On the Farm At Caroland Farms…… is a new feature with Farm Manager Matt Rainey to find out what’s going on with the leading Wagyu farm and distributor in the Carolinas.
Matt, what’s going on during the winter months at Caroland Farms? What’s going on at the farm during these winter months?
Well, we are fixin’ to start breeding and the embryologist comes in February. We are doing a lot of breeding planning. One group just finished calving 2-3 weeks ago and we are breeding in February. We’ve reached out to our farm’s mentor in Ontario, Canada Wagyu Sekkai to purchase semen from them as we look toward our upcoming breeding cycle. We will be sitting down to schedule our Full-blooded AI and our Angus crosses to put embryos in. We will get all the cattle together and continue to prove our genetics through intentional and methodical breeding so we can protect the genetic line and ensure that we are producing the highest quality, full-blood Wagyu.
It sounds like a fertility clinic?
It’s very similar to humans from the aspect of insemination, embryo development and the gestation period. We have to start synchronizing the embryos for the surrogate moms and then in three to four weeks, the embryologist comes. We sync all the donor cows and surrogates so they are on these ovarian/heat cycle so embryo transfer is timed to a certain day. We actually take the calendar from the date the embryologist comes and work backward.
How does that work?
Donors will be seven days into their cycle and the surrogates work three weeks then the embryologist comes and we flush the donor cows and take all the embryos out of them. He will take the embryos out and look at them under a microscope and grade and sort them, then put them in the straw and we will go back and shoot and check all the donor cows and see which ones have ovulated.
We will have about 40 surrogates synchronizing for transfer and out of those we will get 30-35 that have ovulated and capable of accepting embryos. We take the fresh embryos he takes out and put in and then freeze any extras. So much of this is about percentages. The embryos are graded 1-4 based on the eye test. One is the best. We freeze 1-2’s. If we do all fresh we will get 70% taken. Freezing and unthawing affect embryos.
What is the outlook for live births?
We check the cows at 5-6 months pregnant and evaluate which ones to take. Between the two cycles in February and March, we expect 80 full-bloods to form the embryo transfer.
What else are you doing on the farm during the winter months?
We are serving and performing maintenance on a lot of our equipment now for the summer months because we need to be ready to roll. We have mechanic servicing hay equipment, the corn planter and other pieces of equipment so we are ready for Spring and Summer.
When do you sit down with owners Bob Jordan and Jay Alexander to lo0k at the year ahead?
During the next month, we will meet and go over our goals for the year. We will look at marketing, financials, investments in land, cattle, equipment, fencing and form a game plan for the farm and company. Once Spring hits there’s no lookin’ back. We start cutting hay in spring and planting corn. 60% of the time in the spring is spent harvesting and planting. A typical day in the summer takes the first two hours in feeding the cattle as opposed to four hours in the winter. We will be fertilizing, spraying, cutting, bailing and putting hay in the barn.
We are also talking to several restaurants about supplying them with Wagyu to serve on their menus so there’s a lot going on even though it’s the winter months.
Matt Rainey is the Farm Manager for Caroland Farms the largest full-blood, Wagyu farm and supplier in the Carolinas. You can contact Matt about buying semen, embryos, beef and more.
For more information contact:
Matt Rainey, Caroland Farms Manager