Donated by Knutson Shorthorns
Zach Knutson, Brooke Calaway and family of Zumbrota, Minn., on behalf of the Minnesota Shorthorn Association
Knutson Shorthorns is operated by Zach Knutson and Brooke Calaway, along with assistance from Zach’s parents, Keith and Kris, near Zumbrota, Minn. Zach and Brooke have been active participants in the annual ‘Supreme Row’ sale over the past couple years, which inspired them to give back via the MYBEP program. Zach started raising Shorthorns in 2011 with the purchase of a couple bred heifers at the MN Shorthorn Sale in Cannon Falls. In 2014, he was unanimously selected as the All-American Junior Breeder by the American Shorthorn Association (ASA) and he was the Australian Ambassador for the ASA in 2016. Through this program, he spent 6 months traveling across Australia, working and learning from a wide range of shorthorn breeders. In total, he stayed on 36 ranches/stations, and he worked on over 60 farms riding along with ultrasound technicians scanning bulls. He brought the lessons learned back to the farm, and he has made substantial changes to the operation since then.
Today, the herd consists of 30 registered shorthorn cows and a small flock of Katahdin sheep. Heavy emphasis is placed on consistent annual calving intervals, no calving assistance, and selecting cattle that thrive without any grain or silage supplements. Cattle are rotationally grazed with paddocks moved multiple times each week and a target of 60 day rest periods before returning to the paddock. This requires cattle that can thrive on lower quality forage, but in exchange it provides significantly more resilience against drought. Heifers are primarily marketed as bred, with a few select heifers offered as show prospects. Bulls are marketed off the farm as long-yearlings in the fall, and 2-years old in the spring. Zach and Brooke are excited to work with a MYBEP recipient to share their experiences and encourage a beginning farmer.