Growing in the beef industry

High school senior takes top honors in Pa. bull test

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Greg Stewart at Pa Farm Show
At January’s 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show, Greg Stewart took grand champion Simmental bull and reserve grand champion female. For the third year in a row, Stewart has bred the bull test’s high-indexing Simmental. (Submitted photo)

PENNSYLVANIA FURNACE, Pa. — Securing high-indexing bull honors in the annual Pennsylvania Performance Bull Test takes years of careful planning and an eye for outstanding cattle and genetics. Beef producers from across New England and the Mid-Atlantic bring their best bulls to the Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center outside Rock Springs, Centre County, each fall.

Jordan Seefeldt
Jordan Seefeldt, 18, consigned a bull calved from one of his 4-H projects that rose above 143 bulls in the Pennsylvania Performance Bull Test. (Submitted photo)

Making the cut

Not all bulls make the final cut to sell in the auction that concludes the test each March, either. So it’s unusual when the top performing bull is owned by a high school senior. Jordan Seefeldt, 18, of Port Allegany, McKean County, consigned a bull calved from one of his 4-H project animals.

The Angus bull rose above 143 bulls consigned by farms from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Connecticut and West Virginia. His official name, Seefeldt 9Q13 18/5, a nod to his sire, Rito 9Q13 of Rita 5F56 GHM. The bull gained 5.97 pounds per day through the duration of the 112-day test and weighed more than 1,600 pounds by the time the test ended.

Market standards

Bulls on test are ranked by market standards — how fast they grow while on a high-protein, high-energy ration, as well as muscling and feed efficiency — and the end goal is always an animal that will consistently perform well for the market and improve the food supply.

“I know how much time people put into something like this,” Seefeldt said. “It’s an honor to have my bull do so well on the test. Dad had been chasing this for 25 years.” With his father as a mentor, Seefeldt has been participating in the performance testing bull program for several years already, but after good planning and hard work, he finally found the top spot.

Young

Like many farm kids, Seefeldt works hard on the farm, Seefeldt Angus, calving out cows and putting up hay, but he also participates in many school programs. He’ll attend Pennsylvania State University in the fall for mechanical engineering.

Top Simmentals

Greg Stewart was in Seefeldt’s shoes 20 years ago — a 4-H’er showing steers and heifers at age 14 and taking a growing interest in the Simmental breed. Over two decades, Stewart’s Simmental Cattle, of Halifax, Dauphin County, has developed a well-rounded herd that’s successful in the showring, the pasture and the bull test.

At January’s 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show, Stewart took grand champion Simmental bull and reserve grand champion female. For the third year in a row, Stewart has bred the bull test’s high-indexing Simmental. “I bring my bulls to the test to promote my farm and the Simmental breed,” Stewart said.

Sale

Stewart’s winning bull, SSC First Class 47C, has a 19.4 square inch ribeye — an indicator of how heavily muscled the bull is. Eighty-five other bulls representing the Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Red Angus and Simmental beef breeds sold, March 25.

The test sale brought in a total of $315,300 for 85 bulls, averaging $3,709.41. Fifty-five Angus cattle sold for $200,100, averaging $3,638; five Red Angus sold for 20,200, averaging $4,040; 13 Simmentals sold for 48,600, averaging $3,738; eight Herefords sold for $30,300, averaging $3,788; one Charolais sold for $2,300; and three Simmental Angus cattle sold for $13,800, averaging $4,600. Seefeldt’s top Angus sold for $4,100 and Stewart’s winning bull brought in $3,000.

The day also featured two sales of breeding females: the Pennsylvania Simmental Spring into Excellence and Pennsylvania Angus Finest Female sales.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s performance testing programs, contact Greg Hubbard, 814-238-2527 or ghubbard@pa.gov. More information is also available at www.livestockevaluationcenter.com.

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