Judd Ranch

The Fertile Gelbvieh Female

Judd Ranch strives to produce Gelbvieh females that are fertile and moderately framed with excellent teat and udder structure.

Fertility is the most important trait for cattle producers.  An open cow does not raise a calf and produces 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.

An 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.


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 of puberty amongst the most heavily used breeds in the United States. In addition, Gelbvieh has the lowest birthweight of the four major continental breeds.

Judd Ranch females excel in fertility. The cows are expected to get bred on schedule, calve in a 45-day window, and raise a stout calf. All Judd Ranch cows are artificially inseminated (AI) for just one cycle. After that, Judd Ranch herd sires are turned out as clean up. About 80% of the cows are settled AI, with the remainder bred naturally. Judd Ranch cows thrive in both extremes when it comes to weather and pasture conditions, and consequently, Judd Ranch cattle can be found all across the country.

Annually, Judd Ranch bulls sell into about 20 or more different states and Canada. Notably, Gelbviehs are known for heat tolerance, which 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.

Judd Ranch 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, Judd Ranch weaned bull calves averaged 58% of the cows' weight. That, perhaps, is the most impressive thing about Judd Ranch Gelbvieh females: their ability to get bred easily AND produce more pounds at weaning AND do this year after year.

The Gelbvieh Difference

Early on, Judd Ranch chose Gelbvieh because of data from the United States Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) that showed:

  • Gelbvieh produces more pounds of weaned calf per cow than any other widely used breed.
  • Gelbvieh is the only breed that excels in calving ease, weaning growth, yearling growth, milk yield, and retail yield combined.
  • Gelbvieh are known for their heat tolerance and maternal qualities, such as fertility and milk.

Over 35 years later, Gelbvieh cattle still possess those qualities and data from USMARC shows the Gelbvieh breed has reduced mature cow size, has the lowest birth weight of the 4 main continental breeds, and the earliest age at puberty. USMARC data also shows the Gelbvieh breed has the highest retail yield of the most widely used breeds. Additionally, a study conducted by the Colorado State University Research Foundation found Gelbvieh-sired calves to have a 16-pound advantage in weaning weight when compared to other heavily used breeds.

Judd Ranch Gelbvieh bulls and females are the complete package for commercial producers. This includes cows that breed easily (see our "females" page) and calves that efficiently perform.  Judd Ranch customers consistently say they gain 75-100 pounds at weaning time when using Judd Ranch genetics.

The Proof

Here are a few statistics from our 2018 bull sale offering:

Fall Bulls Spring Bulls

BW Avg. = 80 lbs.

BW Avg. = 79 lbs.

205 Avg. wt. = 737 lbs.

205 Avg. wt. = 702 lbs.

WW Avg. = 930 lbs.

WW Avg. = 784 lbs.

YW Avg. = 1196 lbs.

YW Avg. = 1174 lbs.

Yrlg. SCR Avg. = 38.9 cm

Yrlg. SCR Avg. = 39.2 cm

ADG = 4.79

ADG = 3.65

Yrlg. REA = 14.3

Yrlg. REA =14.0

Weaned 58% of cow wt.

Weaned 58% of cow wt.

Yrlg. frame = 5.5

Yrlg. frame = 5.6

Yrlg. back fat = .21

Yrlg. back fat = .28




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