Animal Science gears up for upcoming bull sale

Erin Beck

The Animal Science Department is constantly teeming with activity. With the 89th Little I complete, the next event lined up in the department’s sights is the annual bull sale.

Under the direction of Cody Wright, professor and extension beef specialist for the animal science department, the seed-stock merchandising class is in charge of running and managing the entire sale. The sale day has been set for April 13th at the Cow/Calf Unit.

According to Wright, 29 yearling bulls will be sold at the auction. A mix of Angus and Simmental-Angus cross will be featured. Each were raised at the Cow/Calf Unit and come from the SDSU cowherd.

In order to conquer this project, Wright has divided the class of 15 into four committees. The advertising committee sends out the message about the upcoming sale. Another group designs a catalog with pictures, performance data, and descriptions of each bull.

A third committee focuses on customer service, and the fourth is a video committee that works to capture footage of each bull. After editing 30-second segments of each bull, the video will be loaded on YouTube for the benefit of potential customers.

“It’s a fairly common tool for seedstock merchandising,” Wright said.

According to Cow/Calf Unit manger Kevin Vander Wal, the sale is held as a limited auction. The bulls are grouped at three different floor prices. Those interested in a particular bull have to sign up for that bull before bidding on it. This limits the bidding to those who are signed up.

As the sale approaches, Vander Wal said the Cow/Calf unit is now facing the challenge of getting the barn ready in time. Due to a fire in March, most of the barn has been torn down. The remaining wing is still missing a wall.

“We’re wanting to get a wall put up to close off the end of the building. That way we can hold the sale in the building,” Vander Wal said.

According to Wright, the SDSU bull sale has made a name for itself. The high seller’s semen from last year is now being offered across the country through Genex, a well-known genetics company. Wright said this will be helpful in building SDSU’s reputation as the bull sale continues.

“People from all over the country come to check our sale out,” Wright said.

Although Wright said the unit strives to sell quality bulls, the mission of the sale is also to educate.

“The goal of this class is to offer students real-world experience. That’s hard to replicate in a classroom. This is something that’s real. Hopefully it’s something these students can use in the future,” Vander Wal said.

Students agree they have a lot to take away from the class.

“There’s a lot of hands-on experience,” said Katrina Hespe, a senior animal science major. “We have full control of what goes on. It’s neat to see what all it takes to put on a bull sale, the dirty and the clean side.”

Senior animal science major Stephanie Steffes said learning isn’t the only valuable aspect of the class.

“The best part is seeing all of our hard work pay off,” Steffes said.