Operating on over 120,000 acres in and around the Bear Paw Mountain range in North Central Montana, the ranch is home to over 3,500 head of mother cows.
The IX Ranch Company located in Big Sandy, Montana is seeking students from agricultural universities who are interested in learning what it takes to operate a successful cow-calf operation in the 21st Century. This ranch, unlike many others of this size, operates solely on the income generated by the cattle. Using technology and support from our universities and industry partners has allowed the ranch to be profitable even in today's volatile livestock industry.
Internship Dates are flexible around college curriculum
Spring: March - May
During this time of year, calving is the main activity. Interns participate in all aspects of the calving process. The ranch calves over 450 head of 2-year old heifers, 500 head of 3-year olds, and 2,550 head of old cows.
Duties: Vaccination, record keeping, herd health and management, operation of heavy equipment, feeding hay, cleaning stalls, riding horseback, night calving, processing calves, branding, irrigation, horse shoeing, and fencing.
Summer: June - August
Summer time activities focus on forage preparation and harvest. The ranch puts up over 7,000 tons of alfalfa, grass and straw each year. Livestock are moved throughout the summer to different pastures around the ranch. The ranch does not currently artificially inseminate, so all breeding is done by natural service. Young bulls are put out with yearling heifers the middle of May. Older bulls are placed with 3 year old and older cows in the middle of June.
Duties: Irrigation, fencing, weed management, rodent management, moving cattle, , bull placement, operation of hay equipment (tractors, balers, swathers), stock water maintenance & development, horse shoeing, and working colts.
Fall: September - November
In preparation for calf weaning, shipping and pregnancy testing, time is spent on horseback. Cow/calf pairs by this time have been sorted by sex and are being moved closer to the ranch's shipping point. Steer calves are sold off the cow. All heifer calves are either weaned on the ranch or shipped to a feedlot. Animal health during these months is the ranch's number one priority. Steer calves are weaned in September and shipped off the ranch in October.
Duties: Horseback riding, roping, herd health and management, corral work, horse shoeing, breaking colts, operation of heavy equipment (tractors, hay processors, feed trucks), fencing, irrigation ditch repair and maintenance.
Winter: December - February
Feeding livestock and preparing bred cows for calving are the main activities during this time of year. Bred cows are spread around the ranch based on availability of feed. Heifer calves are fed a ration similar to that in a feedlot setting. The goal is to assist these calves in reaching an appropriate breeding weight. These calves are monitored daily to avoid sickness. On January 1st all other ranch livestock is fed daily.
Duties: Horseback riding, herd health and management, carpentry work, welding, operation of heavy equipment (tractors, hay processors, feed trucks), equipment maintenance.