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Bull Sessions: Purebreds Put to the Test, Sale

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Written Friday, February 28, 2003  

Bull sessions: Purebreds put to the test, sale

If beefing up your cattle operation is one of your priorities this year, the 34th Ohio Bull Test Preview and Sale offers you not one, but 151 purebred ways to do it.

The preview, Saturday (3/1) at 10 a.m. and the sale, April 19 at noon, will take place at the Eastern Ohio Resource and Development Center (EORDC) in Caldwell, Ohio. EORDC is one of 11 outlying branches of Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

"The preview is an open house and field day that features an educational program with presentations by Ohio State University Extension personnel," said Justin Lahmers, a beef cattle Extension associate. "We will cover issues such as bull nutrition from pre-test through the breeding season, Ohio Bull Test sired calves feedlot performance and carcass data results, and evaluation of structural soundness in breeding bulls."

Preview attendees will be treated to a complimentary lunch, after which they will have a chance to view the 151 animals that are participating in the test. The herd includes 97 Angus, 38 Simmental, five Gelbvieh, four Polled Hereford, three Charolais, two Red Angus, one Maine-Anjou and one Chi Maine bulls.

The top 115 bulls will be auctioned during the April 19 sale, according to Kevin Stottsberry, EORDC's bull test herd manager.

Prospective buyers who are unable to attend the auction can purchase bulls from remote sale sites located in three OSU Extension offices -- Carroll, Knox and Shelby counties -- and the OSU Extension South District Office in Jackson. There, buyers can watch the bulls on videotape, listen to the sale and place bids over the telephone.

A program of OARDC, OSU Extension and the Ohio Cattlemen's Association (OCA), the Ohio Bull Test provides commercial beef producers from Ohio and other states with quality herd sires, which results in increased profitability for the industry.

This year's bulls were provided by 49 consignors from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The animals were delivered to EORDC on Oct. 29, 2002 and placed on a "warm-up" ration prior to being weighed on Nov. 26 and 27.

"During the 112-day testing period, the bulls are weighed every 28 days," Lahmers explained. "They will be weighed again March 17 and 18 and then placed on a cool-down ration to help them be in optimal breeding condition until the sale."

Performance records provided upon completion of the test will include birth weight, weaning weight, pelvic area, scrotal circumference, frame score, rib-eye area and fat thickness measured by ultrasound, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs), Five State Beef Initiative power scores, weights and average daily gain during the test. Only bulls meeting minimum performance requirements and classified as "satisfactory potential breeders" are eligible for the April 19 sale.

The 39 Simmental bulls are also participating in the 4th Annual Eastern National Simmental Bull Test, held in cooperation with the American Simmental Association.

With 2,100 acres of land in two separate Noble County sites, EORDC was created to improve the beef and sheep industries in Ohio's Appalachian plateau. Research projects at the center include forage management, grazing rotation, breeding technologies and animal health.

Wayne Shriver, EORDC's branch manager and owner of one of Ohio's most successful cow-calf operations, was recently presented with the first-ever OCA Commercial Producer of the Year Award.

EORDC is located on 16870 Township Road 126, Caldwell. For additional information about the Ohio Bull Test, contact Lahmers at (614) 873-6736 or Stottsberry at (740) 732-4275; or log onto http://bulltest.osu.edu.

OARDC and OSU Extension are part of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

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