Welcome to Tanner Farms.

We have been in the commercial cattle business all of our adult lives and had begun to use Angus bulls to improve the quality of our calf crop. Being so pleased with our first Angus pair we began to invest more heavily in high-quality genetics to produce a better product and began to look for a place to expand our cattle operation...Read More

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Alfalfa in the South?

July 18, 2016

Fourth of July weekend, we were riding about the farm and I asked Dad to see the alfalfa field. We turned a corner and past two large cedar trees, there opened up a great hidden hill covered in these soft little green plants with purple stocks.

In order to offer our Angus cattle a high protein and nutritionally dense ration, we’ve often turned to Alfalfa to be a main staple of their dinner plate. In years past, we’ve bought Alfalfa from Illinois and trucked it in. Two years ago, our local seed distributor encouraged us to try a new variety of Alfalfa called Alfagraze.


We tried it out last year and were very happy with our results.  Alfalfa is totally different than grasses we normally bale. It has a very interesting look. It is actually a little bush with leaves on it instead of a blade of grass with a seed head. When it blooms purple, its time to harvest. Alfalfa is cut and allowed to dry but must be baled while its damp or else the leaves fall off. We have baled it at night or late evening just after the dew has fallen. Getting the “cure” correct on the Alfafa determines your protein content.  It normally is baled into square bales but we didn’t have a square baler. We used our round baler and it has worked just fine. So, if you are looking for an alternative staple, you might consider this for your own farm.


We are hoping to get four cuttings this year. If you had adequate water, you could cut alfalfa once a month or every twenty eight days. Dad was able to revive an old sprayer and has begun to water this field. Hopefully, it will have a better yield after it receives sufficient water. We collected samples and sent them to Midwest Labs for testing and found our protein content to be around 18%-19%. We were pleased with this as normal national averages for midwestern Alfalfa growers is no more than 25%. It sure beats the pants off of our regular hay which averages about 8%. Even though Alfalfa is a high protein food source, take caution as too much can give your stock scours.

The Alfagraze that we planted will be perennial for about five years. After that time period, your stand of forage will begin to diminish until about the five year mark when it will need to be replanted. To keep your field in full standing, plan to replant about every five years.


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Tanner Black Arrow 5407

June 13, 2016


Here is one of our up and coming bulls that will be available for purchase October 29 at our Pasture Performance Angus Bull Sale! He is 17 months old at the time of this photo and a strapping young man for sure! He is a grandson of Sitz Upward and the son of Whitestone Black Arrow. Black Arrow is one of our herd sires and the highest selling bull ever sold at Whitestone Farms in Virginia.


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No Pivot? Use Flood Irrigation

June 7, 2016

As Summer begins and Spring wanes, our once plentiful rains have subsided. We are left with dry ground and a struggling crop of corn. We have had such drought in the past that you would be able to stick your hand into the cracks of the ground. This prarie clay can get seriously dry.



We have had trouble with corn in the past,  either too much rain or not enough. Since we have invested in the seed and fertilizer, Dad decided we had to devise a way to irrigate. We looked at a pivot and they are really nice machines. Flipping a switch for water is an ideal situation.  However, that setup also comes with a nice price tag. Leave it to an engineer and a bulldozer to design a system that gets the job done. We are employing the use of flood irrigation.

water spewing out

People for eons of time have been using flood irrigation to irrigate crops. We know they were used in ancient times as people settled along the Nile River and used these ancient techniques to get water to their crops. The alliance for water efficiency defines flood irrigation as “Very simply, water is delivered to the field by ditch, pipe, or or some other means and simply flows over the ground through the crop.”

This is exactly what we use at Tanner Farms. In the fall of 2011, we dug a feeder pond in the back fields and waited for it to fill.  The Spring of 2012, they began working on laying pipe and getting enough water pressure for it to work.


Our Feeder pond

Now, our crew are pros. We have learned a lot during our experiment and now have it down to a science.  Here are some photos of Gary, Tim, Reuben and Marcos and the guys as they assemble the pipes and get everything ready to flow.


It isn’t necessarily beautiful but it is simple and effective. Well, the guys may not agree that it is simple. It is laborious, hot, back-breaking work but it will save the corn and our investment in it. It’s a good thing our team doesn’t shy away from the tough jobs. It is important to note, we have been fortunate that for the last two years the Lord has blessed us with adequate rainfall and we have had no need to water.

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December 4, 2015

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