FERN RIDGE RANCH is located in northern Idaho about 8 miles northeast of Sandpoint. We operate on 220 acres varying from productive hay ground to rocky hillsides.
We have been raising Polled Herefords since 1979. Our beginnings were a small bunch of cows from several northwest breeders however most of our roots go back to a few cows we purchased from Denny Shields', Meadow Brook Ranch. Denny had a history of over 50 years of Hereford breeding. His cows were noted for their easy calving and milk production and went back to Big Sky Guy, Trumode, Westwind, and Enforcer breeding. We then began an AI program using proven sires with balanced performance traits to build our herd. Early AI sires used included BT Butler452M, GK Justification, Goldbar Godfather, Skywalker, Remington, Feltons 517, Feltons Matthew 597, and Feltons Enduarance 745. More recently we have continued an AI program using such sires as Schular On Target 22S and pasture and AI breeding to our owned herd sires. Our goal is to to attain growth and carcass quality with out sacrificing our structural soundness, calving ease, and milk.
We have been keeping guidlines/TPR records on since 1982 and have found that in our herd the EPDs correlate very well with observed performance. We annually have several cows on the Dam of distinction list.
We calve from late January through March. We seldom have to help a cow.
We make our registered herd work and survive just as our commercial neighbors do. The cows are run on Fern Ridge (brush and timber) and native grass pasture in the spring and summer, then on cut over hay fields in the late summer and fall. We DO NOT creep feed the calves. We wean by the first of October. Most (a few are sent out to other regional bull tests) of the bull calves are placed in our own bull test/development program to be ready for sale and use as yearling bulls for spring breeding programs. Our replacement heifer calves are fed our own grass hay with protein supplement to be ready for spring breeding. The cows are fed our grass hay, usually beginning in mid November, with a protein supplement just prior to calving and before turnout depending on hay quality.
We require our cows to not only calve easily and milk well but also to maintain good udders and be structurally sound. We have built longevity into our herd by retaining genetics from our top older cows who have maintained this soundness and productivity. A good example was FR CHAIRS PEACH 208L. She is pictured below in July 2014 after producing 12 calves for us.