Minnesota Buffalo Association
Creating a Progressive RUMBLE in the Bison Industry

May 2017: Big Creek Bison

Eleva and Baldwin Wisconsin

Steve, Diane, Jeff, Jeremy and Ava Allemann

big-creek-bisonBig Creek Bison dates back to the summer of 1987 when Steve and Diane Allemann purchased their first 25 bison from Richard Sarazin out of Onalaska, WI. The 25 calves were a mix of bulls and heifers mainly purchased as a hobby.  That quickly changed as additional cows were purchased and a breeding herd was established.  Meat was also sold up until about 5 years ago when the business was switched over to an exclusive cow/calf operation. Over the 30-year period breeding stock has been purchased from various private treaty sales and auctions including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Denver.

Steve and Diane have recently retired and sons Jeff and Jeremy Allemann now manage the ranch.  A new name has been created called Double J Bison, LLC.  We   recently expanded our operation with the addition of 565 acres of leased pasture in Baldwin, WI. We are custom grazing 342 yearling bulls on that property for Northstar Bison.  We have 2 ranches in Eleva, WI with roughly 30 cows in each herd along with our replacement heifers and breeding bulls.  That consists of about 120 acres of pasture and we have an additional 120 acres of hay ground.  The rest of the hay that we need is purchased. 

Our operation is 100 percent grass fed with no grain fed at any stage throughout the animal's life.  This works out well for us because we have a great relationship with Northstar Bison where we sell the majority of our animals. They are also only 1 hour north of us so the animals have minimal stress when transporting them from our property to theirs.  Throughout the years, we have bred for animals that gain well on grass/hay only diets and keep great flesh throughout the year with exceptional conception rates.  Our conception rates are always in the mid 90’s-100 percent.  This year nearly 40 percent of our 54 cows will calve before May 1st. We are very happy with the progress we have made over the years without feeding grain or flushing. When prices were low we culled very hard to only keep back cows that fit our criteria.   We keep our best heifer calves back each year for replacements so we don't purchase very many females anymore.  We do buy exceptional bulls from various ranches throughout the U.S. and Canada to enhance our bloodlines.

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Ava with 2016 bottle fed calf

Custom grazing for Northstar Bison at our Baldwin, WI location is something very new to us but we are enjoying it.  It’s just larger scale than what we have been accustomed to but the same practices are applied. We will have this herd of bulls until the fall/winter of 2018 then we will receive a new group of 2018 calves.

We practice intensive rotational grazing where we rotate our animals from paddock to paddock often and then allow the grass to grow back and rest.  In the winter we will choose paddocks that need more manure and organic material and feed hay on the entire paddock until it has good coverage.  This improves soil quality, water retention and grass production the following year.  We also have much less manure to haul the following summer which frees up time and money.

We plan to continue to grow our herd with the acquisition of more land for pasture.  We would like to get to about 150 cows. Until then we will just continue to improve our current pastures and bison genetics. We have come along way over the 30 years but there is always room for improvement. We feel very fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful industry raising such a magnificent animal.

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