Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES--New Mexico ranchers will have a chance to improve their herd by purchasing quality young bulls at the Tucumcari Bull Test Sale March 19 at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari.
"This is our 38th year, and we have tested about 4,500 or more bulls over those years," said Ron Parker, animal resources department head with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.
Breeders from across the Southwest bring their best bull calves to Tucumcari in October for a 112-day, weight-gain test, he said. Each animal's feed efficiency and breeding potential are evaluated. Approximately 84 of the tested bulls will be sold from a variety of breeds including Angus, Beefmaster, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Salers, Simmental and Santa Gertrudis.
"The idea is to bring those animals in to one central location where they are all fed and managed under the same environment and with the same feed," Parker said. "We then measure performance and try to identify bulls with superior genetic makeup for use in herds, both purebred and commercial, around the country."
During the first year of the test in 1961, the average daily weight gain of bulls was about 2.25 pounds per day, he said. Today, bulls are averaging more than 3.5 pounds per day.
Information kept on each calf such as birth weight, weaning weight and fertility data can be obtained at the sale, Parker said.
"We have a frame score measurement that gives the rancher an indication of what the mature size of the animal will be," Parker said. "I am very confident that we have made genetic progress in the selection of the bulls."
The sale is open to the public. Lunch will be available at 11 a.m., and the sale will begin at noon. the center is located on U.S. Highway 54, northeast of Tucumcari.
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