30 Years of WBCIA - Wheatland producer has top bull in index at ShoshoniWritten by Natasha Wheeler
Shoshoni – Bill Klein has been bringing his bulls to the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Association (WBCIA) Test and Sale for nearly 20 years.
“I started out the first year by taking three bulls to the test,” he says.
Although his bulls didn’t win that first year, they have shown top performance in many sales since then.
“I have always strived for bulls that will perform really well in the test,” Klein notes.
This year, 23 of Klein’s sires are being sold in the WBCIA test, meaning that they performed in the top 70 percent of all bulls tested this year.
He takes his bulls to Shoshoni annually, saying, “It gives me an idea of how my genetics are doing as far as growth and how they will preform against other breeders.”
Producers bring their bulls to Shoshoni each year in October, where they are fed a high-roughage diet and tested for weight gain performance over the course of several months.
“We haven’t always won, but we have always been toward the top. That is what we’re striving for,” explains Klein.
Based on average daily gain (ADG) and weight per day of age (WDA) data, the test bulls are scored on an index, in comparison to each other.
“Lot 392 is my best bull this year,” he notes.
Lot 392 is Klein Basin Excitement 9271, sired by Basin Excitement. He was the top scoring bull at this year’s sale with an ADG ratio of 122 and a WDA ratio of 118.
“We have to have a total package bull,” he says, explaining that his bulls should not only perform well in growth but in calving ease as well.
His top bull this year was born at the end of January at 78 pounds. He scored a 0.3 birthweight EPD and calving ease direct (CED) EPD of 11.
The winning bull also scored ultrasound EPDs of ribeye area (REA) I+.50, marbling I+.16 and fat I+.027.
Klein Basin Excitement 9271 wasn’t the only bull from Klein’s herd to preform in the top 70 percent of the WBCIA test. He has a number of bulls that are qualified for the upcoming sale.
“I look at the performance of the bulls, see how they did at the WBCIA test and decide which sires I will artificially inseminate (AI) to the next year,” comments Klein.
WBCIA bulls are tested to ensure that they are BVD free. Further tests include semen testing, PAP scores and ultrasound data.
“My cattle are known for calving ease,” mentions Klein.
Although not all of his bulls receive qualifying scores to receive the green WBCIA calving ease tags, Klein is confident in his sires.
“I have a few bulls that don’t meet the criteria for calving ease, but I am not afraid to use those in my own herd and on my own heifers,” he says.
Klein brings some of his own bulls back from the test to breed with his own herd.
“I breed about 200 head of heifers every year. I will collect from lot 392 this year to see how his calves come out of my commercial heifers,” he explains.
He sells some of his bred heifers each year, holding on to others to calve out and sell as pairs.
“I always try to have a selection of bulls, not just one or two bloodlines up there,” Klein notes.
This year’s bulls in the WBCIA sale come from sires such as 7 Z Nebraska 40104, Sydgen Mandate 6079, Klein Danny Boy 1865 and S A V Priority 7283.
“I have several different bloodlines, so I can compare the bulls within my herd, as well as with everyone else from the test,” he explains.
Klein focuses on producing high quality bulls.
“We aren’t in it to sell a lot of volume. We are in it to sell the best,” he states.
Klein Mandate 4530 scored an ADG ratio of 120, and Klein Nebraska 7412 had an ADG ratio of 118, proving top gain in Klein’s bulls at this year’s sale.
Klein raises his sires on a ranch near Wheatland, running the operation with his father.
“The bulls are my own personal deal, but my dad and I have a partnership,” he explains.
The Kleins farm about 1,000 acres, run approximately 300 commercial cows and also operate a feedlot.
“We have a 3,000 head feedlot that we background calves in,” he adds.
His cows and calves summer in the mountains west of Wheatland at an elevation of approximately 7,000 or more feet.
The operation runs a set of registered cows, which mother the bulls that Klein takes to the annual WBCIA sale.
“We have about 150 registered cows,” he notes. “We castrate a lot of bulls that many people would probably sell.”
Lower quality bulls are marketed as steers, and only the highest quality bulls are raised to be sires.
“We usually keep back 25 to 35 bull calves each year,” notes Klein.
The top bulls are taken to the WBCIA, where they show their worth and prove their top performance.
“The main thing is, we are raising bulls with low birth weight that will perform well for people,” states Klein.
At this year’s WBCIA sale, 110 bulls will be sold on April 4 at 1 p.m. at Pingetzer’s Bull and Heifer Development Center in Shoshoni.