Our Genetics

When Bill bought his first Gelbvieh bull and cows in the early 80's, he based his decision on the 1980's MARC data, which showed the Gelbvieh breed's superiority in both performance and maternal characteristics.   Although those traits are still recognized as the major strongpoints of the breed, Gelbvieh cattle have come a long way in some of the less desirable traits, such as moderating their mature cow size and improving carcass quality. In addition, the introduction of the Balancer breed in 2000 further improved the desirability of Gelbvieh and Gelbvieh-influenced cattle.   In order to provide their customers with superior genetics, the Wilkinsons began incorporating top quality Angus genetics into their Gelbvieh herd to produce Balancers, while maintaining the purebred breeding, as well. As such, they can offer their individual buyers the best combination of genetics, in order to provide the optimum balance of pounds and carcass for each of their customer's individual herds.

The Wilkinsons consider a variety of factors in their breeding and management decisions, but the rough arid environment of Southeastern Colorado is probably the most important one. Typical stocking rate is between 75-100 acres/cow, so their cows and bulls must be structurally sound in order to walk the miles they need to for water and grazing. In addition to soundness, the Wilkinsons emphasize strong maternal traits, for which Gelbviehs are known.   Cows must have moderate milk production, with good teat and udder structure. Cows calve unassisted out in the pastures and the calf must get up and suck immediately, which is why teat size is so important.  Predation can also be an issue so having a good mother is extremely important, as well.

When making breeding decisions, bulls are chosen for their potential maternal, performance and carcass characteristics. Because they are trying to push the envelope with performance, without sacrificing birthweight or mature size and carcass, this selection process is always a challenge. Additionally, not only do the Wilkinsons want to produce more pounds for their customers, but they also want their customers to keep their own replacement females.   That is one strong characteristic of the Gelbvieh and Balancer cattle -- they are dual-purpose in that they produce outstanding mamas, as well as performance oriented steers.  Bull selection for their herd sires is based on these basic principles, whether they are selected from their own herd or purchased from other Gelbvieh/Balancer breeders. Over the years, we have found that running multi-sire groups results in an almost 100% breed-up.  With the size of our pastures, we realized that cows were simply not being covered; so having 2 sires has been a tremendous plus for us.  The added expense of sire testing is easily covered by the increased conception rate.  Plus, it was a real eye-opener for us.  Many calves that we thought were out of the AI time window have tested back to their AI sire, so we feel much more confident in what we are now reporting.

Calving interval is also planned around the environment. Heifers are bred to start in March, whereas the cows start in early April. The hope is to avoid the severely cold winter storms while getting closer to green grass. The Wilkinsons normally hold back 35-40 replacement heifers (registered and commercial) and develop them on a heifer development ration, then synchronize and AI breed them to calving ease sires, usually Angus or higher percentage Balancer sires. After one round of AI, they are turned out with calving ease herd sires.

Roughly 75% of the registered cows are also AI bred, allowing them to "customize" each potential calf.   They generally look at three specifics: 1) the need to increase or decrease the Gelbvieh make-up in the calf, 2) the genotypical characteristics to complement the cow's EPD profile, and 3) structurally correct cattle, with some eye appeal. As with the heifers, the cows are turned out with our herdsires after one round of AI.

The Wilkinsons spend many hours, using the AGA Registry’s Progeny Calculator planning the mating of their cow herd. They start with potential AI sires for each care, matching both the predicted genotype (from the Calculator) and potential phenotype (using knowledge of each cow and heifer). After selecting the AI sire, each cow is paired with a herdsire group, also anticipating optimum genotype and phenotype profile.

All registered heifers are then AI’d in May. In 2021, they were synchronized, bred and then turned out in 2 pasture groups – each with 2 calving ease herd sires. After the first month, they were combined and BNW Eclipse was pulled out to use in the cow herd. AI Sires used on Heifers in 2021: SAV Rainfall, SKF Easy Journey, BGGR High Definition, BNW At Ease, Conneally Comrade, EGL Lifeline, The cows are usually sorted into 2 AI groups of around 40-45 head each, leaving about 2 weeks between the two groups, simply for ease of management (since its just Bill and Nancy doing it all!). Each group is synchronized, bred, and then turned out with herdsires – again in pasture groups of 2 bulls each. AI Sires used on cows in 2021: EGL Lifeline, BNW Hombre, DLW Glory, PHS Old Glory, SAV Rainfall, JKGF Civil War, Choco, CCRO Tuxedo, SKF Easy Journey, BGGR High Definition, XXB Block Party, TMMW Hole in One, BNC At Ease, and Conneally Comrade.

Wilkinson Herd Bulls
These bulls, in various combinations of 2 per pasture,
will be used during the 2022 Breeding Season.

Name

%

Tattoo

Registration

CED EPD

BW EPD

WW EPD

YW EPD

MK EPD

HP EPD

PG30 EPD

ST EPD

SC EPD

REA EPD

MB EPD

6138

50/50

BNW 6138

AMGV1351071

22

-7.3

48

71

16

6

0.4

14

0

0.16

0.39

Eclipse

47%GV

BNW 7104

AMGV1388325

19

-2

59

96

14

8.4

3

21

1

0.52

0.19

Hot Toddy

63%GV

BNW 0147

AMGV1481691

16

-2.8

61

83

21

11

2

13

0.7

0.68

0.2

Burton

50% GV

BTBR 0199

AMGV1484163

12

-0.9

65

101

26

2.5

2.6

18

0.5

0.43

0.49

Eduardo

86%GV

BNW 7134

AMGV1388448

13

1.6

0.7

100

19

2.68

0.6

16

0.1

1

0.07

Dirt Road

48%GV

BNW 6144

AMGV1350826

11

1.8

79

131

21

2.72

0.86

16

0.7

0.64

0.17

Bob

75%GV

BTBR 8235

AMGV1418743

16

-3.6

62

88

22

11

-0.5

10

0.4

0.49

0.27

Leverage

93 PB

FHG 091E

AMGV1382741

16

-2.4

68

100

27

19

6.4

19

1.5

0.8

0.23

Glory

50% GV

DLW 5141G

AMGV1484648

16

-1.6

86

130

18

8.4

3.2

19

0.81

0.34

0.64

Warren

56%GV

BTBR 9281

AMGV1450569

16

-2.9

56

80

24

5.12

-1.6

17

1

0.43

0.15

General

67%GV

BNW 9102

AMGV1451016

15

-0.6

69

107

30

9.4

3.4

 16

.65

.61

.40

Gallagher

BNW 9110

AMGV1451023

8

0.7

75

118

21

11

1.3

19

.81

.87

.54

John

32%GV

BNW 8009

AMGV1417786

16

-2.3

74

118

23

10

3

11

-0.1

.49

.37