University News

School of Ag Bull Test Program Entries Due Aug. 31

June 29, 2010

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MACOMB, IL -- Entries are now being accepted for the 39th Annual Western Illinois University Bull Test 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 on or before Tuesday, Aug. 31. Nimrick, who is also an associate professor in Western's School of Agriculture, added that bulls must be weaned and started on a preconditioning program no later than Friday, Aug. 20.

"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, the coordinator of the School of Ag's University Farm, said. "It also provides the individual bull owners the opportunity to get data on the bull's feed efficiency -- or 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 noted 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 hope that breeders, old and new, will find the test to be an invaluable part of their performance programs."

In addition to the test program, bulls will have ultrasonic data gathered to be included in their breed's EPD program. To offer proven genetics to the industry, at the conclusion of the test, a sale of the top bulls will be held Friday, March 18, 2011, he added.

"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 either Nimrick at (309) 298-1288 or Engnell at (309) 298- 2613 (days) or (309) 298-1276 (nights), or the School of Agriculture's office at (309) 298-1080. Interested individuals can also send correspondence addressed to:

Dr. Ken Nimrick
WIU 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

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