FIRTH, Idaho — Chet and Phyllis Adams established their Angus breeding operation while working with Chet’s parents at Leadore Angus Ranch. They then moved to Firth, Idaho, in 1973 when they purchased a small ranch along the Snake River.
Chet purchased his first registered Angus heifer in 1952 when he was 9 years old, using money from his 4-H champion steer.
After buying the ranch at Firth, Chet and Phyllis added more acreage, increasing their registered herd to 125 cows.
“We put a lot of emphasis on performance and balanced EPDs (Expected Progeny Differences) including strong maternal values. Our goal is to breed sound cattle with a lot of capacity and length, with good feet and udders,” Adams said.
Many changes have occurred within the breed during his lifetime.
“Back in the 1950s people were breeding small-framed cattle. Then breeders started increasing frame size during the 1970s and 1980s. I have tried to stay moderate and not follow fads. That was my dad’s philosophy, and it’s worked for us,” he said.
Bulls are marketed through their Adams Connection Snake River Valley Genetics Bull Sale. Their 49th bull sale was March 7, 2018, at the Blackfoot Auction Yards.
“In 2012 we invited Rimrock Angus (Arnold and Teresa Callison, Blackfoot, Idaho) and Beckman Livestock (Wade and Vickie Beckman, Roberts, Idaho) to join us.” The three breeders together market 90 to 100 bulls through this sale.
Adams’ commitment to quality and consistency had paid off in repeat customers. For instance, the Willis Ranch at Cokeville, Wyo., has purchased Adams bulls for 32 years.
Bull calves are fence-line weaned in August on grass, kept on grass until mid-September, then started on feed and go through a 100-day performance feed test. At the end of the test, yearling weights are obtained and the bulls ultrasounded for marbling and ribeye size.
The ranch has been doing embryo work since 2001. “We also try to AI every female. We start our AI program in late March and AI until we turn out to pasture the first week in May. We preg-check with ultrasound to determine whether it’s an AI calf or bull bred,” he said.
Cows start calving the first of January.
“We found that calving in January is the best time, with no mud, less wet, sloppy weather and less sickness in the calves. We bring every cow into the corral two weeks prior to their due date, and use a barn to prevent frozen ears, obtain birth weights, tag and give the necessary shots.” These babies can handle a lot of cold weather after they are dry and suckled.
“We keep them in the barn 12 to 24 hours, depending on weather. We also have calf shelters in every pasture. If young calves can get out of the wind and cold, they do fine,” Adams said.
The ranch raises almost all the hay needed, and this includes a lot of alfalfa. The third crop is sold as high-quality dairy hay. With that money Adams buys more first crop alfalfa.
“I enjoy raising top-quality cattle and plan to continue ‘Forging the Genetic Link’ in Angus cattle with the help of Jade Martin, my outstanding employee,” he said. “He has a great work ethic and we really appreciate having someone who can do the job.”