WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Extension's Indiana Beef Evaluation Program received its 10,000th bull during this year's summer test - the station's 72nd test since the program's inception in 1976.
The test station, part of the Feldun-Purdue Agricultural Center near Bedford, houses bulls for 146 days each summer and fall: a 21-day pretest period and a 125-day test period. Animals are evaluated for genetic defects, growth, meat quality, structural and breeding soundness and expected progeny differences, or EPDs.
The top two-thirds of bulls successfully completing each test are eligible for auction at the end of each test cycle.
"The test provides education and opportunities for breeders to see how their bulls perform compared with other breeders' bulls in a real, on-farm environment," said Terry Stewart, Purdue animal sciences professor and Indiana Beef Evaluation Program secretary and treasurer. "We also feel confident we have been able to improve the genetics of Indiana's breeding herd through the sales of high-quality bulls. But the sale is secondary to educating producers and providing them with reliable data."
The 10,000th animal to enter the test is an Angus bull owned by Dennis Dolph of Walkerton, Ind. The bull was delivered by Mark Underwood of North Manchester, Ind., whose family has been entering bulls into the IBEP since the program began.
"The evaluation program is really neat because bulls are compared with others from multiple states," Underwood said. "The test takes place in a real-world environment. It's what you would see on the farm.
"What's unique about the program is that bulls are tested on the things that matter to cattle producers on the farm."
The summer test, which includes 64 bulls from 28 owners representing four breeds and five states, will conclude in September. Eligible bulls will be offered for sale on October 19 at the Springville Feeder Auction.
For producers who want to enter bulls for the next round of testing, the entry deadline is September 27 and delivery for the winter test will be October 29. Bulls must meet eligibility requirements, including birth date, weight and absence of lethal genes. A full list and more information about the IBEP are available on the program website at http://www.ansc.purdue.edu/ibep/index.htm.
The cost per bull entered in the summer test is expected to be about $820, but it fluctuates between tests because of feed prices. The cost includes everything: yardage, feeding, veterinary care and data.
Producers whose animals are sale-eligible are not required to enter their bulls in the auction. But bulls entered in the April 2013 sale earned an average of $3,290 per animal. The sale minimum is $1,700 per bull.