Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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WIU Bull Test Program Accepting Entries
July 1, 2009
MACOMB, IL -- Entries are now being accepted for the 38th Annual Western Illinois University Bull Test Program. According to Ken Nimrick, associate professor in WIU's School of Agriculture, and Bruce Engnell, co-directors of the program, entries for the 112-day test are open to any breed and are due Monday, Aug. 31. Nimrick noted that in order for bulls to qualify, they must be weaned and must have started on a preconditioning program no later than Saturday, Aug. 22.
"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 collect 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 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 we hope that breeders, old and new, will find the test to be an invaluable part of their performance programs."
In addition to the testing program, bulls will have ultrasonic data gathered to be included in their breed's EPD program. At the conclusion of the test, a sale of the top bulls will be held Friday, March 19, 2010.
"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 about the program, contact Nimrick at (309) 298-1288 or Engnell at (309) 298- 2613 (days) or (309) 298-1276 (nights). Request entry packets from the WIU School of Agriculture at (309) 298-1080. Inquiries can also be mailed to Dr. Ken Nimrick, School of Agriculture, 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 online at wiu.edu/bulltest/.
Posted By: WIU News, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606