Iowa Bull Clinics: Selection Decisions 2005

Byron Leu, Livestock Field Specialist, Southeast Iowa


Commercial bull selection is an important but challenging process. Many producers are confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information being generated and used in bull selection. How do producers sort through this maze of data to select a bull that fits their operation's needs and goals?


The Iowa Bull Clinics: Selection Decisions 2005 series was developed and facilitated by Dr. Daryl Strohbehn, ISU Beef Specialist, and Extension Livestock Field Specialists Carl Neifert and Byron Leu. The program identified three focus questions: 1) What is the market of the future; 2) How do producers wade through the data to select the 'best' bull for their operation; and 3)Gene markers--what products are available. By addressing these three questions, producers would have a more clearly defined bull criterion from which to make their selection(s). The educational segment of the program discussed the three points followed by a hands-on workshop with attendees. This approach incorporated the presented information into a bull buying exercise for the participants, using their own operation's information/data and future goals. A new computer-based sire sort program (Selection Emphasis Module) was demonstrated during this workshop.

The program was presented at eight different sites throughout the state. Dr. Strohbehn presented at all the programs with Neifert or Leu sharing presentation and facilitation responsibilities. A registration fee was charged. The program was sponsored by the Iowa Beef Center (IBC).


The IBC series of eight Iowa Bull Clinics: Selection Decisions 2005 was attended by over 125 participants. Each of the eight locations was evaluated and a summary was generated. Overall, attendees rated the usefulness of the program at 7.52 on a 10-point scale. The workshop segment of the program, which included the bull selection exercise, had a rating range of 5.42 to 5.91 on a 7-point scale.

The summarized responses reflected that attendees found the presented information and selection process to be helpful (7.37 on a 10-point scale). Over 57% of the attendees responded that they had learned 3-4 or more new concepts at the program, with 43% indicating they had learned at least 1-2 new concepts/ideas. Everyone went back home to their operation with new ideas!

When asked if they planned to apply new information or make changes in their operation as a result of this meeting, 83% indicated 'Yes'--an extremely positive response. Example 'changes' included incorporation of the selection process outlined during the program, using different selection criteria, and adapting goals and trait emphasis.

20% of the responses indicated that the bull selection clinic resulted in an economic impact of $1,000 or greater. 32% reported a financial impact of $500-$1,000. In other words, over 50% reported a financial improvement of over $500! The areas identified as most valuable were the EPD discussion segment and the hands-on bull selection exercise. Overall, 90% indicated the program provided an increased economic impact to their operation.

March 12, 2005
107 - Iowa Beef Center, 2nd (Jan - March)

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