Bull selection clinics can help producers buy herd bulls
Understanding and using some simple tools can help cattle producers make the right selection for new herd bulls during upcoming bull sales. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Program Specialist Denise Schwab said that's why bull selection clinics are scheduled prior to three bull sales held by Iowa Cattlemen's Association later this spring. There's no cost to attend and no preregistration is necessary at any of the locations.
"Sorting through performance measures and expected progeny differences doesn't have to be a chore or a mystery," Schwab said. "Staff from the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State have scheduled the two-hour clinics so attendees can make use of the information they receive at the bull sale immediately following the clinic."
Dates, times and locations of the clinics are:
--March 18, 4:30 p.m., Bloomfield Auction Market, Bloomfield;
--March 22, 4:30 p.m., Dunlap Livestock Auction, Dunlap; and
--May 3, 4 p.m. Tama Livestock Auction, Tama (open heifers that have been evaluated also will be on this sale).
The sales will feature spring and fall bulls that have been through ICA's Bull Evaluation Program, according to ICA seedstock manager Kellie Carolan. She said bulls that go through this 112-day test are evaluated for growth, carcass traits, yearling weight, disposition and scrotal circumference, and are some of the breed's best pedigrees for calving ease, performance and carcass merit.
Schwab said Iowa Beef Center staff will break down the process of bull selection into simple steps and assist those attending with interpreting the EPD numbers in the catalog.
"We can help you evaluate your cow herd and determine the economically relevant traits that you want to emphasize," she said. "With that information, you can use the index EPDs and visually appraise the bulls to identify some options that will help you get the most benefit from your cow herd."
To learn more about ICA's Bull & Heifer Program, including a listing of bulls that will be offered at each of the 2013 sales, go to http://www.iacattlemen.org/bullheifer.aspx. This page also has a link to the 2013 reports and catalogs by location.
For more information on the bull clinics, contact your Iowa State beef specialist at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ag/beef.