March 01, 2016

March 11 bull sale includes video component

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Livestock buyers can attend the Southern Illinois University Carbondale performance-tested bull sale from their office or living room this year. 

The sale is an annual event, not counting a two-year hiatus, and is a valuable resource for livestock breeders in the area. The inclusion this year of a video component means the best bulls from this sale will be available to buyers from a much larger area of the Midwest – or even across the country. 

The sale is March 11 at 6:30 p.m., beginning with Senior Angus, then Senior Simmental x Angus, Senior Red Angus, Junior Simmental x Angus, Junior Angus, Junior Simmental and concluding with Junior Hereford. Registration begins at 4 p.m., awards and recognition for sponsors at 6 p.m. and the sale itself begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. Buyers may attend in person or online. The SIU Bull Test Station, also known as the Beef Evaluation Center, is at 628 Rowden Road, Carbondale. The on-site auctioneer is Cody Loderman. The video sale is through DVAuction

“This year includes a video sale,” noted Rebecca Atkinson, associate professor of animal science specializing in beef cattle. “This is a growing marketing outlet for cattle producers, but it is not something done frequently in the Midwest. I’m hopeful it will go well and increase the number of buyers.” 

Atkinson worked with a team of student interns to performance test the bulls from November 2015 until early February. One of the most important tests is true feed efficiency. A bull that makes the most efficient use of its feed grows better with less feed waste, a trait breeders can reasonably expect will be passed down to the bull’s calves. Other tests include frame scores, pelvic measurements and ultrasound carcass evaluation of fat, an indicator of meat quality. 

Atkinson and her team initially accepted 40 bulls into the program. Bulls must be healthy and manageable when they enter the program. In addition, the program accepts only bulls registered with a recognized cattle breed registry. The sale includes 34 bulls and seven heifers, three of which are bred. 

SIU students cared for and evaluated the bulls, and worked with DVAuction to establish the video component of the sale. The team, along with Atkinson, includes: Claire Hoffman (McHenry), an animal science major; Alissa Hoyt (Carrolton), an animal science major who specialized in marketing initiatives for this project; Alexis Johnson (Springfield, Tenn.), an animal science major; and Megan Tockstein (Odin), an animal science/pre-veterinary medicine major.  

“This is a great group of bulls with some high performance scores and a variety of genetics,” Atkinson said.