Vernon and Eileen Davidson are passionate about the Gelbvieh breed and Davidson Gelbvieh of Ponteix, Saskatchewan raises award-winning stock. The couple’s passion has been shared among their children, and one of their sons, Ross and his wife Tara and baby twins have a cattle operation, Lonesome Dove Ranch, that raises purebred and commercial crossbred Gelbvieh cattle just down the road from them.
Both ranches work collaboratively at times but also operate independently. Vernon and Eileen bred 250 purebred cattle this spring and Ross and Tara bred another 250 head but both ranches have their own calving facilities.
While operating a commercial herd and feeding cattle to finish, Vernon and Eileen grew intrigued by the Gelbvieh breed and bred their first Gelbvieh in the 1980s. They also began direct marketing in the ’80s when they attended Canadian Western Agribition in Regina and National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado. Today they also attend local shows such as Frontier Days in Swift Current and Farmfair International in Edmonton. They have also been honoured to judge many livestock events including the Royal in Toronto and the Supreme Livestock events in both Regina and Edmonton.
“By participating in and attending these events each year, it allows us to keep on target with what our clients and producers want and need,” said Eileen. “Our business accomplishments are due in large to our many mentors, clients, friends and family.”
Since introducing Gelbvieh into their herd, the Davidsons have noticed that Gelbvieh calves are widely recognized for excellence in growth, feedlot efficiency, muscling and marketability while the females are known for milking ability, fertility and quiet temperament. Besides ensuring the animals have quality feed and supplement rations, the Davidsons offer a rigorous vaccination program. Branding, castrating, tagging and tattooing are also part of the overall health and safety of the herd.
Membership in livestock associations is relevant in remaining reputable, accountable and current in the industry. Vernon says that in order to keep the breed progressive, breeders must encourage and guide associations in what issues need to be addressed and pursued. He has served as president of the Canadian Gelbvieh Association and is currently vice-president of the Man./ Sask. Gelbvieh Association. Vernon and Eileen are also members of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers. Eileen has served as zone chair and provincial director and is currently a breed representative on the Canadian Western Agribition Livestock committee.
“It is all time-consuming volunteer work, but really the nuts and bolts of everything else that happens and matters in our livestock business and our fellow livestock producers’ business,” said Eileen.
Some recent accolades include having DVE Davidson Ms Secret 78U and her bull calf DVE Davidson Hoss 1W winning Grand Champion Gelbvieh Female at the 2010 Farmfair International in Edmonton. Two-year-old DVE Davidson Cowboy 20U (who sired the calf at side of the Grand Champion Female) won the Grand Champion Gelbvieh Bull award. Davidson Gelbvieh was the recipient of the Breeders Herd and Premier Breeder Banners. The Canadian Gelbvieh Association recently recognized Davidson Gelbvieh as the No. 1 Gelbvieh breeder for the most Dams of Distinction and Dams of Merit in 2010. The Canadian Gelbvieh Association also credits the top 20 Gelbvieh Sires of the 2010 Dams of Merit and Dams of Distinction in 2010. The top listed sires are DVE Davidson Pld Blk Jim 6L and Davidson Red Wrap 26G. Both bulls were bred and raised by Davidson Gelbvieh. Of the top 20 bulls, Vernon and Eileen have the credit of five of those sires, four of which they bred and one of which they purchased.
In January 2011 Davidson Gelbvieh and Lonesome Dove Ranch attended the National Western Stock Show in Denver where they won the acclaimed Reserve National Champion Bull awards with a yearling bull they raised, DVE Davidson Romance 116W. Ribbons don’t pay the bills, but the recognition Romance’s 2011-born calves have already is impressive.
“It’s also about the making of friendships and the network of people in the cattle industry,” said Vernon, while Eileen adds that she enjoys the educating and learning aspects too. Each July, Davidson Gelbvieh and Lonesome Dove Ranch host a Customer Appreciation Day and Open House at their ranches. Check the website for future dates of annual events and sales.
Davidson Gelbvieh is located six miles south of Cadillac, Saskatchewan on Highway No. 4 and seven miles east and then one-quarter mile south. Vernon and Eileen welcome inquiries at 306-625-3755 or visit www.davidsongelbvieh.com or www.davidsonlonesomedoveranch.com.
Membership in livestock associations is relevant in remaining reputable, accountable and current in the industry