The American Shorthorn Association partnered with the University of Illinois to implement the National Shorthorn Sire Test program (NST). The 2017 calf crop marked the inaugural group to complete the NST program. Shorthorn breeders from across the country nominated herd sires, and 15 bulls were selected to be bred to the University’s commercial Angus-influenced cow herd. In the first crop, 152 calves were born. 

 The NST collected comprehensive data on the calves in the program, including calving ease, birth weight, docility, weaning weight, yearling weight, feed intake, and carcass measurements. 

 “The National Sire Test program has been a unique opportunity for performance-minded breeders to collect data on their genetics in every facet of the production cycle, while doing so in a commercial production setting,” said Matt Woolfolk, ASA Director of Performance Programs. “I believe the results from this first calf crop indicate that Shorthorn genetics can work in the industry and have a place in the commercial sector of the cow herd in the United States.”

 The calves in the 2017 crop were born 100% unassisted. On the rail, 84% of the Shorthorn-sired calves graded USDA Choice or higher with an average USDA Yield Grade of 2.72. The program offered the largest set of Shorthorn-sired cattle ever tested for feed intake, with the set averaging 5.32 pounds of feed per pound of gain over the feeding period. 

 “The ASA sire test is one of the most comprehensive tests we have ever been involved in,” said Toby Jordan, ASA board member and NST participant. “The feedback from commercial breeders was very positive. They were impressed with the data that Shorthorn genetics could bring to their operation. I believe it is imperative that we continue to collect data so we can find the information to show how we can fit into the industry.”

 The ASA plans to continue with the National Sire Test program to collect more data about Shorthorn-influenced cattle. 

 “After we complete our National Sire Test program, we hope to have gathered complete performance data on approximately 500 head of cattle” said Montie Soules, ASA Executive Secretary/CEO. “This data has already shown and will continue to show that the Shorthorn breed is a great addition to any British-based crossbreeding program.”

If you have any questions about the NST, contact Matt Woolfolk (matt@shorthorn.org).