Beef/Cattle Extension Program
Rancher Profile: Jake Callantine, Timber Line
by Ron Carlstrom, Gallatin County
to run a ranch operation in an ever-increasing
Describe your operation
The ranch is located 23 miles north of Bozeman at the
foot of Flathead Pass in the Bridger Mountains. My grandfather's
brother Felix Callantine homesteaded the ranch in 1882.
The beauty of the valley lured Felix from working the
railroad grade of the Northern Pacific Railroad around
Bozeman. Later my grandfather purchased the ranch from
Felix. I am the fourth generation of Callantines on
this ranch. I live on the ranch with my wife, Jane,
daughters Catherine and Krista and mother, Kay.
Average annual precipitation is 20 inches, with about
five months of snow. We have had very dry weather the
past few years.
In 1963, my father, Chuck, purchased a ranch in the
Bozeman Pass area with four other area ranchers. They
formed the Green Mountain Grazing Association. This
became our principal summer range. The Green Mountain
operation consists of improved pastures, utilizing a
rotational grazing system.
Photo: Jake Callantine feeds
cattle Nov. 17, 2000, on the Green Mountain Grazing
Association's ranch near Jackson Creek Road. Photo
courtesy of Thomas Lee, Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Today we run 230 head of purebred Black Angus mother
cows and sell commercial and registered bulls and heifers.
I start feeding in November and some years need to feed
through April. I feed an average of 3 tons of hay and
straw per cow. Calving season starts in mid-March. With
the late spring we get at 5257 feet, I do not dare to
move our calving season earlier.
I use artificial insemination on two-thirds of the
cows for one heat cycle and synchronize the heifers.
The grazing system at Green Mountain works well for
this breeding program.
I background the heifers and bull calves on the ranch.
Typically selling steer calves and excess heifers in
November. Normal weaning weight for bulls and steers
average 600 pounds. During the past few years our excess
heifers have been sold to commercial cattlemen. My bull
buyers are typically commercial cattlemen and most of
them have been repeat buyers for years.
How does your ranch differ from others in your area?
On this ranch we have a gravity flow irrigation system
that was designed in 1975. This system helps me produce
more tons of hay per acre. Costs for the system are
relatively low with no costs for fuel or electricity.
The ranch usually receives 20 inches of precipitation
each year, but quite a bit of that comes in the form
of snow. This irrigation system allows me a good second
cutting and enough re-growth for fall grazing.
I keep individual cow production records and started
with the Angus Herd Improvement in 1995. I collect carcass
data when possible; this is sometimes difficult as calves
are sold in November.
For the last two seasons we have put up the bulk of
our hay production in the form of haylage.
What has been the most effective management
strategy in recent times?
Introduction of the haylage operation has allowed me
to put up more and better hay. The system I use wraps
round bales end to end with plastic wrap. The hay is
put up at 55% moisture. This process has improved hay
With the introduction of the haylage operation, I have
shifted from combining grains to putting them up as
haylage. The greatest drawback to grain hay is the chance
of high levels of nitrates. The haylage ensiling process
is supposed to lower the nitrate levels in grain hay.
I am working with Dr. Paul Vendrell of the University
of Georgia and our local Extension agent on a study
to determine if nitrates are reduced using the haylage
So far we have not had elk get into the wrapped haylage
like they do when we were putting up dry hay. Hopefully
this will continue to work.
What is your biggest challenge?
Trying to run a ranch operation in an ever-increasing
urban environment. We have people knocking on our door
ten months a year. We have the fall hunting season,
spring bear season and summer recreation enthusiasts.
While we strive to share this beautiful area with all
who ask, the increase in traffic takes its toll.
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