The Fertile Gelbvieh Female
We strive to produce Gelbvieh females that are fertile and moderately framed with excellent teat and udder structure.
We believe that fertility is one of the most important traits for commercial producers. An open cow does not raise a calf and therefore provides no financial return. Fertility is the lowest heritable trait and is impacted by many environmental factors. With this in mind, it is difficult to breed fertility into your herd, so it makes sense to use a breed that excels in fertility to start with.
A recent article about heterosis by Jaime Pullman in Working Ranch magazine said, "Heterosis gets a little tricky when you start looking at individual traits because the amount of heterosis exhibited for a particular trait is inversely related to the heritability of that trait. Reproductive traits tend to be low in heritability but show greater heterosis, while carcass traits are highly heritable but exhibit low heterosis." In other words, reproductive traits, such as fertility, will be expressed more than carcass traits in a cross breeding program.
After nearly 30 years of experience with Gelbviehs, we believe that fertility is one of the biggest strengths of the Gelbvieh female. In fact, according to the United States Meat Animal Research Center, Gelbviehs reach puberty at 329 days of age, on average. This is the earliest age at puberty amongst the most heavily used breeds in the United States. In addition, the Gelbvieh breed has the lowest birthweight of the four major Continental breeds.
Judd Ranch females excel in fertility. Our cows are expected to get bred on schedule, calve in a 45-day window, and raise a stout calf. All of our cows are artificially inseminated (AI) for just one cycle. After that, our herd sires are turned out as clean up. About 80% of the cows are settled AI, with the remainder bred naturally.
We feel that, in our part of the country, cows have to thrive in both extremes when it comes to the weather. Summers are extremely hot and humid, and our winters can be harsh with a lot of moisture. On average, our area has about 111 days below freezing each year, and we average 38 inches of precipitation. Our cattle thrive and breed well in all parts of the country. Gelbviehs are known for their heat tolerance, which we think helps them hold pregnancies.
Jim Miller, a long time customer, says that, even in drought conditions, he gets conception rates of 97% on his Gelbvieh, Red Angus cross cows at his ranch in New Mexico.
Our Gelbvieh females do more than get bred and raise a calf. They raise calves that are thick, deep-bodied, and add pounds at weaning. Last year, we weaned bull calves that averaged 58% of the cows' weight. That, perhaps, is the most impressive thing about our Gelbvieh females: their ability to get bred easily AND produce more pounds at weaning time AND do this year after year. Click here to view statistics on the 2012 sale bulls.