Breeding for Success
Parma Ranch. These cows will be raising calves for the first time next year.
At his Parma Ranch, Gill breeds ideal characteristics into their cattle through artificial insemination and heterosis – crossing Hereford mother cows with pure bred Angus bulls and Angus mother cows with pure bred Hereford bulls.
“Those of us in the commercial industry are trying to raise the most efficient animal that we can,” he says. “Take this grass and turn it into delicious protein with minerals that humans can use. So you look at traits like growth rate, pregnancy rates, fertility and more.”
Gill also select characteristics in the breeding process to produce a slightly smaller animal that can handle the steep-faced mountain country on his ranch in Lucille Idaho next to the Salmon River and Hells Canyon. “In our steep rugged country, you don’t want a bunch of 1,600-1,800 pound cows,” he says. “They just can’t survive in that country as well as a 1,100, 1,200 or 1,300 pound cow. So it’s a lot about your environment.”