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Mossy Creek Farm Wins 1999 Virginia Commercial Producer of the Year Award

Livestock Update, April 1999

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

Mossy Creek Farm is a multigenerational family farm located in Augusta County at Mt. Solon and named for the spring fed stream that flows thru the main part of the farm. Family members active in the operation include three Virginia Tech graduates, E. M. Reeves (father), Ernie and Rick (sons), with Rick managing 13,000 turkey layers and E.M. and Ernie being involved in the cattle side of the operation.

The cattle operation is divided into four potential profit centers. The 650 head commercial cowherd is utilized for a custom embryo recipient endeavor in addition to producing calves to be utilized in the 2000 head backgrounding operation and then sent to a commercial feedyard in a retained ownership program. The cattle enterprise encompasses 2500 acres in Rockingham and Augusta counties.

The cow herd originally was a straight Shorthorn herd until the 1950's when Angus bulls were introduced. Angus bulls have been part of the genetic input since. In the 1960's Charolais bulls were added, in the 70's Limousin bulls were used and in the 80's Gelbvieh bulls were sampled. Since the mid 1980's a concerted effort has been made to improve consistency and uniformity of calf crop while developing a cow herd that thrived on forage alone with a substantial part of that forage being fescue. Currently, bulls are either Angus or Red/Angus/Tarentaise crosses with most of the bulls generated "in house" utilizing AI and embryo transfer.

Calves are born in February and March and after a pre-weaning health program are weaned in September and October. They then enter a post-weaning backgrounding phase utilizing home grown corn silage and alfalfa haylage. Calves are sized, sorted and co-mingled with purchased calves into uniform lots and sent to commercial lots for finishing when they reach 750-800 pounds. Individual carcass data is collected at harvest and compiled by herd source for future use.

In addition, the cow herd is utilized for a custom embryo recipient endeavor with 648 eggs implanted in 1998 for purebred operations in Virginia and surrounding states.

Mossy Creek Farm personnel have played an active leadership role in both the State of Virginia as well as nationally. Mossy Creek received the Env. Stewardship award from NCBA. Additionally, the Reeves have been active in the Virginia Cattlemen's Association, VA Cattle Industry Board, Virginia BCIA and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

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