through the dirt, so they just wait until the gas goes away, and then open it up again,” he says.

This is why some types of fumigants are not very effective, or even the carbon monoxide a person might direct down their tunnel with a hose from vehicle exhaust. “Some people think carbon monoxide doesn’t work because someone tried it with a hose connected to a tail pipe of a car and it wasn’t successful,” says Brechwald.

“With the PERC method, however, carbon monoxide is coming in at such high pressure that the gophers are unable to wall themselves off quickly enough. They are overwhelmed almost immediately. Also there is so much pressure that if they try to push dirt up, this just blows the dirt block out,” he explains.

“There are many tools you can buy, to hook up a hose to the tail pipe of a car or a lawn mower, but you don’t have the advantage of pressure. Also, you have to open up the tunnel to stick the hose into it, which also creates a way for gas to escape. The key to the PERC is not the carbon monoxide, but the way it is applied,” he explains.

“We use the PERC on ground squirrels as well as gophers. I’ve done jobs where I didn’t plug the holes; I just run the gas through them. The ground squirrels seem more susceptible to carbon monoxide than gophers, so even if there is gas escaping on the other end we can still exterminate the ground squirrels.” With gophers it’s best to have no openings for the gas to leak out.

Preparing The Ground
Usually the area where there’s been a colony of gophers, ground squirrels, etc. is riddled with mounds and holes. “Once you get rid of the animals you can go over it with a disc or harrow to smooth it out, but there’s an advantage to smoothing it first. If I go to a farm or pasture on a dry piece of ground that is really infested, I recommend working that piece of ground before I treat it. I come back 4 or 5 days later, and the gophers or ground squirrels will be popping up—opening up their holes again. Where there’s any new activity, I’ll know exactly where they are. Unless it’s in a really nice pasture a person wouldn’t want to disk, this makes it easier to get them.”

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