Focusing on a foundation of females: Bar JV Angus provides quality genetics with a focus on outstanding females
Located in Sioux Pass between Sidney and Culbertson, Mont., the Vitt family has focused on building a cowherd with a foundation of fundamental females for 45 years.
The operation, Bar JV Angus, got its start in 1975 when Jim Vitt married Loretta Denowh of Gartner-Denowh Angus Ranch.
“My mom brought one of her 4-H cows and a heifer calf with her when she married my dad, and they built the herd up from there,” explains Dale Vitt, co-owner and operator of Bar JV Angus. “Today, we run about 400 registered cows and 180 commercial cows. We also put up spring wheat, oats, millet and grass hay to feed our cattle.”
A foundation of females
In order to achieve such a well-respected seedstock program, Dale notes Bar JV Angus has focused on producing a foundation of outstanding females.
In fact, he explains the overall goal of the operation is to breed elite Angus females that will produce high performance bulls for the profitability of commercial cattlemen.
“We breed for the mother cow,” says Dale. “We want highly maternal cattle with a lot of length and capacity. We want them to be heavy boned in order to produce a lot of pounds. We feel if we breed for the outstanding female, everything else will fall into place.”
Because Angus cattle excel in maternal traits, Dale says the breed was a perfect fit for the operation.
“We think Angus cattle are the ultimate mother cows. They cover all of the bases as far as good mothering ability and raising good calves with heavy weaning weights,” he states. “They also have good carcass traits, good growth, and they are really adaptable to a lot of different environments.”
Dale continues, “While the American Angus Association has provided us with a great set of selection tools, there are some traits we require beyond expected progeny differences (EPDs).”
He notes sound structure, good feet and good udders are essential for the longevity of their herd, and disposition is also an important requirement at Bar JV Angus.
“Breeding bone into our cattle to enable them to handle the amount of growth found in today’s genetics is fundamental,” explains Dale. “We also breed for long necks and smooth shoulders, which ensures calving ease.”
Marketing quality genetics
Currently, Bar JV Angus markets these quality genetics at an annual production sale on their ranch every fourth Tuesday in March.
This year, the sale will be held on March 23, offering 100 yearling bulls and approximately 120 to 150 Angus and black baldy heifer calves.
With the sale date quickly approaching, Dale notes the Vitt family has been busy.
“We just finished freeze branding all of our bulls and heifers, and we will continue getting our bulls ready for the sale,” says Dale, noting Bar JV Angus feeds out their own bulls on a feedlot located at the ranch.
“Our bulls are fed a high-roughage ration of alfalfa, grass hay, silage, whole oats and cracked corn. We also feed them Flax-Lic tubs to improve semen quality,” explains Dale. “We choose not to push our bulls too hard on feed to make sure they last longer for our customers.”
Raising the sixth generation
In addition to raising excellent Angus seedstock and females, the Vitt family is also raising Bar JV Angus’ sixth generation of cattlemen.
“Bar JV Angus is entirely family run,” notes Dale. “The ranch is owned and operated by my parents Jim and Loretta as well as myself and my wife Jill. Jill and I have three children – Cody, Emily and Kendal.”
“In 2017, Cody and his wife Sierra moved back to join us on the ranch, and their two boys, Owen and Brooks, are the sixth generation of our family to live on this ranch,” Dale adds. “We are so thankful to have had the same ranch for this many generations, and we’re pretty excited to keep passing it down.”
For more information, visit barjvangus.com.
Hannah Bugas is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.