Premier program: UW CALSNR hosts inaugural High Altitude Bull Test and Sale
The University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources (CALSNR) recently wrapped up their inaugural High Altitude Bull Test with a sale and educational field day on April 1.
Developed by Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC) Director Dr. Scott Lake, UW Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Shelby Rosasco, LREC Beef Unit Manager Ben Hollinger and Assistant Professor Dr. Hannah Cunningham-Hollinger, the test was created to evaluate potential sires on their ability to serve producers at high altitudes, engage stakeholders in research and education related to brisket disease and to increase experience in applied production agriculture to undergraduate and graduate students at UW.
“Our group felt this year’s test and field day were a success,” shared Rosasco. “We collected valuable data on bulls in the test for the consignors, engaged with producers and stakeholders throughout the region during our educational field day, provided hands-on experience for students in the course and provided a platform to market and source pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP)-tested bulls for producers.”
The test and sale
Rosasco noted nine producers consigned a total of 41 bulls for the first year of the two-and-a-half-month test. Bulls arrived to LREC in mid-January and were kept through the end of March.
“Ben Hollinger coordinated the day-to-day management of the bulls during the test and worked with students on evaluating health, feed consumption and general oversight,” Rosasco explained. “Animals were weighed every two weeks throughout the test to monitor performance, and students conducted twice daily health checks.”
Bulls were put through a series of evaluations including breeding soundness exams conducted by Alpine Animal Hospital, the collection of carcass ultrasound data by James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center Director Dr. Steve Paisley and PAP testing done by Dr. Tim Holt.
“The data collected on bulls in the test provides consignors and producers with valuable information to utilize when making management and sire selection decisions,” Rosasco said.
On April 1, the test wrapped up with a field day and sale. Seven of the nine consignors marketed their bulls through the sale.
According to Rosasco, the top-selling bull in the sale was 85K – FABZ/HLL Kash 106K, a purebred Simmental bull consigned by Fabrizius Land and Cattle that brought $4,500.
A promising future
After seeing so much success in the first year of their sale, Rosasco noted the CALSNR is already looking forward to the promising future of this program. In fact, the team has started planning next year’s test with the hope of continuing to build the program in an effort to better serve producers and students.
Rosasco explained the upcoming test will continue collecting data on reproductive testing, carcass ultrasound measurements and PAP scores, while also transitioning into a longer feed efficiency test, utilizing Vytelle SENSE (GrowSafe) and C-Lock, Inc. systems to measure feed intake and calculate feed efficiency metrics and animal performance.
“To accommodate a longer feeding period, we are planning to open entries for the test this summer, with bulls arriving in November 2023,” she noted.
Additionally, Rosasco said they hope to transition to more of a traditional live auction sale, with an online streaming option.
“Our goal in continuing this program is to serve as a resource for producers in the region to assess potential sires for the risk of brisket disease and their suitability to serve producers at high altitudes, provide unique and valuable experiences for students, become a proven source of performance and PAP-tested bulls for cow/calf producers across the region and serve the beef cattle industry in Wyoming,” she shared.
“We would like to thank all of the consignors and buyers for supporting the High Altitude Bull Test and Sale this year. We have high hopes for this program moving forward, and we appreciate the support,” she concluded.
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.