University News

WIU 2006-07 Bull Test

January 8, 2007

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MACOMB, IL – Livestock producers: are you ready for higher feed prices? Get the most for your money with a tested bull from the Western Illinois University Performance Bull Test.

According to Ken Nimrick, WIU agriculture professor and co-director of the Performance Bull Test at Western, balanced rations and good management can affect feed efficiency and cost of production, but studies show that approximately 40 percent of the differences in feed efficiency are accounted for by genetics.

“Reduced feed usage means higher profits from your next calf crop. What does this mean in dollars and cents? A bull requiring one pound less feed per pound of gain than another bull will transmit approximately 40 percent of that advantage or .4 pound less feed per pound of gain to his offspring compared to the other bull,” Nimrick explained. “With ration costs approaching $160 per ton and each animal gaining 800 pounds from weaning to harvest, the result is a savings in feed cost of $25.60 per animal. If that bull sires 100 calves over his lifetime he will put $2,560 more in your bank account compared to the other bull.”

The bulls at the Western Illinois University Performance Bull Test all have individual feed conversion data. At the midpoint of the 2006-2007 testing program bulls are gaining an average of 4.39 pounds per day at a feed conversion rate of 5.60 pounds of air dry feed per pound of gain, Nimrick pointed out.

Approximately 45 of these rugged, thick-made Angus, Simmental, Red Angus, Gelbvieh and Composite bulls with large capacity and bred-in performance will be offered for sale at the 35th Annual WIU Performance Tested Bull Sale at 7 p.m. Friday, March 16 the WIU Livestock Center on Tower Road in Macomb. Lowderman Auction Service will auctioneer the sale.

According to Bruce Engnell, bull test station manager and co-director of the test, all bulls came on the test Merial SureHealthTM certified and tested free of Johnes and persistently infected BVD. Extensive production information is available to help breeders improve their herds through known genetic information. In addition to average daily gain and feed efficiency, data will also be provided on ribeye area, 12th rib fat, marbling, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, frame score and birthweight, plus EPD data from the respective breed associations.

Again this year some bulls will have DNA test data available. All bulls offered for sale are screened for soundness and will have completed a breeding soundness exam and are ready for the upcoming breeding season.

The WIU bull test station is open daily for those wanting to view the bulls prior to the sale. Catalogs will go out to the regular mailing list about March 1. For more information and a sale catalog, contact Nimrick at 309-298-1288, Engnell at 309/298-2233 or the agriculture department 309/298-1080. The sale catalog and additional information on the bulls is also

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing