Susan Gladstone Tucker from Gladcrest Farms recalls fondly March 3, 2012 - the day she bought her first Judd Ranch bull after years of evaluating Judd catalogs and looking for the perfect herd bull candidate.
"Our first Judd Ranch bull was No. 110, a son of JRI Top Recruit and out of JRI Ms Hot Topic, but our journey with Judd Ranch began in 2009 - three years before we ever got the 'sold' gavel from the auctioneer," she explains. "Every year, starting in 2009 we would wait with anticipation for our Judd Ranch catalog, poring over every bull, developing spreadsheets on their EPDs and prioritizing our picks. We would sit through the sale, jotting down sale prices, lusting over our picks and how a Judd Ranch bull would improve our herd genetics and improve our bottom line."
"Sometimes one can become too immersed in the details, trying to make the perfect decision, buy the perfect fit. That was what happened to us. If anyone could be over prepared for a sale, it was us. If anyone could have over thought a decision, it was us."
Susan recalls being prepared for the 2012 bull sale with spreadsheets printed and bulls prioritized, EPDs noted and financial limits established. "We were prepared," she explains. "We were sitting in the front row, bidder number 451 in hand, ready to execute our plan."
As the auction continued and fall yearling Balancer bulls were run through the ring, in came JRI Resource 270X28K. "My card went up and the sold gavel went down," she recalls. "My husband, who had spent days working on the analysis, turned to me and said, 'why did you buy him, he wasn't on the list?' to which I replied, 'he looked at me and any Judd Ranch bull is better than the bulls we have.'"
That first bull in 2012 has now led to the entire Gladcrest Farms bull battery being 100% Judd Ranch genetics in 2018. Gladcrest is a Missouri Century Farm located in Northwest Missouri. Established in 1848 by a land grant to Warner Walker for his service in the Mexican-American war, it has remained in the family and is currently operated as a cow calf and row crop operation. The family has around 100 breeding cows focused on Balancer genetics. The herd is primarily a spring calving operation and they sell their calf crop in January/February as weaned "gold tagged" calves.
The steer calves are marketed each year at the Clarinda Livestock Auction. Susan says annually they either top the market or are close to topping the market. "The auctioneer always announces the group is sired by Judd Ranch bulls along with being weaned and vaccinated," she explains. "And with that combination, buyers are willing to pay a premium. Buyers know Judd Ranch sired calves will perform."
Since their initial purchase in 2012, to 100% Judd Ranch bulls in 2018, Susan says they have had the following impact (see table below) on steers sold (heifers were deleted due to significant numbers retained):
- Average birth weight has remained consistent in the 81-83 pound range.
- Average weaning weight has increased from 426 lbs. in 2013 to 679 lbs. in 2018.
- Average adjusted 205 day weight has increased from 504 lbs. in 2013 to 646 lbs. in 2018.
- Average sale weight has increased from 600 lbs. in 2012 to 800 lbs. in 2018.
|Year||Judd Ranch Bulls||Total Herd Bulls|| |
% Judd Ranch
|Total Steers Sold||Avg. Birth Wt.||Avg. Sale Wt.||Weaning Wt.||Adj. 205 Wt.|
Along with the steer calves, Susan says Judd Ranch sired females are excellent. "We retain about 15 to 20 females per year," she says. "When we started using Judd Ranch bulls you could easily tell which ones were sired by them."
When selecting bulls, the Tuckers focus on maternal traits with the goal of building a herd based on Judd Ranch genetics. She says they have found the females sired by Judd Ranch bulls have performed beyond their expectations.
"Not that I would recommend buying a bull just because he 'looked at you,' but the realization that any and every Judd Ranch bull was a top notch bull took us to a new level in our herd genetics and resulting pounds to market," Susan says. "We now run 100% Judd Ranch bulls, and the pounds to market has been proof of the Judd Ranch bulls being a top flight product."