West Virginia University’s Reymann Memorial Farm in Wardensville is a place where agriculture meets technology, and where technology helps farmers succeed. Each year the farm hosts a bull evaluation program and sale using technology to identify which bulls are more productive and profitable than others—helping to sustain and grow the state’s farm economy.
Today (March 27) at noon, more than 100 bulls will be auctioned to the highest bidder after undergoing an 85-day evaluation. This year marks the 47th anniversary of the event, which assesses each animal on multiple standards, including structure, muscling, feed efficiency and many other attributes.
The goal of the program is to increase the efficiency and profitability of West Virginia cattlemen. Bulls are heavily scrutinized and those that aren’t up to par are eliminated from the sale.
The program is a collaboration between WVU Extension Service, the West Virginia Cattleman’s Association, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.
With the use of advanced feed-tracking technology, weight monitoring systems and ultrasound, the bulls are evaluated for genetic merit, in other words, their ability to yield productive, profitable and sustainable calves.
“These are just some of the technologies being used by WVU to assist the agriculture industry and help farms succeed,” said Kevin Shaffer, WVU Extension livestock production specialist.
The evaluation allows buyers to purchase animals that will help improve their farm business, and make the most of their farming efforts to increase their “bottom line.”
According to Shaffer, having a genetically superior animal translates into a more sustainable farming enterprise.
“How efficiently an animal converts feed into high quality protein food products has a significant impact on a farmer’s investment in the animal, and the return on that investment,” he explained.
“If a bull can convert feed into marketable food products even 10 percent more efficiently than another bull, it can translate into thousands of dollars in savings for the producer and the consumer over the long term.”
Bulls are tested as yearlings and are kept in the same environment so each can be evaluated equally and accurately. Each bull is identified with a radio frequency tag, and equipment monitors how much feed the animal is consuming by monitoring feed container weight, down to the last half-gram.
For more information about WVU’s Wardensville Bull Evaluation Program, contact Kevin Shaffer at 304-293-2669, or visit bulltest.ext.wvu.edu. You can also connect to the event via a live audio feed available through the website during the event.
By way of local offices, WVU Extension Service maintains a presence in all 55 counties across the state of West Virginia. Backed by trusted research, WVU Extension Service brings the resources of the University to the people, improving their daily lives through numerous programs in the areas of 4-H and youth development; families and health; community, economic and workforce development; and agriculture and natural resources.
CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
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