Turner Angus - Shelby Montana



Welcome to Turner Angus, thanks for stopping by. I believe I should tell you that I live in the Stone Age. I don't own a computer or a cell phone so I don't text or email. I can dial a phone so please feel free to call me anytime. When it comes to talking cattle I have been blessed with the gift of gab.

(A new addition to the place has been a laptop computer. I suppose it's time to build a bridge between the Stone Age and Technology Age. Don't tell anyone or my reputation will be shot.)

The ranch is located in North Central Montana 30 miles north and east of Shelby and about 15 miles south of the medicine line. I raise dry-land wheat and barley and Angus cattle. My average annual precipitation is usually less than ten inches. Drought is average, wet years are rare. The cows run on native hard grass pastures and crop stubble.

The Cattle
I run a survival of the fittest type operation. My cattle are medium framed with big middles. They are heavy built with thick necks, big heads and broad muzzles. The old cows weigh in that 1100 to 1300 pound range and don't have any hair on their chins. The young cows are 900 to 1200 pounds. I would describe them as coarse. The cow herd has been culled by years of drought and me trying to starve a profit out of them. This is the toughest registered cow herd in the country. It has been built, not bought, and is unique to it's environment.

Most of the cow herd is linebred Rito, Viking, Emulation. Basically I have kept my best bulls from my best cows and used them back in the herd. The Paturn 05 bull is the only homeraised bull I'm using now and his sons are the only ones highly linebred. The last few years I have brought in outside bulls to try and make minor adjustments to my cow herd. The Encore bred bull from Jack McNamee seems to be doing the best job for what I want.

Bull Power
Over the years I have always said that my bulls will breed more cows than average and that you don't need as many of my bulls to get the job done. People have repeatedly told me that my bulls are breeding machines. Lately I have changed my mind. Rick Schock has a herd of cows that are 100% my genetics. He runs an extra bull and he is usually done calving in a couple days. Dean Lerum runs a couple extra bulls. He used to always lose at least one bull a year to injury. He starts calving the second week of March and when he puts on his farmer hat the 1st of April he just has a handful left to calve. When it comes to saving time, the reduction of inputs, and the extra weight from those earlier calves, an extra bull gets real cheap.

Weaning Weights
I read in an article in Drover's Magazine where weaning weights have remained flat for the last 20 years. It also said if you increase cow size by 100 pounds you increase weaning weights by 6-17 pounds. It seems that chasing big numbers and extra pounds have been moving us backwards. In my environment weaning weights are determined by rainfall and pasture management – PERIOD. The more high powered the cow the smaller the calf. Performance costs money and I don't get enough rain to pay for the extra power. More power takes more for maintenance and less for the calf. The calf also has higher nutrient requirements that aren't being met, so now you have an open cow and a pot-bellied fur ball dink calf.

I am guilty of chasing that golden carrot. Trying to buy that super cow. Every time I bring in some high powered cows they all fall flat. The only bright spot are some little, no EPD, no power cows from Indrelands that are cranking out the pounds. They are as tough as my cows.

I noticed in this drought year that the bigger the first-calf heifer, the smaller her calf. It also held true for the three-year-olds. In past years I have always had a few fur ball dink calves from heifers. The last two years I haven't had any. I'm not sure if that's because of better line-bred genetics or pasture management.

When I first came to this place, there were three pastures and the crop stubble. Now I have 12 pastures and have been able to almost double my stocking rates. There has also been a big change in the plant community. There is a much larger variety of plant species now and some disappearance of others. In this last drought year (6 inches of rain) I had decent grass all year and was able to rest one pasture. The neighbors' pasture that has been set stocked for years never even turned green.

Replacement Heifers
If I have a heifer get sick as a calf I do not save her for a replacement. I don't care how good she is. It must not take much to damage their lungs or gut because the ones I have kept over the years – never seem to do good as mother cows. Now I just grit my teeth, close my eyes and put them on the truck. I've been bit too many times.

Easy Keeping Cows
There is a very thin line between a small easy keeping power cow and a worthless infertile tubby gutted pig. Just because she carries good flesh doesn't mean she can raise a calf, and just because she's an ugly bag of bones doesn't mean she's infertile. On my place I have three rules for my cows:

  1. She must raise a decent calf every year.
  2. She shouldn't try to kill me while raising that calf.
  3. She can't create extra work or expenses to be here. (Dirty rotten POS fence crawling bi*#%. Grit my teeth, put her on the truck.)

Side Note
I read this in Steve Harmon's bull sale catalog. I found it very interesting.

"The most reliable way for us to plan our future is to look at the past. Almost 99% of the cows that reach 10 years of age are sired by our own bulls. Only about one in seven of the outside sires we have used were a long-term asset to our program. We now have thirty years of records on this endeavor to look back on. We don't breed by the book, too many important pages are missing."
- Steve Harmon, Harmon Angus Ranch



2015 Sale Bulls


  • IMG_6395
  • IMG_6401
  • IMG_6404
  • IMG_6405
  • IMG_6407
  • IMG_6408
  • IMG_6409
  • IMG_6410
  • IMG_6412
  • IMG_6413
  • IMG_6416
  • IMG_6418
  • IMG_6425
  • IMG_6426
  • IMG_6427
  • IMG_6428
  • IMG_6431
  • IMG_6432
  • IMG_6436
  • IMG_6439
  • IMG_6441
  • IMG_6444
  • IMG_6446
  • IMG_6447
  • IMG_6449
  • IMG_6451
  • IMG_6453
  • IMG_6454
  • IMG_6456
  • IMG_6458