Mesalands students aid in bull test

Staff Report

Animal Science students at Mesalands Community College recently completed a 120-day data Bull Test that helped them to gain hands-on experience collecting essential data that will be used for the bull sale Saturday at the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center in Tucumcari.

The Bull Test began in October when 13 bull producers from Colorado, New Mexico and Texas brought their nearly one-year old calves to the NMSU Agricultural Science Center, said Staci Stanbrough, an animal science faculty member.

Stanbrough said there were a total of 105 Angus and 15 Hereford purebred bulls that were evaluated. She said the major objective of the Bull Test is to collect data on the feed efficiency and growth factors of the bulls. As a result, the Animal Science students would weigh the bulls to see how much they gained every 30 days, Stanbrough added.

The students also had the opportunity to use a Grow Safe feeding system that was purchased by the producers. This data collection system gave the students individual feed intake of the bulls.

Stanbrough said this equipment and technology cost approximately $100,000; fewer than 15 facilities nationally have this sort of feeding system.

“The whole idea of the Bull Test is to put data in the hands of buyers. Therefore, producers are not just buying bulls on visual appraisal alone. There is that balance and our students did all of the data collection,” Stanbrough said. “Not only are our students networking and meeting cattle producers, but they are also getting involved with research at the university level.”

Stanbrough said the students also helped with maintaining the health program of the bulls. This included treating any sick animals and assisting the veterinarian with injectable wormers, that kill internal parasites. She said the students also helped with carcass ultrasound and breed soundness exams.

Stanbrough said these bulls will be taken to various ranches and will be used to produce the next generation of calves.

Stanbrough said the Bull Test coincided with what she is currently teaching in her Animal Science classes at Mesalands, including: Beef Production, Livestock Evaluation, and Principles of Nutrition. She stated every aspect of Bull Testing fits in with what her students are learning in class.

Jessie Estill, Animal Science student and a member of the Mesalands Rodeo Team from Lovelock, Nevada, said he has learned a great deal about bulls from participating in the Bull test.

“My family owns a ranch and my dad is a genius when it comes to bulls. He has to know this kind of information to know which bulls to buy,” Estill said.

Estill said he has a big spreadsheet of all of the information we collected during the Bull Test. He said he was talking to his dad about what everything means and what we are looking for like the bull’s initial weight, and weight for every 30 days and average daily gain.

“Ms. Stanbrough is really big on hands-on experience,” Estill said. “Our livestock evaluation class is pretty much top of the line. We are getting into the hands-on part of genetic evaluation and that’s getting really detailed.”

Estill said he applied for a summer internship with the NMSU Extension Office in Tucumcari. He says if he gets the internship, he already has plenty of experience from the Bull Test and working with Marci Ward, Bull Test director with NMSU. If he is selected, Ward would be his supervisor.

Stanbrough has gone above and beyond to enhance the Animal Science Program at Mesalands, said Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs.

“I want to give Staci the credit. She’s the one that has done all of the work. I think she has been an excellent addition to the faculty at Mesalands,” Gillard said. “She is showing students all of the various opportunities for future employment in this field. Students are gaining real-world experience, while building relationships through networking.”

Mesalands students will be helping with the bull sale on Saturday at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center. Stanbrough said the best part is getting to see all of the student’s hard work pay off with the sale.

Stanbrough said a lot of thanks goes to the NMSU Agricultural Science Center; T-4 Ranch; Tucumcari Feedlot and Feedyard; and veterinarian James Tompkins.

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