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Shoshoni — According to UW Extension Beef Specialist Steve Paisley, the bulls consigned to the 2008-2009 Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association (WBCIA) Bull Test finished very strong.
    The 190 bulls were weighed off test the beginning of March at the Pingetzer Bull and Heifer Development Center near Shoshoni. “We continue to see a steady number of bulls, as well as consignors, participating in the annual test,” says Paisley in review. “This year’s group of bulls finished the 120-day test at 3.25 lb/day, with an average of 2.96 WDA. Although test ADG was down slightly from previous years, average WDA is exactly the same as previous years, indicating slightly younger bulls on test this year.”
    Bulls enrolled in this year’s test include two Balancer, 46 Red Angus, 22 commercial Red Angus and 120 registered Angus bulls. Following traditional policy, only the top 70 percent of the comparison groups will be eligible to sell in the WBCIA Bull Test Sale April 4 at the Pingetzer sale facility.
    “The quality of the genetics and the diversity are what makes the test the place to come to compare cattle,” says Bob Pingetzer, who feeds the cattle during the test and who entered the second gaining bull on test and the high indexing Red Angus bull. “The genetics get better every year, and that makes the competition.”
    The top gaining bull on test this year was #758, a registered Black Angus bull sired by Dale Banks Centennial 4822 and consigned by Steve Smith Angus of Lehi, Utah. He gained 4.15 lb/day over the 120-day test. #906 closely followed in the registered Red Angus division, gaining 4.10 lb/day. He was consigned by Pingetzer’s Six Iron Ranch of Shoshoni and sired by Six Cheyenne S7.   
    Additional top gainers included #940, a registered Red Angus bull sired by Six Hillbilly Harvest R34 and consigned by Pingetzer’s Six Iron Ranch, gaining 4.07 lb/day, and #644, a Balancer bull consigned by Steve Smith Angus, gaining 4.02 lb/d.
    Group performance over the test included 3.18 lb/day for the Red Angus division, 3.57 for the two Balancer bulls, 3.16 for the commercial Red Angus division and 3.24 lb/day for the registered Angus division.
    The registered Angus division, with an average WDA of 2.99, was led by #758, mentioned above, a Dale Banks Centennial 4822 son born Feb. 9 with a 4.15 ADG and 3.16 WDA. Steve Smith Angus owns him.
    Two bulls finished the test gaining 3.99 lb/day. #793 is a calving ease bull that is also the top WDA bull in the registered Black Angus division, sired by Connealy Danny Boy and owned by Klein Angus of Wheatland. This bull was born Jan. 22 with a 3.49 WDA. Also gaining 3.99 lb/day while on test with a 3.10 WDA is another calving ease bull born Jan. 24 and sired by Sitz New Design 349M, owned by Zorko’s 7Z Livestock of Laramie. Bull #774 is an additional calving ease bull that gained 3.91 lb/day with a 3.42 WDA. Rock Lake Land and Cattle, Wheatland, owns this Jan. 19 son of 7Z Nebraska 40104. Bull #793 also gained 3.91 lb/day, a Mytty In Focus calving ease son owned by Klein Angus of Wheatland, with a 3.33 WDA and a Jan. 23 birth date.
    The registered Red Angus division finished with a WDA average of 2.82 and was led by the top gaining Red Angus bull #906 consigned by Pingetzer’s Six Iron Ranch, mentioned above. This Feb. 25 born Six Cheyenne S7 son gained 4.10 over the test with a 3.26 WDA. He was followed by #940, a Six Hillbilly’s Harvest R34 son gaining 4.07 lb/day with a 3.06 WDA. Pingetzer’s Six Iron Ranch owns this Feb. 5 born son. Next is #904, another Six Cheyenne S7 bull owned by Shaide Pingetzer of Shoshoni, gaining 4.02 over the test with a 3.32 WDA. The top WDA bull in the registered Red Angus division was #903, a March 17 born son of C-T Montana 00647 owned by Lyle Taylor of Vernal, Utah with a 3.39 WDA.
     Steve Smith Angus owns both head of Balancer bulls. The top gaining Balancer bull is #644, a Feb. 14 born son of Manning Selma Alliance 11 with an ADG of 4.02 and a 3.50 WDA.
    The 22 head of commercial Red Angus bulls averaged 3.16 lb/day during the test, with an average WDA of 3.03. The top gaining commercial Red Angus bull was #459, sired by Remington Red Label and consigned by Clabaugh Cattle Co., Gillette. This March 14 born bull gained 3.85 lb/day with a WDA of 3.34. Next in the commercial Red Angus division was #462, a bull also consigned by Clabaugh Cattle Co., sired by Travelin Express gaining 3.67 lb/day with a 3.33 WDA. The top WDA bull in the commercial Red Angus division was #457, a Mission Statement son born March 5 owned by Clabaugh Cattle Co., with a 3.48 WDA.
    All bulls have been ear-notched and have been found to be PI negative (PIN) for BVD. Also, all the bulls that qualify for the sale will have passed a BSE (Breeding Soundness Exam). There will also be ultrasound information available on a supplemental sheet the day of the sale. PAP testing will also be performed on some of the bulls. This list will also be available the day of the sale.
    “The WBCIA Bull Test is a place to get your name known and compare your cattle to a lot of different operations under the same environmental conditions,” says Pingetzer. “It’s a place for small breeders to showcase their cattle, and for the buyer there are some very good cattle at reasonable prices.”
    He adds there’s a lot of data to back up the performance records on the bulls. “There are calving ease bulls with performance in volume, and this is an opportunity for buyers to see which genetics work for the environment.”
    “Please stop by the Pingetzer Bull and Heifer Development Center any time to evaluate the bulls prior to the sale,” says Paisley. “If you are interested in a particular bull, contact us and we will try to answer any questions that you have or put you in contact with the breeder.”
    “Be sure to join us for the sale Saturday, April 4 starting at 1 PM at the Pingetzer test facility north of Riverton,” urges Paisley.
    Additional information and test reports may be obtained by contacting either Bob and Paige Pingetzer at 307-856-4401 or Steve Paisley at 307-760-1561. Article compiled by Steve Paisley and Christy Hemken, assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.

Shoshoni – Bill Klein has been bringing his bulls to the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association (WBCIA) Test and Sale for nearly 20 years.

“I started out the first year by taking three bulls to the test,” he says.

Although his bulls didn’t win that first year, they have shown top performance in many sales since then.

“I have always strived for bulls that will perform really well in the test,” Klein notes.

This year, 23 of Klein’s sires are being sold in the WBCIA test, meaning that they performed in the top 70 percent of all bulls tested this year.

He takes his bulls to Shoshoni annually, saying, “It gives me an idea of how my genetics are doing as far as growth and how they will preform against other breeders.”

Bull test

Producers bring their bulls to Shoshoni each year in October, where they are fed a high-roughage diet and tested for weight gain performance over the course of several months.

“We haven’t always won, but we have always been toward the top. That is what we’re striving for,” explains Klein.

Based on average daily gain (ADG) and weight per day of age (WDA) data, the test bulls are scored on an index, in comparison to each other.

“Lot 392 is my best bull this year,” he notes.

Lot 392 is Klein Basin Excitement 9271, sired by Basin Excitement. He was the top scoring bull at this year’s sale with an ADG ratio of 122 and a WDA ratio of 118.

“We have to have a total package bull,” he says, explaining that his bulls should not only perform well in growth but in calving ease as well.

His top bull this year was born at the end of January at 78 pounds. He scored a 0.3 birthweight EPD and calving ease direct (CED) EPD of 11.

The winning bull also scored ultrasound EPDs of ribeye area (REA) I+.50, marbling I+.16 and fat I+.027.

Klein Basin Excitement 9271 wasn’t the only bull from Klein’s herd to preform in the top 70 percent of the WBCIA test. He has a number of bulls that are qualified for the upcoming sale.

“I look at the performance of the bulls, see how they did at the WBCIA test and decide which sires I will artificially inseminate (AI) to the next year,” comments Klein.

WBCIA bulls are tested to ensure that they are BVD free. Further tests include semen testing, PAP scores and ultrasound data. 

Calving ease

“My cattle are known for calving ease,” mentions Klein.

Although not all of his bulls receive qualifying scores to receive the green WBCIA calving ease tags, Klein is confident in his sires.

“I have a few bulls that don’t meet the criteria for calving ease, but I am not afraid to use those in my own herd and on my own heifers,” he says.

Klein brings some of his own bulls back from the test to breed with his own herd.

“I breed about 200 head of heifers every year. I will collect from lot 392 this year to see how his calves come out of my commercial heifers,” he explains.

He sells some of his bred heifers each year, holding on to others to calve out and sell as pairs.

Diverse bloodlines

“I always try to have a selection of bulls, not just one or two bloodlines up there,” Klein notes.

This year’s bulls in the WBCIA sale come from sires such as 7 Z Nebraska 40104, Sydgen Mandate 6079, Klein Danny Boy 1865 and S A V Priority 7283.

“I have several different bloodlines, so I can compare the bulls within my herd, as well as with everyone else from the test,” he explains.

Klein focuses on producing high quality bulls. 

“We aren’t in it to sell a lot of volume. We are in it to sell the best,” he states.

Klein Mandate 4530 scored an ADG ratio of 120, and Klein Nebraska 7412 had an ADG ratio of 118, proving top gain in Klein’s bulls at this year’s sale.

Klein raises his sires on a ranch near Wheatland, running the operation with his father.

“The bulls are my own personal deal, but my dad and I have a partnership,” he explains.

Other business

The Kleins farm about 1,000 acres, run approximately 300 commercial cows and also operate a feedlot.

“We have a 3,000 head feedlot that we background calves in,” he adds.

His cows and calves summer in the mountains west of Wheatland at an elevation of approximately 7,000 or more feet.

The operation runs a set of registered cows, which mother the bulls that Klein takes to the annual WBCIA sale.

“We have about 150 registered cows,” he notes. “We castrate a lot of bulls that many people would probably sell.”

Lower quality bulls are marketed as steers, and only the highest quality bulls are raised to be sires.

“We usually keep back 25 to 35 bull calves each year,” notes Klein.

The top bulls are taken to the WBCIA, where they show their worth and prove their top performance.

“The main thing is, we are raising bulls with low birth weight that will perform well for people,” states Klein.

At this year’s WBCIA sale, 110 bulls will be sold on April 4 at 1 p.m. at Pingetzer’s Bull and Heifer Development Center in Shoshoni.

Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Whitman, Neb. – Production agriculture may be one of the most difficult fields a young person could select for a career. Thousands of youth who look at ranching or farming on their own must be prepared for astronomical capital requirements, long hours and days, little time for vacation and few days off.

Once these prospective youth take all that into account, the field of candidates dwindles down rapidly. But there are things a youth who is truly committed to the agriculture way of life can do to make the path a little easier.

During a recent open house at the University of Nebraska Gudmundsen Laboratory in Whitman, Neb., the audience had the opportunity to ask a panel of elite seedstock producers a variety of questions.

Advice for youth

Several high school and college students were on hand that day, and their question for Loren Berger, Jerry Wulf and Jerry Connealy was what advice these ranchers would have for youth starting out in the ranching business.

“It is no mystery that, for someone wanting to get into our business, the capital requirements are astronomical,” according to Berger, a second-generation seedstock producer from North Platte, Neb. at Berger’s Herdmasters.

“For a rancher planning to pass the ranch on to the next generation, there needs to be a written plan specifying when and where there will be a transition in management,” he stated. “Verbal agreements are not good enough. Some type of tragedy will happen, things change and suddenly the operation someone has just invested half their life in will never be theirs.”

Gaining experience

For young people starting out, the panelists agree it is a good idea to get some experience away from the home operation.

“Getting involved with someone else who is doing something similar may be of tremendous value to youth,” Berger told the students. “It allows them to see how other people think and how they do things. It also gives young people some experience they may not be able to get if they go directly to the home operation.”

One problem the panelists pointed out that they have seen over and over again, is in many families, the children feel they are entitled to a higher standard of living and management responsibilities from the beginning.

“Some kids have the expectation that because they are family, they should start out at the same standard of living that their parents took 40 to 50 years to achieve,” Berger said. “That is difficult for some people to accept, but in most operations there is a transition time. There needs to be a willingness to do some sacrificing from the younger generation – not only in terms of economics but also to prove they have what it takes to assume some management.”

“People who are in charge need to give young people the opportunity to make some mistakes, and develop those management skills. It doesn’t just happen overnight, but it is the key ingredient to becoming successful,” he said.

Reaching success

Jerry Wulf was the second generation to manage Wulf Cattle Company, based in Morris, Minn. His father, the late Leonard Wulf, founded the company in 1955. Wulf and his brothers have now relinquished management to the third generation of Wulfs.

“In the last 60 years, we have been blessed with some significant growth,” Wulf said. “But what got us from A to B isn’t the same as what got us from B to C. Going from generation two to three, we found it to be beneficial to separate ownership from management, which means just because you are a Wulf, didn’t make them automatically entitled to management. We didn’t want to restrict new talent, and especially the right talent, from coming into the company.”

Wulf said he and his brothers wanted to set the new generation up for long-term success.

“We have to take more of a business aspect, even though the company still carries the family name and values,” Wulf continued. “It is different for cousins to work together versus brothers. We run our company like a business, and we don’t get buried in the family dynamics.”

Gayle Smith is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lingle — When the opportunity arose to test bulls for efficiency — how well they convert feed to pounds — Larry Morrison of 7X Ranches near Lingle welcomed the news. “You’ve got to work at it,” he says of improving feed efficiency, “but it’s one that has an actual dollar value.”
    Testing bulls at the Midland Bull Test and with the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association (WBCIA) test since the late 1990s, Morrison was already watching the numbers as they related to his cattle. Larry doesn’t have cattle on test with WBCIA this year, but his long-time involvement with the program and his commitment to quality seedstock production have earned him recognition as the WBCIA’s seedstock producer of the year.
    Raising show cattle and working as an airline pilot from Washington State, Larry and his family have a long history in the cattle business. When Larry, a Wyoming native and a University of Wyoming alumnus, returned to the state in 1996 he purchased a farm and ranching operation near Lingle. He also began the change from show cattle to seedstock production.
    A few year’s back when Larry came down with West Nile Virus, he asked his son Wayne to return to the family operation. He and his wife Carol have two other children who live in Texas. Wayne says he was glad to return to the family ranch.
    Establishing a family trust, Larry says there are educational and other requirements members of the family must meet before returning to the ranch. “You should always have goals,” comments Larry not just talking about his cattle, but life in general. “Once you have a goal you can talk about what you need to do to get there.”
    “I researched what bloodlines would work on what we had,” says Larry. “I got started with a Traveler bull. It’s a bloodline that’s worked very well for us. Most everything we have has 6807 in it.”
    “We can walk up to almost any cow out there,” Larry says of the 7X Ranch’s focus on docility. “If I need to pick up a calf and take it someplace I don’t have to worry about the cow.”
    The ranch collects its own bulls and then artificially inseminates the heifers and the cows. “We were starting to get strung out on our calving season,” says Wayne. “When you’re the night calver, that’s not any fun.” Beyond a goal to shorten calving season Wayne explains, “The bull that cleans up is the same bull the semen came from.” For paperwork reasons he says it makes it easier to determine sires.
    Larry says they choose high-quality bulls to add to their program. “On these bulls we buy we’ve competed with some of the AI people who have bid on them as well,” he says. This past year he says they used Rito Prime 1I5 in exchange for sending on of their bulls to Texas for the breeding season. “Rito Prime has been in the AI catalogs,” says Larry. Happy with the calves, he says, “We’ll go ahead now and bring one of our own bulls back in. It’s nice to have an animal out there that’s a sire when someone comes to look at the calves.”
    The top end of 7X Ranch’s bull calves go to test at Midland. The remainder sell via private treaty at the ranch. Larry says they only sell their best bull calves.
    With one of the top performing bulls through the second weigh-in at Midland last year, Larry laughs, “He must not have drank water the day the last weights were taken.” Despite the fact he fell back in ranking, he was still among the top-selling bulls at the test. Larry says with their cattle numbers increasing that they plan to participate in additional tests in the coming years.
    Wayne sees the information they receive on efficiency, based on a GrowSafe system that measures individual feed intake, becoming broader and increasingly more important. “They’re finding out that the big, punchy, chunky one might not be the one eating the most feed,” he says.
    “Efficient animals will always be popular,” says Wayne of their commitment not to chase fads. “Nobody wants to feed any more than they have to. Going forward we’re going to maintain the line.”
    “If you chase a fad,” says Larry, “you’ve lost what you’ve accomplished.”
    “You’ll see the fads go up and down and hopefully we’ll be right in the middle,” says Wayne. “There’s a lot to be said for staying the course.”
    Cows returning to the herd are an equal, if not sometimes greater, part of the plan to reach the goals they’ve set for the 7X Ranch cattle. Larry and Wayne spend a lot of time studying bloodlines, performance records and any bits of information that might aid in their goal to produce increasingly better cattle.
    “When I look at the production of the dam I want to see the calving interval, what their ratio was with the rest of the herd and just how much performance they’ve brought on,” says Larry. “This is a maternal breed. I spend a lot more time on the dams than the bulls sometimes. You can go back into those pedigrees and see what all of them have done over time.”
    He says he’d like to see more sale catalogs with in-depth information. “When they don’t have a full pedigree, it’s awful hard to make a decision on that.”
    Larry says that Wayne is beginning to take over the operation. “This is always something I’ve enjoyed doing,” says Wayne. “When we were five years old we got our first cow. At five you do what you can, but pretty soon that developed into a show animal. I didn’t have a skateboard, but I really enjoyed this kind of lifestyle.”
    Larry says he’ll still be watching over Wayne’s shoulder. There’s little chance, however, he’ll need to stress his belief in testing. Wayne’s likely to continue. “It’s a snapshot of where you’re at,” says Wayne, “and provides you the information to go forward.”
    Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Casper — “Get educated or get educated,” says Garret Falkenburg of one of the many rules by which he and his wife Shelly operate their ranch south of Douglas. “It’s easier to learn on your own terms because the other way hurts,” he explains.
    “Getting educated” — Garret’s quest for knowledge — is one aspect of what earned him recognition as the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association’s Commercial Producer of the Year. Willing to consider new ideas and opportunities, he’s a participant in the Wyoming Business Council’s source and age verified program, he retained ownership on his heifers through harvest this past year and has gathered valuable data to help improve his herd.
    Returning to the family ranch after high school, Garret says he and his father operated the ranch as a spring calving operation, selling calves in the fall. In 1983 they changed part of their spring-calving herd of Black Angus to a fall calving program to address scours. In 1986, with the help of his parents, Garret and Shelly bought an adjoining ranch, which is very suited for summer calving. Garret has since moved all of his cows over to summer calving.
    “In the beginning we used to calve from July into August, but have since moved to June and July with weaning as early as December,” says. “In the early years we used to haul the calves, leaving the cows at another place. After weaning, the calves were fed whole second cutting on the ground and grain in a bunk, and ran on a meadow. Not liking the results, I built a feedrack to feed ground hay and hold calves a little more in confinement. I was trying to put on ‘average daily gain’ instead of ‘day of age.’ In one year, selling weights were 100 pounds heavier,” says Garret. Fenceline weaning, says Garret, has also improved the health of his calves.
    “They’re weaned in half the time,” he says. “It contains the shrink,” he explains of the system where the calves are fed in bunks adjacent to a pasture that holds the cows. Coupling that with nutritional advice from Jack Settlemire with Ranchway Feeds, he says the calves are not on feed, they are on a balanced ration.
    After sorting heifer calves to determine which ones will re-enter the herd, this past year Garret retained ownership on the remaining heifers and fed them out with Decatur County Feedyards in Kansas. Healthy animals, aided by the benefits of fenceline weaning, are a tremendous value according to Garret. “Sickness in the feedyard costs you three ways. It costs $18 per trip each time one of my animals had to be doctored. It also reduces returns in lower feed conversion. If they’re doctored once they may not drop a grade, but run them through more than once and you are guaranteed to go from choice to select,” he says.
    Garret says he learned a lot from the data from his heifers. For one, he says he needs to address the size of the ribeyes in his cattle. Hanging, he says, the expectation is 1.1 square inches per 100 pounds of hot carcass weight.
    “When the cattle don’t meet industry standards, you take a deduction. You don’t have anyone to blame but yourself. If that isn’t incentive enough to change your cattle, I don’t don’t what is, He who took a hit was the one who needed to,” he laughs. “We learned so much. Producers live in this cocoon and do not understand feed or the kill side of the business.” Garret says he’s learned a great deal after feeding out this first pen and sees new opportunity for improving his cattle from a new, more end-product-oriented viewpoint.
    Garret hopes the market dynamics will allow him to retain ownership again this year. He uses a program on the Risk Management Agency’s website that predicts returns on feeder cattle. If it isn’t showing a profit on retained ownership, he says he’ll sell them as feeders.
    Regardless of this year’s outcome, he’s still planning to add an “under the hide” component to selecting this year’s replacement stock. Dr. Steve Paisley, Extension Beef Specialist with the University of Wyoming and a certified ultrasound technician, will be ultrasounding Garret’s heifers. The size of their ribeyes, says Garret, will be a factor in which ones he keeps.
    The ultrasound information will build on the foundational program through which he’s kept an eye on structural soundness, a good udder and muscling. “Now we’re going to have a look under the hide,” he says. “Up until now it’s been cosmetic. This is one more tool to make a better end product.”
    “I used to look at weaning weight, yearling weight and milk EPDs on bulls for the cows, plus birthweight on bulls for the heifers,” says Garret. “Now I’m thinking I don’t care if he’s an ugly bull if his calves hang well.” Garret says he’s seeking out seedstock producers who offer additional carcass information as he plans to make his future bull purchases.
    Another change Garret plans to make is keeping his heifers longer before sending them to the feedyard. It’s a move he hopes will bring his cost of gain down. It may also help increase ribeye size as the cattle will have more time to develop a muscle base before being put on a gain ration. Last year Garret says his heifers gained an average 3.65 pounds per day at Decatur County Feedyards.
    Plus he says, “Days on feed equal days at risk” in terms of animal health. He doesn’t, however, want to push the timeline too far and not have the cattle harvest ready prior to the 20 months old threshold set by the Japanese market.
    By participating in the Wyoming Business Council’s source and age verified program with John Henn, Garret says he saw a $25 per head premium on the first bunch of his fat heifers that went to harvest and $40 on the last half. Decatur County Feedyard uses a unique program through which fat cattle are sorted into pens of “days to finish” instead of by ownership.
    “There’s a rainbow at the end if you can get there,” says Garret of the opportunities he sees in retained ownership. Premium opportunities, he says, exist through programs like Certified Angus Beef and on the choice to select spread. It’s also brought a new challenge and opportunity to ranching.
    Garret and Shelly’s son Mitch – a student at Eastern Wyoming Community College – has also brought a touch of retained ownership to the ranch. Selling fat beef to area customers, he’s established a healthy clientele. Garret says it has proven to be a value added outlet for open heifers and another place to gather data off of his cattle. Mitch will receive a welding degree and a beef certificate from EWC this spring and plans to further pursue his education studying meat science at the University of Wyoming.
    Garret serves on the Wyoming Stock Growers Association Board of Directors as well as the Converse County Weed & Pest board. Shelly, who teaches fourth grade in Douglas, is a member of the Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom Board and serves on the local Conservation District Board.
    Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..