Woodside Land & Cattle is a 4th generation farm in Pleasantville, Iowa. We have always been a combination row-crop and cattle operation. Cattle are the main focus. It all started with a group of dairy cattle, mostly milking shorthorns. Then my grandpa Chuck decided to breed them Angus progressing to the beef side. He wanted beef cattle that didn’t have horns or calving issues, but that also retain the milking abilities of the shorthorns. Over time the shorthorn was bred out and he had a commercial herd of primarily Angus cross cows.
In 1977 my dad, William, did an FFA project looking for something that could improve upon the issues that had come with the Angus of that time. Quite plainly, they were too small and squatty. They also didn’t have the growth that was expected. He couldn't talk my grandpa into it, so he bought grandpa a cream and white Simmental bull to prove he was right. Those calves hit the ground and grew like weeds. From that point on the cattle here have always had some Simmental in them.
In the early 90s my dad had pretty much eliminated anything that wasn’t an unregistered purebred Simmental. Most of the cattle being Fleckvieh. Chuck (in his 70’s) decided to retire from cattle and let William take over completely. He also was frequenting purebred Simmental sales picking up papered cows to add to the herd. That way I had something to show and breed. This is also when we started using AI to breed most of our cattle. This got us into the new millennium.
We now essentially have 2 herds of cattle, Registered mostly blacks and unregistered Fleckviehs. We made the decision to liquidate the older Fleckvieh cattle in order to go with the new Simmental ones. By this point I was about 10 and my dad was letting me make most of the semen purchase and breeding decisions because, as Larry Martin put it, “Jeff is a walking encyclopedia of the Simmental breed.” We started using data as well as epds to improve upon the herd every year, and in 2007 we were listed in the Register as one of the top 10 most complete herds for epds from calving to yearling and maternals. Then in 2008 an unforeseen incident required a liquidation of the entire herd.
Rebuilding from scratch is never easy. We started buying back cows here and there. We bought some commercial cows and calved them out. We realized the fastest and most efficient way to produce quality stock was through the use of embryo transplant. Through a stroke of luck or good timing we picked up a group of Hereford cows at a pretty significant discount. With the purchase of embryos from the heart of many good programs such as, Sloup Simmentals and Roger Allen, we started this new and exciting chapter.
We now have an entire herd of recips, a herd of registered cows, and a handful of donor cows or donors in process. We have been to many venues like the Iowa state fair and the Kansas City royal and done quite well. We have been selling calves at the Iowa beef expo and privately. Through rigorous selection for pedigree, performance, and phenotype we are making improvements every day. More excitingly we are hoping to put on our own production sale in the next few years. We never could have gotten here without help and support from our family and friends.
GENETICS DON’T LIE