EDMONTON — Spending $6,000 on a four-month-old calf was a gamble for Mick and Deb Trefiak that has paid them back many fold.
Owned in partnership with Grant Hirsche of High River, Alta., the yearling bull named GH Adams Nitro Design ET 377X was grand champion at this year’s Western National Hereford show at Farmfair in Edmonton Nov. 5-13.
What makes this youngster significant is Hirsche showed it a few months after the sale at the 2011 National Western Stock Show in Denver, where it scored the unusual victory of winning reserve grand champion, a positive feat for a young, unproven animal from Canada.
“We were pretty excited and pretty surprised,” said Mick, who ranches near Edgerton in east central Alberta.
The next stop for the bull, which spent the summer breeding cows, is Western Canadian Agribition in Regina and then probably back to Denver in January. It may also appear at the World Hereford Conference planned for Olds next July.
The Trefiak family relies on the cattle business to make a living. They keep a cow herd of 400 Hereford and Angus cattle and hold a private production sale each year, where they market 150 bulls from both breeds.
“Our business is selling bulls and keeping the people happy who buy them,” he said.
His father, Mike Trefiak, got into the Hereford business more than 60 years ago, and Mick and Deb bought cows from that herd to start MTJ Herefords when they married.
“He is the reason we have pretty decent cattle,” said Mick.
They added Angus about 20 years ago to offer customers more choice.
The Trefiaks live in a dry region and need cattle that can survive drought conditions. Many of their customers have large herds of more than 500 cows so they need bulls that can work and survive in rough conditions across Western Canada.
“They have to be hardy because we don’t know where they are going to go,” he said.
With two adult children and three grandsons, the couple watches the next generation and hope son Kurt, who is an engineer, and daughter
Kristi, a wedding planner, move closer to home so they can help and raise their families in a rural setting.
The Trefiaks are outstanding young farmer alumni, having won the award in 1991. They are still active and are always looking for potential nominees to keep agriculture youthful.
“There are lots of farmers here who deserve to be in the program,” he said. “Cattle prices and grain prices are going up, so I think that may make a few young fellas come home.”
The Western National Hereford show champions at Edmonton’s Farmfair were:
•Grand champion female: Dorbay Miss Whitney 411W from Bryan Latimer of Olds, Alta.
•Reserve champion female: Harvie OVHF Ms Unique 80W from Harvie Ranching of Olds, Alta.
•Grand champion bull: GH Adams Nitro Design ET 377X from MJT Cattle Company Ltd. of Edgerton, Alta.
•Reserve grand champion bull: Harvie High Roller ET 66X from Harvie Ranching [