The Science of Cattle Breeding

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Despite the fact that it is a cold January afternoon and darkness is creeping around the corner, Morgan Cortez still seems as bright and enthusiastic as a

Despite the fact that it is a cold January afternoon and darkness is creeping around the corner, Morgan Cortez still seems as bright and enthusiastic as a sunny day. Morgan is standing by her bull, Trooper in the auction line. She is at the Mile Hi Auction at the National Western Stock Show to sell two heifers (young, female cows without calves) and Trooper the bull. Boy, is she excited to tell all about cattle breeding, auctioning, and selling!

 Cortez, a resident of American Falls, Idaho, got involved in cattle breeding and selling four years ago. And two years ago, she became a member of the North American Junior Red Angus Board. The animals she breeds and sells are actually her aunt and uncles’ cattle. Why does she bring them all the way to Colorado for auction? Well, the Mile Hi Sale is a very well-known auction among the best cattle breeders.

"At the Mile Hi Sale,” Cortez says, “you bring your A-Game!” Obviously, she had! Cortez had sold one heifer and half of Trooper the bull. Half an animal? That might sound crazy, but actually, it’s just a smart way for cattle breeders to get more for less. After the sale, Trooper will live with Cortez’s aunt and uncle for half of the year, and with the new part owner in Texas for half the year. Both parties will use him for breeding.

"The [cattle breeding] community is very close!” Cortez explains about co-owning Trooper.

 But Cortez’s main passion isn’t auctioning cattle, it’s breeding cattle. Using estimated progeny differences, a way of figuring out how much a bull's calf will differ from it, she says you can accurately predict how a calf  will look before its parents breed. In fact, Cortez finds this so fascinating, she plans to go to cattle judging school to learn what judges are looking for in cattle, then she will go to college in embryology to learn to breed those perfect calves.

 It’s not hard to see that Morgan Cortez is very passionate about the science of cattle breeding!