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The Alberta Hereford Association is proud to recognize Lost River Ranch, Manyberries, AB as the 2020 Commercial Breeder of the Year.
A bucking horse logo has been the trademark of Lost River Ranch for 115 years and Tim Piotrowski and his wife Tannis are the current owner operators of the family ranch.
10-year-old son, Barrett is the 5th generation to call this ranch home.
With a spectacular view of Montana’s Sweet Grass Hills, this is rolling ranch country in the driest corner of the province. The ranch was named for the river that runs south through the ranch, part of the Milk River basin.
This ranch is arguably one of the first in Canada to embrace a cross breeding program. “Grandfather claimed to be the first one in Canada to use Red Angus bulls on Hereford cows,” says Tim. “He bought a new 1967 3-ton truck and went to Wyoming and brought back 3 Red Angus bulls; the neighbours all thought he was crazy.” It was a successful experiment and they have maintained that cross ever since!
Tim and Tannis like their cross bred calves, and credit them for their hybrid vigour, eye pigment, udder pigment, and lack of horns come branding time. Further to that end, they have been using Polled Hereford bulls since 1980 and now run at least 50 percent Polled in their Hereford bull battery.
Heifers are turned out with the bulls for 21 days and preg-checked in the fall. Come spring, they will calve heifers for 21 days then induce anything that has not calved. This year, they were done two days before the inducing date. Tim’s Grandpa, Ross, started the shorter breeding protocol for the heifers and Tim is confident that putting selection pressure on the first calf heifers, for fertility, has improved the fertility of their entire cowherd.
Recognizing the ranch legacy is important to this family. Tim has the Lost River Ranch logo tattooed on his arm and just like that tattoo; there is a sense of inevitability that despite changes in the cattle industry, Hereford cattle will continue to play an important role in the future of this ranch.