Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 2005


Published for the Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XIX December 6, 7 and 8, 2005, Rapid City, South Dakota.


The Gilbert family has ranched in northwestern South Dakota for over one hundred years. We run a commercial Angus cow herd of approximately 900 mother cows. Our emphasis is on replacement heifers and feeder steers. The hot iron brand has been and is the method of identification used on Gilbert Angus cattle within the brand inspection area of Western South Dakota. The first brand was registered in the late 1800’s according to the brand papers held by Frank Gilbert. The Cross J Bar brand was the identification used to distinguish Gilbert cattle then and is still used today. As the fifth generation enters the business, we have added other individual brands but use the original for the corporation cattle. In addition to hot iron brands, we ear tag every cow with individual numbers and ear tag their offspring with corresponding numbers on day of birth. This information is stored in a CowSense™ database. The replacement females retained within the herd receive an ear tag indicating year and genetic ID.