Sun Country Ranch is nestled in the southeast corner of Manitoba. It is home to Quinn and Stephan Schubert, as well as their twin seven-year-old daughters. The ranch was established in 2010 and has since expanded to include 300 head of Black Angus/Simmental crossbred cattle, 1,440 acres of property, and an additional equivalent in rented land. Most of the farm is covered in pasture land and hayfields while a selected few fields have recently been turned to corn and oats.
The Schubert family began expanding their family farm eight years ago. They were looking into ways of producing better calves, improving herd health, and increasing on-farm productivity. The Schubert’s identified some of the challenges they encountered at their home quarter, including a concentration of built up manure along an overwintering site; seasonal flooding of winter/spring pasture near drains; and the onset of Joni’s disease, which occurs when cattle are allowed to calve in the same area they are overwintered.
In 2015, the Schubert’s approached the Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) with a plan for overcoming the challenges they found on their farm. The resulting partnership was established to move the cattle to a better location. A dry overwintering site was selected up on a ridge away from the flood-prone pasture and the spring gorge drain. The manure produced by the cattle could also be naturally spread out at this site and used to fertilize the corn crops envisioned for this parcel. This option also prevents the manure from washing downstream and contributing to algal blooms in Lake Winnipeg. The Schubert family drilled a well and fenced off their entire home quarter at their own expense. The well provides a reliable water source to the cattle at the new overwintering site. The SRRCD entered into a cost-share partnership to fund a solar and wind powered watering system for providing the cattle with fresh, clean water all winter long.
The Schubert family has since become an important supporter of the SRRCD. They have gone on to partner with the district on three more livestock management projects. The Schubert’s have been keen on helping their friends and neighbours optimize their individual watering systems. They have also given the SRRCD valuable recommendations on how to make these systems work to their full potential.
Quinn and Stephan Schubert are leaders in their community. They are showing how environmentally responsible practices can improve herd health, increase on-farm productivity, and become more profitable by improving calf weights with access to clean drinking water. The Schubert’s are always looking for ways to partner with the SRRCD and Manitoba Agriculture on new projects at their ranch.
The SRRCD recognizes Quinn and Stephan Schubert as this year’s Manitoba Conservation Districts Association CD Award Winner for exemplifying sustainable on-farm best management practices in their community, and for their outstanding commitment to the health of our watershed.