Extension by Scott LakeWritten by Scott Lake
By Scott Lake, UW Extension Livestock Specialist
In an effort to increase the exposure to production agriculture, the University of Wyoming’s (UW) Animal Science department is developing new curriculum to increase student exposure to production agriculture and add more class options that focus on beef cattle.
Recently, the UW beef unit has undergone an overhaul on its breeding program. At the prompting of Doug Hixon, animal science department head, the direction and focus of the breeding program is to create moderate-framed cattle that will perform in the harsh environments of Wyoming while still weaning a good-sized calf and performing well in the feedlot. Selecting for bulls that will provide heterosis, produce good quality females, add growth to calves and are highly efficient is the key to the program.
The UW herd is traditionally an Angus-based herd. With our new breeding program, we are breeding via artificial insemination to Hereford bulls and cleaning up with continental-influenced bulls (SimAngus) as a terminal cross. We have finished up the third year of breeding, and the second calf crop is on the ground. We have just finished harvesting the first steer calf crop in the feedlot and bred back to the first group of replacement heifers. Therefore, this is the perfect timing to begin our new beef leadership and heifer development class.
The class will be a two part class that will also focus on leadership opportunities within the beef industry. The first part of the class will allow students to interact with some of the most influential leaders in the beef industry and visit some of the most proactive industry organizations and producers within the state and region. We are fortunate to live in an area that is in close proximity and allows easy access to many organizations that are instrumental in beef production, as well as the political side of agriculture.
The second part of the class will focus on all aspects of heifer development – from selection of replacements, development into a breeding female, synchronization and post-AI management. The culmination of the class is going to be a student-organized and run bred heifer production sale.
Students will be actively involved with selection, breeding, advertising and all aspects of organizing the production sale. The first sale will be October 2012, at the UW Hansen Arena. UW will be offering 15 to 20 quality, F1 Angus-Hereford cross bred heifers that have been AI bred.
In addition to the UW cattle, we are also looking for consigners that are willing to place up to five to 10 head (from each consigner) of bred heifers into the sale.
In addition to the bred female sale, lunch will be provided and informative booths and demonstrations will be on hand. We hope to start a Beef Cattleman’s Day in conjunction with the sale that will become a tradition.
We appreciate your support of our programs and hope that you can consign some heifers for the sale, purchase some replacement heifers or just enjoy the day with us!
Please contact Scott Lake at 307-460-8129 or Travis Smith at 307-399-7674 with any questions about the sale.