In the rough terrain found on his ranch, Midvale, Idaho, rancher Steve Sutton needs hardy animals. He says you have to see the vigor of the Irish Red calves to really understand their hardiness.
“Those calves have an incredibly strong will to live,” Sutton says. “On this ranch, if calves don’t get up and suck right away, they die. These calves have an incredibly high degree of vigor.”
Sutton has used a Charolais cross on his Red Angus cows for quite some time. He started using the Irish Red bulls on his replacement heifers for calving ease. Marketing times for his commercial calves generally fall between Christmas and New Year’s and around May 1.
“I just have one year of data on calves out of my heifers,” Sutton says. “But last year my summer market calves finished on grass about 30 days early and weighed between 900 and 950 pounds. This year, I sold calves in April again. They averaged 880 pounds.”