University News

Entries Accepted for WIU Bull Test Program

July 25, 2007


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MACOMB, IL -- Entries are now being accepted for the 36th annual Western Illinois University Bull Testing Program. According to Ken Nimrick and Bruce Engnell, co-directors of the program, entries for the 112-day test are open to any breed and are due Friday, Aug. 31; however, bulls must be weaned and started on a preconditioning program no later than Friday, Aug. 17.

"The WIU Bull Test offers breeders the opportunity to compare their bulls against bulls from other breeders when fed and managed in the same environment," Engnell said. "It also provides them the opportunity to get data on their bull's feed efficiency -- how many pounds of feed a bull must eat to put on a pound of body weight. Feed efficiency has always been important and is even more so with the prospect of ongoing high feed prices."

Nimrick added that very few on-farm testing situations can gather this type of data, and it is extremely important for the breeders' economics as feed efficiency has a heritability of about 40 percent. In addition to average daily gain and feed efficiency, the WIU Bull Test Program provides information on weight per day of age, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, ribeye area, fat depth and marbling.

"The bulls are also indexed, so the breeder gets a rather substantial amount of information in a situation that provides an unbiased comparison," Nimrick explained. "We've made some changes in the testing program, and hope that breeders, old and new, will find the test to be an invaluable part of their performance program."

In addition to the testing program bulls will have ultrasonic data included in their breed's EPD program. At the conclusion of the test, a sale of the top bulls will be held March 14, 2008 to offer proven genetics to the industry.

"The days of having cattle 'just for fun' are gone," Engnell said. "Today's cattle producer is extremely conscious of the 'bottom line' and the bulls can make that 'bottom line' appear a lot brighter."

For more information on entering bulls in the program, contact Nimrick at 309/298-1288, Engnell at 309/298- 2613 (days) or 309/298-1276 (nights), the WIU agriculture department at 309/298-1080, or write: Ken Nimrick, WIU Agriculture Department, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. Entry forms for this year's test, along with information on last year's program, can also be obtained at www.wiu.edu/bulltest.


Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (DR-Shinberger@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations