Hereford legacy: Colyer Herefords raises quality show cattle applicable for the commercial rancher
Atop the high desert near Bruneau, Idaho sits Colyer Herefords, a well-known name among cattle producers involved in all facets of the industry. Guy and Sherry Colyer, with their son Kyle and daughter Katie, run 250 registered Hereford cows and 80 replacement heifers as well as 150 Angus pairs and 50 replacements.
Guy’s grandfather homesteaded the ranch in 1933. Before getting into the registered business in 1976, Guy ran about 700 commercial cows with his father.
“We added Angus to our program to diversify and be able to sell both Angus and Hereford, and that’s what we are doing today,” says Guy.
Success raising bulls
“I was always glad I was raised on a commercial ranch and understood that part of the business,” shares Guy. “Being able to raise cattle suited for commercial ranches is still our main focus today.”
“Colyer Herefords is unique in that we are known for showing cattle and being very successful in the show ring, but I think our background and experience in developing bulls for commercial ranchers is still what we pride ourselves in today,” says Guy. “We enjoy being able to develop bulls that stand up in adverse conditions, still have the top end of the cattle that will be competitive in the show ring and still keep a strong emphasis in feet, legs and structure.”
Guy and Sherry won the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, Colo. back-to-back in 1983 and 1984 with a bull they called L1 Pace Setter. The bull was the third bull in the history of NWSS to accomplish this feat. There have only been six, two-time champions at NWSS, and four of them have come from Colyers.
Colyer Herefords is also known for the bull they raised, named C Miles McKee 2103. The bull is the world record selling Hereford bull, that then went on to win Grand Champion Bull at the Southwestern Livestock Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas in 2013 and Supreme Champion Bull at the NWSS in 2014.
“Miles McKee has gone on to be a great breeding bull. He is especially strong on the female end,” Guy notes. “We’ve gotten some very top-end females that are daughters of Miles McKee.”
On making their top-end females and bulls, Guy says Colyer Herefords takes a balanced approach when making breeding decisions. He shares the importance of taking the time to match cattle and breed them as individuals, rather than in a mass breeding program.
“I think producers still need to put emphasis on phenotype in conjunction with good numbers,” shares Guy. “We are probably putting more emphasis on carcass traits, such as marbling and ribeye area, than we ever have before.”
Carcass traits are very highly heritable traits and can make big improvements to herds.
“The carcass data we have now is way better than we’ve ever had before,” Guy notes.
Colyer Herefords utilizes many kinds of reproductive technology available to propagate top end-cattle.
“Ninety percent of our calves are products of either artificial insemination (AI) or embryo transfer (ET),” says Guy. “We pride ourselves in having some really great donor cows and very high performing bulls in both breeds. We are doing a lot of ET work, both conventional and some invitro fertilization (IVF) work now as well.”
“I think the show cattle that we produce are still cattle that are very practical and will go out and be able to work in the real world as well,” Guy says.
“Sherry said if Pace Setter won the NWSS twice, we would buy a computer, so we did,” shares Guy. “When we got the computer, Sherry really got into technology, and that’s how we got our website name.”
Nineteen years ago, Colyer Herefords also held their first internet livestock auction.
“Back then, it was breaking into new territory to have an online auction,” says Guy. “Nowadays, it seems like there’s a few everyday.”
Colyer Hereford’s 19th annual female sale was held Oct. 3 at the ranch in Bruneau. The sale featured heifer calves, bred heifers, some donor cows, and for the first year ever, some of their Angus females.
Their 41st annual bull sale will be the fourth Monday in February at the ranch. There, they will sell around 275 Hereford and Angus bulls.
“To me, having a good, solid bull sale average and having repeat customers is what I am most proud of,” Guy explains. “It is more meaningful to me to have a good average, selling a volume of range bulls, than a high-dollar bull.”
“We have a large enough selection of bulls, but at the same time we want to keep our operation at the point where we are still looking at quality over quantity,” Guy shares.
Learn more about Colyer Herefords at Hereford.com.
Averi Hales is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.