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Straight Up | January 2023

A conversation with everyday Stockmen,

Chance and Shayne Wiese,

brothers from Manning, Iowa.

About the Stockman.

Chance: “As for myself, I’m currently the fifth generation to be a partner of the Wiese & Sons Hereford operation. I returned to the ranch following graduation from Iowa State University back in the spring of 2015 and have been a part of it ever since. I currently work alongside my younger brother, Shayne, and father, Dave. It takes many helping hands though to make our operation function efficiently with the help of both full-time employees and interns from various colleges across the U.S.”

Shayne: “Chance and I are the fifth generation to raise Hereford cattle and the sixth generation to reside at our ranch in west central Iowa. We have been raising and selling registered Hereford bulls and females since 1912. We are fortunate to work alongside our father, Dave, and have the support from our mother, Diana, and wives, Kelsey and Katie. We have one extra ranch hand, Mike Hull, who is an integral part of our operation and his wife, Amy, and son, Jase, are some of our biggest supporters as well. We strive to raise quality, no-nonsense cattle while being stewards of the land and environment with hopes that the next generation can prosper long after we are gone.”

What about the beef cattle industry excites you the most?

Chance: “It’s hard to pinpoint just one certain thing, but I just look forward to what new technologies that are going to be presented and developed in the next decade to assist us in bettering this industry. We’ve already come so far in terms of genomics, feed efficiency, repro technologies, and other tools that I look forward to one day utilizing these advancements to better our operation for both our customers and the consumers.”

Shayne: “The people involved in it. We love to connect with fellow cattlemen and cattlewomen that are just as passionate about it as us. We have met some great friends and mentors in this business and look forward to meeting many more.”

What is your least favorite job on the farm?

Chance: “Just about anything in a tractor, I enjoy being boots on the ground doing a variety of tasks. Sitting inside a tractor cab at times just gets monotonous for me.”

Shayne: “Fixing water tanks in the winter.”

What is your go-to sorting apparatus?

Chance: “My eyes. Year-round whether it’s out on corn stalks, pasture, or dry lot. Our cattle need to be efficient, easy keeping, phenotypically correct, and look like a Wiese Hereford to stick around this operation. If my eyes are drawn to them for the wrong reasons over and over, odds are they’ll have very short careers here on the ranch.”

Shayne: “Honestly, my brother Chance. We have worked enough cattle together over our lifetime that we have a great system down. We are at a point where we hardly have to talk to each other when we sort or move pastures. I know I can trust him with whatever we are doing together.”

Describe your best or worst day.

Chance: “My best day on the farm is driving through our pastures on a late summer evening and watching cow/calf pairs spread out grazing. Evaluating both operational and genetic progress we’ve made over the past few years. My worst would be sending highly impactful bulls or females to “greener pastures.” I’m not ashamed to say I’ve shed some tears watching some individuals hop off the trailer one last time at our local livestock facilities.”

Shayne: “We love bull turnout around here in early June. Pairs are vaccinated and on grass, AI work is mostly wrapped up, and the bulls can finally earn their keep. It is a beautiful time in Iowa, and it is nice to see breeding decisions start to take shape.”

Your favorite non-farm activity to do in your free time?

Chance: “The few times I break away from the ranch I just enjoy spending time with my wife, Kelsey, either attending Iowa State University athletic events or traveling to visit friends.”

Shayne: “Spending time with friends and family. Obviously, the cattle business is very demanding of our time so any spare moments we have we try to spend it with those we care about. Also, Iowa State Cyclone football, but there’s not much good to talk about with that currently.”

The most important lesson you’ve learned in this business?

Chance: “I like to consider my grandfather Gene Wiese as one of the most influential individuals in my life and he would always try to pass along a wealth of knowledge to my brother and me. One motto that’s always stuck with me was that you must always remain disciplined with your livestock selection and criteria as your reputation is always at stake. “You sell one good bull maybe four to five people will know about it; you sell one bad bull 25 to 30 people will know about it.”

Shayne: “We are not just in the cattle business, but more so the customer service business. Honesty and integrity are more important than any individual sale or revenue generated. We really want our customers to be successful.”

Which animal (any species) has left the greatest impact on you?

Chance: “Currently, it would have to be the bull by the name of Prominent 21G. We purchased this bull in the Delaney/Atkins sale back in 2020. He’s been a very influential bull to our herd genetically and allowed my brother and I to connect with a lot of great seedstock producers throughout the U.S. through semen and progeny sales. Historically though it would have to be the bull by the name of King Ten. He was truly a special individual that was ahead of his time and made a major impact in the Hereford breed. He was the bull that laid the genetic foundation for our herd today as we still have linebred bulls and females roaming our pastures.”

Shayne: “King Ten. For a bull born in 1975, it amazes me how well his genetics have translated to modern trends in the cattle business. Our cow families that trace back to him are some of our best, and we even went back and flushed to him in 2006 and 2008. He produced low-input, long-lasting females and was ahead of his time in terms of marbling genetics. He was one of Grandpa Gene’s favorite bulls that he used during his lifetime.”

Most used tool on your farm and how old is it?

Chance: “One of the tools I enjoy using the most isn’t so much of a tool but a piece of equipment. Our Roto-Mix feed truck, I cannot express how much I enjoy formulating rations with our nutritionist and delivering a perfectly blended feed ration to our sale bull and replacement heifer prospects. To be able to drive by these individuals every day and watch them grow and develop is one of the greatest feelings in the world.”

Shayne: “I know it is rather cliché for someone my age to say this, but my cell phone. Being able to communicate consistently and effectively is a must for us. I think about my grandpa’s generation a lot, and it amazes me how they accomplished so much over time without them.”

Upcoming Sales: by Private Treaty

Since our establishment back in 1912 we’ve conducted all sales by private treaty. We’ve always enjoyed working with new and previous customers on a one-on-one basis. Not only does this allow us to assist them in finding the proper individuals they desire to achieve their production goals, but it establishes lifelong friendships.

Photos courtesy Wiese and Sons

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