Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

February 2011

OPSU Bull Test in Operation for 59 Years

 

For the 59th consecutive year, purebred bulls were weighed "on test" in October for the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Beef Bull Performance Test, and director of the test, Jerry Martin, has been involved with it for nearly 30 years. Dan Daniels and Milton England began the test with the help of area beef producers, and OPSU has one of longest-running tests of this type in the nation.

Little has changed since the test began except for the number of days the bulls are fed. The cattle are sent to a station and all are fed the same ration for 112 days. Data are kept on weight gain and feed efficiency as well as traits important to beef production such as fat marbling and rib eye size.

The testing serves a number of purposes. For the cooperating producer placing a bull in the test, the information collected assists them in herd management and can also help a producer market cattle more effectively. With a combination of excellent test results and subsequent proven performance, a certain lineage can become very desirable, and buyers will pay a premium for cattle from that lineage to improve their own operation. Phil Light of Turpin is one of OPSU's longtime cooperating producers, and most years at least one or two of his bulls earn top marks in the test.

For the buyer, the test offers data to examine prior to the sale so he can make a decision about the bulls that might fit his needs. Part of the success of OPSU's program can be measured by the many repeat buyers at the annual auction each February.

In addition, the four students who help manage the test gain invaluable experience. This year's student workers include Gideon Busienei, Kenya; Zack Crow, Lahoma, Okla.; Tina Ferguson, New Lenox, Ill.; and Jarred Lebsock, Yuma, Colo., and all of them are pursuing degrees in the School of Agriculture.

The top 70 bulls out of this year's 130 entries werel sold at auction in February inside the Milton England Center on the OPSU farm. Those interested in following the performance of the bulls through the test can contact Gwen Martin, Animal Science Department, at 580-349-1500 to be placed on the mailing list to receive the performance reports.

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