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Revamped Tucumcari Bull Test Sale Set for March 16

TUCUMCARI - Southwestern cattle producers seeking to boost the quality of their herds in the New Year can literally take the bull by the horns at the Tucumcari Bull Test Sale March 16. The sale at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari will shift from a traditional auction to a private treaty sale.

Martin Mead, a technician with at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari, keeps a close eye on two bulls in the 43rd edition of the Tucumcari Bull Test. This year, the annual sale at noon on March 16 has been revamped from a traditional auction to a private treaty sale. (01/14/2004) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Norman Martin)

"This year cattle producers looking for performance-tested bulls and heifers will have the opportunity to negotiate directly with sellers," said Ron Parker, head of NMSU's Extension animal resources department, in explaining the shift from a traditional auction to a private treaty sale. "The system should work well for both buyers and sellers, since the buyer immediately knows the price of the bull, and the seller determines beforehand what he is willing to accept for each animal."

Sellers will display their asking prices at the beginning of the day, and buyers will then have the opportunity to select the animals they want, he said.

Another twist in this year's sale is that both bulls and heifers are offered, said Don Smith, president of the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association. Breeds of bulls on test this year include Angus, Charolais, Santa Gertrudis, Hereford, Red Angus and Salers. Angus, Charolais and Salers heifers are entered in NMSU's replacement heifer development program .

During the past four decades NMSU livestock experts have tested more than 4,500 bulls. Breeders brought bull and heifer calves to Tucumcari last October for the 112-day, weight-gain test. Each yearling's feed efficiency and breeding potential is evaluated before the sale.

The goal of the NMSU program is to bring calves to the test that are representative of the producer's herd, and assess them under uniform feeding and management. NMSU livestock researchers then measure performance and identify animals with superior genetic makeup for use in herds throughout the Southwest.

The decision to change the format of this year's sale from a traditional auction was made primarily due to a reduced number of bulls in the test, Parker said. New Mexico's prolonged drought has forced both purebred cattle producers, who test bulls at the facility, and commercial producers, who traditionally purchase bulls at the auction, to reduce their herds.

"As a result, there are fewer bulls to test and the demand is less," Parker said. "Final rules for how the private treaty sale will operate will be determined at a meeting of cooperators, and will be announced with 84-day performance data."

The sale, which is open to the public, will be held at that science center 3 miles northeast of Tucumcari on U.S. Highway 54. Lunch will be available at 11:15 a.m., and the sale begins at noon. For more information or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact Parker at (505) 646-1709 or rparker@nmsu.edu before the event.