APRIL RANCHER SPOTLIGHT
This month our ranch spotlight features the L Bar W Cattle Company of Absarokee, Montana. If you are looking at a map, you might miss it- but, it’s a little southwest of Billings and 14 miles away from Columbus. The town name comes from the Crow Indians who once inhabited the land. The ranch is headquartered in the Stillwater Valley along the Stillwater River north of town. It also uses summer grazing at their Whitebird Unit eight miles from the headquarters.
The L Bar W Cattle Company is a family owned cow-calf operation comprised of Carl and Denise Loyning, and Mike and Jeanette Walen. Denise and Carl oversee the daily cattle and hay operations, while Mike and Jeanette help with the spring branding, moving pairs, and fall pre-conditioning and weaning. In addition, Denise’s dad, Dennis Ahola, and Carl’s dad, Hanly Loyning, are involved in the ranch as well. Dennis helps out every spring with calving, and Hanly helps with the spring activities of haying operations, trucking, and whatever else the ranch may call on both of them for. In addition to their cattle operation , the ranch also puts up approximately 1000 tons of hay.
The ranch has been a commercial operation that dates back to the 1890’s. The ranch started adding commercial Hereford cows to their operation because of the breed traits of docility and maternal instincts possessed by the mother cows. About ten years ago, the ranch purchased a Hereford bull for use on some Angus cows and they, “loved the hybrid vigor and quality of the replacement heifer calves.” The ranch believes that docility of breed is one of the most important traits that the Hereford cattle possess, and that it enables the cattle to perform better from birth to feedlot whether a purebred or baldy crossbred. An example the ranch uses is that of being able to walk through a pen of heavy cows, or a pen of feeder steers and the cattle don’t run to the end of the pen acting wild or trying to escape –thus, resulting in being less stressed. This is a great trait to have when consumers are looking more and more for protein sources that are handled humanely.
The L Bar W is making great use of the popularity of Herefords- especially, when crossed with Angus cattle. They feel like other industry producers that their baldy feeders and baldy replacement heifers are becoming the premier product that other producers and ultimately the consumers are after. They have recently started to transition to a purebred Hereford operation based around the Line One Hereford line. They are continuing their cow-calf operation into this new part of their operations by selecting their best commercial cows for use as recip cows for embryos. Who ever said ranchers weren’t on the edge of cutting technology?
The L Bar W Cattle Company knows that change is good, but you must constantly be planning for the future and aware of any potential down turns. The ranch supports education efforts that enable consumers to understand where their food comes from, while realizing the great stewardship and compassion that producers have for the animals and land in their care. It is the L Bar W’s commitment to doing things the right way that produces a superior end product for our consumers.
Denise Loyning states that calving is their biggest enjoyment, “You finally get to see the results of adding new genetics to your herd, or seeing a first calf heifer mothering her newborn. We are very privileged to be living this life and we never take a day for granted!” If you find yourself around Montana be sure and get in touch with the L Bar W Cattle Company and reach out to Denise at 406-425-2252. They’d be happy to show you their world class operation and quality Hereford replacement heifers and feeder cattle. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing your L Bar W Cattle Company with us.
We’ll see you down the road next time,