20th annual Rio Grande Valley beef development program coming soon

Deadline approaching for Bull Gain Test and Heifer Development Program

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Brad Cowan, 956-383-1026, b-cowan@tamu.edu

EDINBURG – The 20th Annual Rio Grande Valley Beef Improvement Association Beef Development Program is coming up and those interested in participating should be aware of changes to this year’s program, said coordinators.

The program includes the annual Bull Gain Test, Heifer Development Program and Pen of Steers Program,” said Brad Cowan, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Hidalgo County.

Information on the program is being distributed and details are available at http://hidalgo.agrilife.org/home/agriculture/beef-development-program/.

An RSVP for participating cattle by Sept. 29 is mandatory. RSVP online via the link for the AgriLife Extension office in Hidalgo County or call 956-383-1026.

The 20th Annual Rio Grande Valley Beef Improvement Association Beef Development Program has a deadline of Sept. 29 for RSVPs related to the annual Bull Gain Test and Heifer Development Program.  (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“Complete the necessary forms and bring them with you as cattle are delivered to the feedlot,” Cowan said. “There are major changes from last year, including offering a bull sale this year.”

He said the Pen of Steers Program will be offered again, provided a minimum of 40 steers are provided an RSVP for the program.

Cowan said some of the changes include the age of bull eligibility; mandatory sale of all bulls performing in the top 50 percent of their breed per the Rio Grande Valley Beef Improvement Association index and meeting guideline requirements; having a minimum of 25 bulls meeting all sale criteria for the sale; and the mandatory Sept. 29 deadline.

“The link to RSVP is on the gain test website,” Cowan said. “Read the program guidelines before you RSVP your cattle.”

He said all interested cattlemen are encouraged to RSVP and there will be an option for those in favor or not in favor of the mandatory sale to express their opinion.

“Some have expressed the desire to keep their bulls,” Cowan said. “Keep in mind that if enough bulls are RSVP’d to move forward with plans for the sale and your bull meets all the sale qualifications, you can always buy your bull back if you you are not happy with the price someone else is willing to pay during the online sale.”

Cowan said the planning committee will evaluate the RSVP data and make a final decision on the sale. If sufficient numbers are signed up, plans for the sale will move forward. If there are not sufficient numbers, the gain test will be conducted without a sale.

He said it is important all heifers continue to be vaccinated for brucellosis as this is a requirement for participation.

“We will check to make sure all heifers are vaccinated, and vaccination of bulls and steers is important as well, he said. “Be sure to review the vaccination requirements.”

Bulls and heifers are to be delivered to Rio Beef Feedyard from 9-11 a.m. on Oct. 18.

“We ask that participants deliver their cattle to the feedyard on this date and time so we are there when they arrive to receive and process them,” Cowan said. “If needed, please make arrangements for the cattle to come in early as there may be additional charges for late arrivals.”

Cowan said all animals must be permanently identified and accompanied with the completed application forms and a check to cover fees.

“AgriLife Extension agents in Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo and Starr counties cooperatively conduct this program under the direction of the Rio Grande Valley Beef Improvement Association,” Cowan noted. “We are most appreciative of the valuable assistance Dr. Joe Paschal, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Corpus Christi, and of Mike Risica and his crew at Rio Beef Feedyard. We look forward to working with producers in continuing to improve the quality of the beef cattle industry in the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas through your participation in this program.”

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Source: Agriculture Section – AgriLife Feed

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