Department Programs

Posted: June 5, 2008

35th Annual Performance Tested Bull Sale; New Beef Marketing Program; North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC)

35th Annual Performance Tested Bull Sale

Screenshot of 2008 Bull Sale Web Page The sale was held on March 28. A record 110 bulls sold for an average  price of $1,824. Prior to the sale, all bulls completed a 112-day performance test at the Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center. This test evaluates bulls on average daily gain, muscle growth and breeding soundness.

For the first time, all the bulls were filmed prior to the sale. Video footage of the bulls in the sale was made available online by John Comerford, Karen Vines, Rose Pruyne, and a number of other Penn State personnel. A bidding siteat Washington County Cooperative Extension Office was available to prospective buyers, and was spearheaded by extension educator Walter Bumgarner.

The top-indexing Simmental, consigned by Kenley Myers of Dallastown, PA, sold for $4,000 to Gennaview Farms of Woodland, PA. The bull was recognized by the Pennsylvania Cattleman’s Association for the highest-indexing bull sold overall.

The 21 Simmentals in this year’s sale returned an average of $1,781. The 66 Angus bulls sold for an average of $1,904. The lead Angus, also the top-selling bull in the sale, was consigned by John Gundzik of Manchester,Md. This Bull sold for $4,600 to Dave Eilenfeld of Lucas, OH.

The two Limousin bulls posted the highest breed sale average at $1,925. The top-indexing Limousin Bull,consigned by Nathan and James Baker of Commodore,PA, was the highest-selling bull of the breed, selling for$2,200 to Chester Knapp of Brookville, PA.A Lim-Flex bull, consigned by Jim Delaplaine of Three Springs, PA, sold for $1,500 to Chester Knapp of Brookville.

The Crossbred bull in the sale, consigned by Leon Ticeof New Enterprise, Pa., was sold to Robert Mikesell, Jr.of Port Royal, PA, for $1,500. The lone Charolais was consigned by John O. Myers of York, PA, and was sold for $1,700 to James McDonald of Cherry Run Farm, McKean, PA.

Doug Howe of New Enterprise, PA., consigned the top-selling Hereford bull, which sold for $3,000 to The Miller Family of Womelsdorf, PA.

The 11 Herefords in all breeds was a Red Angus, consigned by Wade Vonada of Mill Hall, Pa., which gained 6.02 pounds per day while on test. Kenneth Swartfager, of Knox, PA, was the successful bidder for$3,000, making the bull the highest selling Red Angus.The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Evaluation Center serves as a location for performance testing of quality livestock, as well as a facility for livestock producers to hold professional meetings and conferences to advance their industry. Pennsylvania’s performance testing programs are a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Penn State University and the respective species organizations.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s performance testing programs and sales, contact Glenn Eberly  at 814-238-2527 or . For more information on the Livestock Evaluation Center, visit the center’s Web site at

New Beef Marketing Program

Black Angus Teamwork by Cooperative Extension, the Pennsylvania beef industry, and Weis Stores of Pennsylvania have given consumers an opportunity to "buy local." Weis worked with Pennsylvania beef producers certified through the Beef Quality Assurance program to market a high-quality product called "Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef," beginning in May.

The new program culminates an effort that began more than 10 years ago by Penn State Cooperative Extension. It is now administered through the Pennsylvania Beef Council and the Pennsylvania Beef Quality Assurance Commission. The Beef Quality Assurance Program is a training program for beef producers in best-management practices that influence food safety and product quality.

John Comerford, Extension Beef Specialist, played a lead role in this effort. Beef Quality Assurance certified producers may also use the 'PA Preferred' label administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Beef Quality Assurance training is a two-tiered program that includes both classroom and chute side instruction.The objective is to encourage farmers to produce safe, wholesome food for consumers.

Certified producers must agree to abide by the practices taught at the workshops, and farms are sampled every year for inspection by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture personnel to provide oversight to the program, Recertification training occurs every two years.

There is a youth training program in place that qualifies4-H and FFA members to exhibit meat animals at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and at many local fairs. More than 2,000 beef producers in Pennsylvania are certified.To enter the Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef program, cattle must have Angus-based genetics and grade USDA Choice or better, and must have been housed and fed on Beef Quality Assurance -certified farms in Pennsylvania for more than 100 days prior to harvest.

Participating farmers receive a premium price for qualifying cattle, plus a transportation allowance to Cargill Beef Solutions at Wyalusing, Pa., the processing facility for all Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef.Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef may be the first beef product program that also requires the producer to meet training and certification standards thatwill enhance the quality and safety of the beef for consumers."

North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC)

Schools from the Big 10 excelled at the Seventh Annual NAIDC, held April 4-5, 2008 in the Madison, WI area. Teams from the University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, University of Illinois and Purdue University earned the highest award – First Place Platinum.Hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison,the event attracted a record number of 32 teams from the United States and Canada, challenging them to put their textbook and practical knowledge to the ultimate  test – analyzing dairies.

The contest began with a walk-through of the dairies,followed by the opportunity to ask questions of the owners and analyze data specific to each farm. The teams used this information to develop management recommendations, and then presented those recommendations to the herd owners and a panel of five dairy industry judges.

Each of the First Place Platinum team members received $200 scholarships. Second Place Platinum award winners received $100 scholarships. They included the following:

  • Iowa State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Kansas State University
  • North Dakota State University

Gold Awards were presented to teams from the followinginstitutions:

  • Penn State University
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • Cornell University
  • Delaware Valley College
  • University of Florida
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Idaho
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Maine
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of Vermont
  • Virginia Tech
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Silver Awards were presented to teams from the following institutions:

  • Alabama A&M University
  • California State University-Fresno
  • Clemson University
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Maryland-College Park
  • University of New Hampshire
  • North Carolina State University
  • Southern University A&M
  • Washington State University

The North American Dairy Challenge was established as a management contest to incorporate all phases of a learning atmosphere with practical application to help prepare students for careers in the dairy industry. NAIDC is supported financially through generous donations by industry and is coordinated by a volunteer board of directors.