National Salers tour coming to Minnesota Sept. 17-18

FARWELL, Minn. - David McIvers is making final preparations for tours of his Farwell cattle operation.

David McIvers, left, his wife, Marilyn and their son, Scott, operate McIvers Happy Acres near Farwell where they raise Salers and Shorthorns. They are one of eight Minnesota family farms featured on the American Salers Association National Tour Sept. 17 and 18.

FARWELL, Minn. - David McIvers is making final preparations for tours of his Farwell cattle operation.

His farm, McIvers Happy Acres, is one of eight Minnesota Salers farmers and ranches featured in the 2010 American Salers Association National Tour Sept. 17 and 18.

The two-day tour will include stops at Salers operations at Litchfield, Sauk Rapids, Madelia, Long Prairie, and New York Mills.

This is the sixth year for the tour, said McIvers, a national ASA director. More than 100 people are expected to take part. The tour is open to anyone interested in the breed and the farms and ranches featured on the tour.

The cattlemen like the breed's traits. The cows have one of the largest pelvic areas compared to other breeds, McIvers said. It allows ease of calving. The calves are also smart and nurse within minutes of birth. The animals have a calm demeanor and the meat is well marbled without a fatty outside.


McIvers' wife, Marilyn, agrees.

"It's one of the best marbled meats, bar none," she said.

Before he considered raising Salers, David McIvers joined his father, John and uncle, George, on the Farwell family farm in the late 1950s. His father liked cattle and had started a registered Shorthorn herd in the 1920s.

McIvers and Marilyn married in 1960 and raised four children on the farm. When their two sons were in high school, McIvers started a polled Hereford herd but John didn't like the breed, he said.

He'd heard about Salers and became interested. At the time, Shorthorns were falling out of favor so they began breeding Salers with the Shorthorn. They now run purebred herds of each.

Their son, Scott, joined the operation in the 1980s and, with his parents, run a combined 950 acres together. They have 200 to 250 cows made up of Herefords and Salers. They run two calving seasons. The spring season takes place in March and April with roughly 155 cows and in the fall they calve in September and October with about 75 to 80 cows.

Their herd is raised in an intensive grazing system. The farm's pastures are interseeded with legumes.

They sell breeding stock and have sold livestock in 20 states, he said.


Other farms featured on the tour include K Bar K Cattle Company of Litchfield.

KKCC is operated by Daniel and Teresa Kohls. They purchased their 80 acre farmsite in 1994 and have additional rented pastures. Their herd is made up of 40 spring calving cows and 10 summer- and fall-calving females with 70 percent of the herd Salers or Optimizers.

The products from their farm include performance-minded seedstock, show cattle and show lamb projects, AI semen and embryos from a small but quality -focused herd.

Cattle are marketed by private treaty at the National Sale and the Midland Bull Test. They also started a series of online Internet production sales this year.

This is the 24th year Daniel has raised Salers.

Oak Hill Farms in Madelia is operated by Rodney, Brenda, Matt and Darrin Gens. They have a 55-cow herd and keep only the top 20 bull calves each year, which they sell as breeding stock.

Rocky River Salers of Sauk Rapids is a 200-acre farm operated by Philip Pederson. He sells six to 20 bulls per year, mostly to repeat customers, he said.

A tour of their farm features not only the Salers but also the family's collection of more than 200 bluebird houses, 25-plus woodduck houses and a large antique farm machinery collection.


Joe and Judy Zastrow of Long Prairie have 50 cows and sell bulls and females by private treaty. Joe grew up on a dairy farm, but wanted a breed known for easy calving, fertility and fewer health problems. The couple found the Salers were a good fit for their needs.

In New York Mills, tour participants will visit the Leaderbrand Brothers farm.The family operates a 150-sow farrow-to-finish unit and have 200 Salers/Angus cross cows.

They calve in March through April and May so the calves aren't too heavy when they go to sale.

The Sibell Brothers Farm of Osakis is a fourth generation farm operated by Steve and Allen and their parents Reuben and Mary. They have 120 mother cows with a strong Salers influence.

Craig Salers of Lowry is operated by Dale and Sarah Craig and their children. The farm started with Shorthorns with the Salers added in 2003.


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