If you operate a winter calving program, now is the time to worry about bull soundness, and perhaps look for a new bull for the upcoming breeding season. Some counties actually offer bull soundness evaluation days where you can bring in a bull you already own and have it tested to make sure it is fertile by a vet. For example, one is upcoming in Morgan County. Contact your local Extension office for details on those kinds of programs, and where the closest site might be to your farm that would allow you to bring a bull for individual evaluation.
Meanwhile, anyone interested in tuning up for the spring beef breeding season can attend the Beef Evaluation Open House planned for the Feldun-Purdue farm near Bedford on Tuesday, April 10. The program begins at 2:30, with several presentations. Following the presentations, bulls currently on test at the facility will be available for viewing. Top-testing bulls will be offered for sale through the Springville Auction Barn the following week.
Keith Johnson, Purdue University Extension forage specialist, kicks things off with a discussion about the need to manage forages for yield, quality and persistence. Other scheduled speakers include Patrick Gunn, talking about how to use nutrition to maximize reproductive efficiency in 2-year old beef heifers, Terry Stewart, Purdue Animal Sciences professor, explaining the why and where for about keeping records, plus an overview of mating systems research at the Feldun-Purdue Center.
More talks will be offered on a rotating basis at the Bull Test Station as you view the cattle on test. Speakers include Larry Horstman, a Purdue vet, Ron Lemanger and Donna Lofgren. All of these topics will relate to preparing bulls for mating season, and/or understanding bull test data for those preparing to attend the sale and who need a breeding bull.
The actual IBEP bull sale for the spring edition will be Thursday, April 19, at Springville north of Bedford, beginning at 6 p.m. A supper is served before that event courtesy of IBEP, Lawrence County Cattlemen and the Indiana Beef Cattle Association.
Test data will be available on the bulls offered for sale from the IBEP test program. If you can't attend April 10 and hear Donna Lofgren discuss how to use sale catalog date, then contact your local Extension office for assistance.