A Young Producer’s Perspective by Morgan Winchester

Growing up in the center of cow-calf country, I have gained respect and understanding for cattle breeders and for the amount of time and the work put into each calving season. I’m also reminded that I am thankful for the Gelbvieh breed because I have learned the importance of raising the right breed fit for the environment. Choosing the right breed for an operation will help make your herd best for the goals and purposes you set for your operation.

I have grown up on our family’s farm that was started by my great-grandpa and has been passed down to family members since then. My uncle currently runs the farm with the help of my younger brother and cousin. We now run around 200 head of registered and commercial Gelbvieh and Balancer® cattle. It is a family farm where we all contribute to helping out any way we can, not only do we raise cattle but each of the grandkids show at both national and local fairs. All my life I’ve grown up around Gelbvieh cattle and have learned the ins and outs of the breed from the cow-calf operation standpoint to the showing standpoint as well. With all that being said, that’s why I know and believe that the Gelbvieh breed is one the best choices you can make putting it in your herd. Gelbvieh can have such a significant impact in the cow-calf industry and to the producers. Here in Missouri, we have warm summers and cold winters and some unpredictable weather changes in-between, Gelbvieh cows adapt easily to the different weather. The most important thing about putting this breed into your cow-calf operation is their maternal qualities that include fertility, milk and calving ease. Gelbvieh were used in Germany as milk cows before they were brought over to the United States, which makes sense that they have a good milk yield. Not only is Gelbvieh good from the mothering standpoint but also in the growth and replacement side too. The breed is also known for their weaning and yearling growth as well. Not to mention they are known for more pounds of calf weaned per cow. Now, why would you not want this breed in your cow-calf operation?

I have witnessed first hand this breed having a positive impact on our family’s herd. So when it came time for me to start my own herd, there was no doubt in my mind that I would start my herd with Gelbvieh cattle. That year I took out a USDA loan and bought my first few cows to start my herd. From there, I watched the amazing abilities of this breed and got to witness it in my operation. One vivid memory was when I watched one my first-calf heifers give birth to twins in the middle of winter. To most producers, red flags would start popping up in their head when I said a first-calf heifer having twins in the midst of winter. My uncle, cousin, and brother went out and moved the new mom and babies into the barn to keep them warm and he watched them as the days went on. Him and I watched them grow day by day. We watched a new mother claim, raise and care for both of her calves. From this experience and many others, is why I am confident in the Gelbvieh breed and the positive influence and impact it can make in the cow-calf industry and a producer’s herd. With their natural abilities and traits, there’s no doubt that Gelbvieh cattle would make a difference in anyone’s cow-calf operation.