CGND | Our Pasture View – September 2022

Maria Bichler

Maria Bichler is a wife, young mother of three and owner of Bichler Simmentals in Linton, N.D. She works from home as a journalist alongside her husband, Doug, as they manage their family’s 100-year-old farm and ranching operation.

Our bulls can have their cake and eat it too.


Ideally, the 18-month-old bulls we are raising would have spent their days roaming an open pasture, grazing to their content and helping us manage the land. However, due to less pasture available this year, these bulls have been home all summer.


They still eat to their content. We offer free-choice hay which they have access to around the clock. But, we also deliver cake to them in a feed bunk once every day.


Cake is a formulated feed shaped in a large cylinder. The feed is a precise ratio of protein, energy, vitamins and minerals; a well-rounded diet compacted into a handy log called cake.


We thought we’d try this feeding method for the summer. We thought entering the bull pen and feeding them by hand every day would result in the bulls being more comfortable around us. We were correct.


Almost every day, our 5-year-old and 3-year-old daughters ride in the side-by-side with Doug to cake the bulls. Our daughters walk up and down the feed bunks, petting bulls and pointing out their favorites. Many a bull has been declared to be in the youngest’s possession. And, many a time has an oversized tongue come in contact with a little girl.


You see, when farmers and ranchers are up against a problem – radically inflated input costs, not enough land, a bad crop yield, sick livestock, low profit margins – those are the times producers may very well shine the most; problem-solving and crafting a solution from a setback is a character trait you often find in the agriculture industry.


It just goes to show that you can have your cake and eat it too.

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