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All Forage Bull Test Gearing Up For Year 3

By   /  September 1, 2014  /  3 Comments

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Learn more about the test by clicking here.

Learn more about the test by clicking here.

I’m sending out this forward to let you all know in black and white about the Cornell All Forage Bull Test. This year there was a lot of producer input in the design of the test and a lot of feedback from previous consignors as to what data is economically important. Of course, many of you already develop and sell or purchase bulls only developed on forage. What this test offers to consignors is a great opportunity to collect objective data on the animals we are producing and a relatively low cost.

One very important note here is to see what a drastic departure this bull test is for a large land-grant university. I don’t know of any other research based university in the country that is conducting an all-forage fed bull test. A number of folks from the Extension Service from our neighbor to the south have withdrawn their support from their university’s bull test in favor of the “more real world” test being offered by Cornell.

Something else this test offers is a great new way to network with potential customers and sellers of cattle. I see it as something of an extension of Fair Season. It’s always great to go to the county fair and catch up with folks you have a lot in common with but don’t get to see very often, check out the cattle, and generally have a good time.

There are a number of us producers who are consigning bulls to this year’s test who intend to put a bull sale together to market those animals coming off test. Probably this will be a June sale. In order to make the sale a strong one we are driving for a minimum of 30 bulls consigned. The test itself has a maximum limit of 50 bulls. Each farm will be able to consign a maximum of four (4) bulls unless there is more pen space available.

Beral of Wye, one of Morgan's fine bulls that has moved on to Kit Pharo's ranch.

Beral of Wye, one of Morgan’s fine bulls that has moved on to Kit Pharo’s ranch.

I encourage you all to look into this year’s test and if you produce registered beef cattle, consider consigning bulls. If you are not a breeder of registered stock I encourage you to support this test by contacting friends and neighbors about this test.

Finally, vocally supporting the Cornell All-forage Fed Bull Test does something vitally important here in NY and the Northeast more generally. By supporting this test with consigned cattle and spreading the word vocally and in print we send the message to Cornell University (not just Dr. Baker) that this kind of research is important to the many and growing number of Grass-fed Beef producers in our part of the country and beyond. This message proves there is not just a fad in the soil-building, least cost production model of cattle production, there is an economic driver here.

You can read more about the test here.  If you have questions about the test, getting bulls consigned, or have a desire to support this test and want to send that message to Cornell University and beyond, contact Nancy Glazier at nig3@cornell.edu, Dr. Mike Baker at mjb228@cornell.edu, Brett Chedzoy at bjc226@cornell.edu or you can reach me by any of the usual routes.

Cheers and all the best,

Morgan

PS- we could really use a consignment or two of Hereford, Red Angus, and Murray Grey cattle, not to mention Devon. Please put out the word!

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About the author

Morgan Hartman is a grazier and Founder/Managing Partner of Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY. He regularly can be found near a smoky fire with greasy fingers and a well-fed expression on his face. Less frequently he can be found actually working.

3 Comments

  1. Morgan Hartman says:

    While there are several all-forage development programs across the country and across many breeds, I don’t know of any that are fully research based.
    As a producer of registered cattle and a potential consignor, I wanted to see this test incorporate a minimum of 60 days of grazing to follow the stored forage phase of the test. That would have made the test a 200 day period.
    For many logistical reasons Cornell’s test facility could not accommodate the grazing portion of the test, so it’s not happening this year.
    What we do have is a 140 day period in which to track feed consumption, body condition, genomic testing, ultrasound, weight gain, fertility testing. All of us who sat around the table, researchers, producers and Extension Personnel want to see diversity of breeds represented and even strains within individual breeds. The maximum number of cattle the current facility can hold is currently pegged at 50. So that’s how many bulls are being accepted, with a maximum of 4 bulls per farm/ranch. If the total number of bulls consigned is less than 50, then producers with cattle already consigned will likely be asked to consign more to reach the maximum able to fit.
    From a research standpoint, and in order to reach statistically relevant conclusions, it is imperative to have large data sets. The hope is to have more people willing to consign than we have slots for. If this can be pushed in terms of interest and in terms volume, then the likelihood of the university responding to that by increasing volume/capacity to do further research will increase commensurately.
    I do know there is currently interest from producers as far away as the Sand Hills in Nebraska and Southeast Georgia.
    Hope that helps.

  2. Nice article–thanks for drawing attention to this. Are any similar tests or research studies happening in the western half of the country?

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