PERFORMANCE PREDICTABLE GENETICS INDUSTRY DIRECTION
It’s no wonder that the Oram family of Central Butte, Saskatchewan are well known for their 60 years of farming with 50 years of raising purebred Charolais cattle. Appreciate the focus and drive of Reg and Betty Oram who moved back to the area in 1960 to farm and give their eight children that sense of pride that comes with hard work. Reg was a builder by nature. Along with farming, he helped build the local hospital, a private home and also worked on building the east side of Gardiner Dam to create Lake Diefenbaker. Reg had a vision of irrigating the crop and hayland from the lake and pushed to develop the Grainland Irrigation District which started up in the late 70’s. Betty coined the name “Valley’s End Ranch” as the farm is a mile from the end of the dam where the South Saskatchewan River continues into the Qu’Appelle Valley.
The first Charolais sired calves were selected as 4-H prospects in 1966 from a neighbor, Wendel Schinold. Wendel had been cross-breeding with Charolais bulls and ran his herd with a strong emphasis on performance. Edgar Philpott, a successful cattleman in the Shorthorn breed, was the Oram’s 4-H beef leader. He saw the tremendous performance of the Charolais breed and teamed-up with Murray Oram (the oldest son of Reg & Betty) to begin a joint purebred family business that lasted over thirty years. Edgar and Murray purchased purebred Charolais females, pick of the calf crop over three consecutive years, from George and Ruby Norris of Rush, Colorado. These were performance cattle, fertile, maternal and also polled, a dominant trait over horned-headed cattle. As of 2019, one of the cow families goes back to an original Colorado cow. Other early purchases to form the herd came from reputable Charolais breeders throughout Canada. Edgar Philpott’s herd prefix was “Butte Lee” with tattoo letters EXP. The Valley’s End herd prefix is “Val-End” with tattoo letters END.
Murray Oram and his uncle Sid Bryan went to France in the early 70’s to select two Charolais females: Eclipse and Erica. Eclipse and her calf were later sold in a sale in Calgary for $24,000.00 which enabled Murray to purchase five quarters of native pasture across from his home place.
The sale of Val-End Commander 55L to Ken and Avril Evans of Pen-Y-Parc Charolais in Wales marked the first homozygous polled Charolais bull in that country. Commander was then sold to a herd in South Africa. That bull walked on three continents. Additional live cattle were exported to purebred Charolais breeders in Britain and Sweden. Semen exports from Val-End Tradition 74T were sold worldwide. Butte Lee Designer 62D had to be a herd favorite as his bull calves topped the sale each year.
The cattle operation always involved family and visitors touring the herd. Murray, Chris, Kathy, Judy, Kim, Kerry, Mark and Shane and their families gathered to help out with the cattle. Murray and Chris have passed on. Kathy (Oram) Martin and Ken Piller, Piller Farms, raise purebred Simmental and Angus and background their own commercial calves until spring. Judy (Oram) MacMillan and Ian MacMillan, Aspendale Farms, raise commercial Char-cross cattle. Kim (Oram) Harder managed the Valley’s End herd before starting her own Charolais herd with Don Harder, Harder Farms, prefix HFCC. They have since dispersed but their cattle can be found in many herds. Kerry and Dianne Oram have an irrigated and dryland grain farm. Shane and Doris Oram own and operate an abbatoir.
Mark and Deb and family have managed the Valley’s End herd for 35 years. Mark served on the Saskatchewan Charolais Association for ten years; six as secretary/treasurer and on the Canadian Charolais Association as a director. Valley’s End Ranch was awarded Breeder of the Year by the Saskatchewan Charolais Association in 1999. Reg and Betty, as well as Mark and Deb received the Honor Scroll from the Saskatchewan Charolais Association.
The Oram’s showed and participated in sales around the province. The Oram and Philpott Annual Charolais Bull Sale was held in Moose Jaw for over twenty years. Today, the group of select yearling Charolais bulls are sold off the farm to many repeat commercial and purebred breeders.
The Oram kids were involved in 4-H Beef and Horse and in the Canadian Charolais Youth Conference and Shows (CCYA) as participants, organizing committees and National board of directors. Their Charolais heifer, cow/calf and Char-cross steer projects represented the Valley’s End herd at local, regional and provincial shows. Eye-appealing cattle packed with punch! Many friendships grew from sharing the common interest of raising cattle.
Fast-forward fifty years from the first Charolais at Valley’s End to now and find very similar goals, selection criteria and direction for the herd. The cow families shine with fertility and longevity. The herdsires are the type our customers look for in the bull calves they choose.
CONSISTENCY QUALITY SELECTIVE GENETICS