Ranch News

March/April 2017


The 2017 spring sales season is off and running and we are excited to be participants in the Cattle Baron's Sale in Navasota,Tx (2/25), Legacy XIII in Grapevine, Tx (3/17–3/18), the Hudson–Valentine Sale in Bowling Green, Ky. (3/31–4/1), the Blue Ridge Sale in Llano, Tx (4/7–4/8) , the Midwest Sale in Winfield, Ks (4/22) and the Red River Sale in Ardmore, Ok (5/27). We have consigned 14 of our best females bred to some industry leading bulls. We have also consigned two bulls including my partnership bulls with Richard Filip -- Monaco Chex. We hate to see him go but he has served us well and I believe in stacking different genes to get the total package.  It is time for another breeder to reap the benefits of his production.  Our lineup this spring goes is listed below. Go to the 2017 Consignment section under Sale Pen for details.

CATTLE BARON'S-- (1) M Arrow Conundrum

LEGACY XIII --   (1) Mi Tierra Vaca 93  (2) GLR Hailstorm Mary  (3) GLR Concealed Light

HUDSON VALENTINE--  (1) GLR Creole Dixie Max   (2) Monaco's Princess Grace

BLUE RIDGE --  (1) Fine Print BCB (2) EOT Cactus Rita 899

MIDWEST (1) CC Sheza  Whip Er Wil  (2) GLR Casanova's Peach (3) GLR Monaco's Garnet  (4) GLR Just Do It 

RED RIVER  (1) Allen's 290/9 (2) M Arrow Bewitched (3) M Arrow Red Sunrise (4) Monaco Chex

Thank you for visiting our website. I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones this spring.

Warmest regards,
Mark Gilliland MD


Legacy Sale Consignments
Dallas, TX

Midwest Sale Consignments
Winfield, KS

Hudson/Valentine Sale Consignments
Bowling Green, KY

Blue Ridge Sale Consignments

Llano, TX


The following summarizes my photographic philosophy at the Gilliland Ranch.

1st- I use a Nikon D 3400 with 2 lenses-- 18-55mm and 70-300mm. It is a relatively cheap and sturdy camera that gives me a lot of versatility in the automatic mode. While manual settings can produce a better photograph (if you have the patience and time), rapid fire photos in the automatic mode with subsequent editing work better for me.

2nd- I always take my camera with me and use it almost every time I am with the cattle. I typically take 20-50 photographs, cull 90% of them and then download the good ones on my computer. I think potential buyers want as much information as possible before the purchase. Looking at one photograph in a sale catalog is not as good as viewing the stages of development from birth to present time. I always refer them to my Hired Hand website to see multiple photos. The more the better. As a breeder, studying serial photographs educates me in changing colors, conformations and horn sets overtime. It seems like every time I forget my camera, something interesting happens that I missed.

3rd- If I am photographing animals for an ad, eblast or, website, I do it on a sunny day to enhance color and muscle definition. I try to put the sun at my back to minimize shadowing. I also photograph them in a natural pasture setting by themselves or at least with minimal surrounding cattle so that I can crop distractions with editing.

4th- The camera and body positions are important. I get out of the truck and typically squat so the photograph is as close to the center of the body as possible. This angle accurately demonstrates leg and body length, depth, topline and underline. Photographs taken above from the truck make the animal look shorter.

For leg position, I try to get the front legs somewhat straddled to avoid the “post” appearance. The hind leg closer to the camera should extend backward to expose the genitalia and enhance the hip.

The head should be UP and turned 90 degrees looking into the camera to demonstrate head and ear shape and horn set. Cattle photographed with their heads down are seemingly depressed and do not sell well. Getting the head up can be challenging. I never feed them before a photography session otherwise their heads are glued to the ground. Sometimes, I have them chase the feed truck for a distance just to get them excited. Their heads are then high with anticipation and I quickly take photographs of the ones that need updating. Other head raising techniques include jumping, shouting, pushing on them or waving a flag.

5th- I always leave my dog behind on a serious photographic session. Otherwise, the cattle spend all their time looking at him and never at the camera.

Finally, good photography plays an integral role in portraying longhorns. It requires patience and a little luck. That said, too much perfection is time consuming and frustrating as eventually the animal must stand on his own merit in person. Each breeder should compare his photos with those found on other websites to insure they are competitive with industry standards.”

Warmest regards,
Mark Gilliland M.D.


I always leave my dog behind on a serious photographic session. Otherwise, the cattle spend all their time looking at him and never at the camera.

Sunset on the Gilliland Longhorn Ranch
January 2017

Shamrock Betty Van Horne



Fellow longhorn Breeders,

The Texas Longhorn industry has just finished 5 major sales in the last 7 weeks (1) Hudson–Valentine Fort Worth Sale (2) TLMA- Longhorn Extravaganza  in Oklahoma City (3) TLBAA Horn Showcase in Lawton, Oklahoma (4) Bowman Herd Reduction Sale–Winfield Kansas (5) Allen Herd Reduction Sale–West, Texas. I was a buyer/seller at 4/5 of these sales and I watched the other one online. I'm happy to report that the Longhorn industry prices are very stable despite the temporary market glut. The high-end cattle sold as expected; the average cattle only slightly below expected. That said, I am continuing to invest in the industry and have purchased or leased 3 young bulls with 90'' TTT  genetics for use in 2017. These bulls will complement  RC Tsunami 2, JBR Eclipse and JBR Net Worth. Monaco Chex  has given us 3 excellent  calf crops and Richard Filip and I are putting him up for sale.  Contact me, Richard Filip or Bear Davidson for any additional information. Monaco is the full brother to JH Rurally Screwed  and will be an excellent purchase for whoever  wants to add JP Rio Grande and Lady Monika BL genetics to their herd. 

Our herd continues to evolve to meet the market demands  in the longhorn industry. We welcome these 90" TTT genetics. We are committed to the scientific principle of increasing horn production heritability by stacking as many 80'' and 90'' in our pedigrees. We strive for the total package but prefer to emphasize horn because that is what the current market demands.
Thank you for visiting our website. We strive to constantly update our photos and content are to make it interesting for our viewers.

Warmest regards,
Mark Gilliland M.D.



How many times have you heard a Longhorn breeder complain about the high percentage of bull calves in any given year? Is it totally random or is there some science behind the sex of our calves? Bear Davidson once related a story to me about stocking his water tanks with goldfish to reduce the algae.  He had a lot of bull calves that breeding season. He removed the goldfish and the heifer calves returned next year. I have also complained to Justin Rombeck about the high percentage of bull calves in my herd  two years ago. He told me that it would turn around the next year because we had a lot of rain during the breeding season. When I asked why, he told me that old timers in the commercial cattle industry  had noticed through the years that more bull calves were born when the climate had been dry at  the time of conception. During the wet years, there was a higher percentage of heifers. These anecdotal stories may have some scientific basis in sex determination based on the water the cows are drinking and the pH of the reproductive system.

 Reproductive medicine is big business in the cattle industry but it is even bigger in humans. Many couples have 2–3 children of the same sex and want to increase the likelihood of having the opposite sex for their next child. As it turns out, there are some preconception factors that can be manipulated to affect the gender of the baby. Both human and bovine DNA have been fully decoded and sequenced. 80% of the DNA is similar. The  major difference is an extraordinary duplication in the specific genes related to milk production and digestion . Otherwise, 14,000 out of the 22,000 genes are identical. So I think it is fair to make some guarded extrapolation from humans to cattle.

We all know that the DNA in the sperm determines sex at the moment of fertilization. The egg (X chromosome) encounters the sperm carrying an X(female) or Y (male)chromosome.  Males have an XY chromosome; females, XX. Y- sperm chromosomes are faster but more fragile than the X-sperm so they can potentially get to the egg in higher numbers under favorable pH conditions. Experts In human reproductive medicine say the pH environment in the female reproductive tract affects gender of the offspring. An alkaline pH in vaginal fluid will favor Y- sperm (male) because Y- sperm deteriorate quickly in an acidic vagina. Conversely, an acidic pH in the vaginal fluid gives preference to an X-sperm (female) because most of the Y-sperm(male) have been destroyed. A breeder needs to know the potential environmental conditions that affect pH.

 One factor may be the water cattle are drinking.The pH of the water is  primarily determined by the fish excretion of ammonia. The fecal solids excreted by fish and the dead algae settle to the pond bottom where they decompose and produce ammonia- a strong alkaline chemical. A cow can drink up to 30 gallons of water in a day so it makes sense that this ammonia could potentially slightly raise the vaginal pH ( normally quite  acidic with a pH of  3.5) to a more alkaline environment. If the cows were drinking from a water tank filled with goldfish or  drought concentrated pond water stocked with fish , the alkalinity of the water would be higher thus promoting bull calves( Y sperm swim better in a basic environment). A wet year would dilute the alkalinity towards a more neutral pH  thereby promoting heifer calves by decreasing the number of surviving  Y- sperm in vaginal secretions.

 It may be  an oversimplification to condemn alkaline water as the definitive cause for a higher percentage of bull calves. Other factors may come into play:  (1)Mother Nature has already given a slight advantage to male births. Worldwide, approximately 105 baby boys are born to every 100 girls.  (2)There is other scientific evidence that a higher caloric intake (ie a high glucose level) around the time of conception shifts the odds of having a male from 50 to 55%. For some reason, high glucose levels encourage the development of male embryos and inhibit female embryos. Teleologically, this makes sense. If the human race was having a famine during the Stone Age, it makes more sense to preserve the species with more female births. That said, breeders should be extremely cautious about using diet to try to influence offspring sex-- especially when the difference is only 5%.  (3)Finally, there is also evidence that a gene in our DNA controls whether male sperm has more X or Y chromosomes.  There are 3 groups (A) Y sperm greater than X (B) Y sperm equals X sperm (C) X sperm greater than Y . This means that a bull with many brothers is more likely to sire males; a bull with many sisters is more likely to have females.

 In conclusion, none of these ideas have met  any statistical standards  for absolute validity. I don’t really have the time to put fish in a tank, use that as the exclusive water source for my cows , get them in the chute periodically to check vaginal pH during breeding season and monitor calf gender compared to a water tank without fish.  However ,there are some simple things a breeder can do to potentially increase heifer births without changing their program much and potentially doing harm:(1) Don’t overly stock your ponds with fish and aggressively remove them during the dry years.(2) Don’t put any fish in water tanks. (3)Get your cows into body condition 5 or 6 without making them obese with higher glucose levels. (4) Buy bulls with more sisters than brothers. These ideas may help but in the final analysis, it is Mother Nature who decides.  Besides, the laws of economics dictate that if we are producing twice the number of heifers with same demand, we are going to get half the price.Maybe we should be saying that bull calf will make my next heifer more valuable-- ie there will be some delayed gratification  down the line. Still, the first question I inevitably ask when I hear a new baby calf is born is... “Is it a heifer?” If it is, I do as Dale Hunt prescribes.






Gilliland Ranch News-- June 2016

Fellow longhorn Breeders,

Our herd continues to evolve to meet the market demands  in the longhorn industry. We welcome these 90" TTT genetics to our herd.
(1)Our Chisholm Trail Cartel cow Cherry Jubilee 78 reached the 90" TTT milestone in June 2016. She is bred to CV Cowboy Casanova and will be offered in the fall Hudson Valentine Sale in Ft Worth. Don't miss her. She is spectacular! (2)We purchased 1/2 interest in BR Domino from the Brett Ranch.This herd sire prospect adds Cowboy Tuff and Helm Lauras Light Mocha (will reach 90" TTT this year) genetics to our herd next year. Thank you Brian and Suzanne!(3) We hated to see Tom and Linda Harman
 cut back on their business( TK Ranch Longhorns) but they were gracious enough to sell us 3 recip cows with confirmed heifer pregnancies out of Cowboy Tuff and RM Touch N Whirl Pat( 88.625" TTT). The air is pretty thin with these high powered 90" pedigrees but we selectively purchase them when we can. We are committed to the  scientific principle of increasing  horn production heritability by stacking as many 80" and 90" animals in our pedigrees. We are constantly seeking outcrosses to  add to our core herd from the proven bloodlines of Cowboy Chex, Hunts Command Respect, JP Rio Grande, WS Jamakizm and Concealed Weapon.
Thanks for visiting our website. This Home Page changes monthly and website updates are made 4-5 times per week so keep coming back!
Warmest Regards,
Mark Gilliland MD