Thiers Completes a Decade of Cattle Breeding Expansion – Agweek

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of eight feature stories from Minnesota cattle farms that will be part of the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association’s 2021 Summer Tour and Trade Show, scheduled for July 13. . For more information on the tour, visit


RUSHMORE, Minn. – R&R Thier Feedlots is growing the fourth generation of cattle ranchers while going through a major expansion project on land west of Rushmore.

Owners Ryan Thier and his father, Richard – the R&R on behalf of the farm – today have paddock space for up to 15,000 head of cattle after major expansion efforts over the past decade.

Thier Farm was founded by Ryan’s grandfather, Cyril, who began feeding cattle in the 1920s. Richard, after graduating and a stint in the service, returned to the farm at the end 1950s, and about 40 years later, Ryan joined the operation after completing a two-year degree in farm management and agricultural business.

“Dad and I worked together and I gradually took over,” Ryan said.

A sign points to R&R Thier feedlots west of Rushmore. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)

The feedlot was part of the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Tour in 2010, when visitors saw Thiers’ first 1,500-head capacity single-slope barn (built in 2004) and outdoor lots. Since then, 12 new outdoor pitches with cement bases and mounds, as well as three additional single-slope barns have been constructed. Lots and a 1,500 head slatted containment barn were completed in 2014, and two barns with a capacity of 3,000 head were completed in 2016 and 2018. At that time, the Thiernais also poured floors of concrete on their existing exterior lots.

“We don’t have Mother Nature to cooperate with us in feeding the cattle,” Ryan said, noting that cement lots are less labor intensive and single-slope barns not only provide a buffer against harsh winters, but also welcome sunlight and improve efficiency. in livestock feed.


The illustration shows one of the 3,000 head capacity beef barns that comprise the R&R Thier feedlots near Rushmore. (Julie Buntjer/The Globe)

“We’re trying to get consistent gain and conversion,” Ryan said. “With slatted barns, once the cattle are there, they’re on their home stretch.”

Cattle come in outdoor lots between 300 and 700 pounds and are sourced from producers across the United States. While Holsteins have been the breed of choice, Thiers are converting to native cattle due to better access to markets. Currently, a JBS facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin is their only option for market weight Holsteins.

“Things change every day and we have to adapt to find that niche market,” Ryan said. “The Holstein market has been difficult for the past two years.”


Holstein cattle watch one of the 3,000 head finishing barns at R&R Thier Feedlots. (Julie Buntjer / The Globe)

The Thiers feed a ration of silage, earlage, corn, by-products and supplements, and move their feeders under roof for the last 150-200 days before they reach market weight.

A cargo shed added over the past decade is one of the biggest things Ryan said they could have done.

“It got the biggest feedback – that and our loading site being under the roof,” he said.

R&R Thier Feedlots employs eight to 10 people, on average, who are “a big part of our success,” Ryan said. Thiers’s successors, who are growing in the trade, are also finding ways to help when needed.

Ryan and his wife, Stephanie, have five children — son Ryker, 13; and her daughters Lucy, 12; Stella, 10; Hazelnut, 8 years old; and Wren, 6.

“My great-grandfather bought those 80 acres,” Ryan said of the family farm. “He had 16 children and bought 80 acres for each of them.”

Today, Ryan said the family is trying to use all the tools at their disposal to be successful.

“We try to be efficient,” he said. “I think that’s the name of the game in today’s world.”

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