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Pictured is the top-selling Simmental in the 38th Annual Performance-Tested Bull Sale. According to WIU School of Agriculture Associate Professor Ken Nimrick, this bull -- WS OS All Star by Meyer Ranch 734, consigned by Bill Washburn and Terry Osborne -- brought $5,000, a record top price for the WIU sale. Nimrick added that a full brother to this bull is consigned to the 2011 test. More information about WIU's 39th Annual Bull Test is available at
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WIU Bull Test Underway; Repeat Customers Attest to Success of Performance-Test Bull Program

October 21, 2010

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MACOMB, IL -- After last year's record sale, the 39th annual Western Illinois University Performance Bull Test is, once again, underway. According to Ken Nimrick, associate professor in WIU's School of Agriculture, over the years, repeat buyers have accounted for 65 percent of the bulls' sales.

"This is a testament to the success cow men and women are achieving with bulls purchased from this sale," Nimrick said. "Breeds represented this year are Angus, Charolais, Charolais-Angus hybrids, Red Angus, Simmental, Polled Hereford, Simmental-Red Angus hybrids and Simmental-Angus hybrids. A number of one-half, three-quarter and full brothers from past sales are on test this year, one example being a full brother to last year's top-selling bull."

The 39th Annual Performance-Tested Bull Sale will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 18, 2011, at the WIU Livestock Center on Tower Rd. at the north edge of Macomb.

All bulls are Merial SureHealth certified and certified or tested free of Johnes disease, PI- BVD and known genetic defects, Nimrick noted. Extensive production information is being collected on the bulls, to help breeders improve their herds through known genetic information. In addition to average daily gain and feed efficiency, potential buyers will have access to data about each bull's ribeye area, 12th rib fat, marbling, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, frame score and birth weight, plus EPD data from the respective breed associations, he said.

"The emphasis in the beef industry today is on reducing input costs, and producers can cut costs quickly through greater efficiency of feed usage, using the information the test station provides. With the recent increase in feed prices, feed efficiency becomes even more important than in the past. The WIU test sale is one of the few places where all bulls have individual feed efficiency data," Nimrick explained.

Balanced rations and good management can affect feed efficiency and cost of production; however, studies show that approximately 40 percent of the differences in feed efficiency are accounted for by genetics, Nimrick continued.

"Reduced feed usage means higher profits from your next calf crop. What this means, in terms of dollars and cents, is a bull that requires two pounds less feed per pound of gain than another bull. This bull will, subsequently, sire calves that will then require $30-50 less feed. If that bull sires 100 calves over his lifetime, it is akin to about $3,000 or more in your bank account compared to the other bull. The question is, can you afford not to use a bull with documented feed efficiency? The benefits will continue to compound down the road as you save replacement females. You can inherit the difference in your herd," he added.

In the 38th annual sale this past March, Nimrick noted, 34 buyers took home 45 rugged, thick-made, high-performance bulls at a record average price of $2,381. The top 20 bulls averaged $3,153. The top-selling Simmental brought $5,000, a record top price for the WIU sale, he said.

The WIU bull testing station is open daily for individuals who want to view the bulls as the test proceeds. For more information on the bulls and to follow the progress of the test, check out the test station's website at Visit the School of Agriculture at

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