Treasure Bull Test
Published October 5th, 2017
Western Ag Reporter Herd Reference Edition
By Kayla Sargent
We've all sat in the bleachers at the sale barn when the bull that we starred and circled in our catalog comes into the ring. The auctioneer gets started, then says this is a cowboy kind of bull and suddenly, he soars out of our price range and you are forced to choose another that doesn't quite meet your desired standards. Treasure Bull Test is assuring customers that every bull that walks through the ring will be a big, growthy, masculine, ‘cowboy' kind of bull.
"We're trying to strive for a sale of cowboy type bulls that are masculine, have some good bone and capacity and are high gaining bulls that scan well for carcass traits," Ryan Perry said.
After buying Treasure Bull Test from Russ and Barb Pepper last year, new owners Ryan and Karnell Perry, already have a specific vision for their new business and ambitious plans to carry on this 50 year old business.
"I want a test where the main focus is growth and performance," Perry said. "I want to focus the test on bulls and genetics that will satisfy the rancher's needs."
After growing up in the cattle industry and attending college, Perry returned to the Great Falls area where he went to work as Yard Manager and Fieldman at Western Livestock Auction. He is also a Northern Livestock representative. His wife, Karnell, is a feed salesman for CHS Nutrition in Northern Montana where she has established a very vast customer base that will add current and potential buyers to the bull test sale. Needless to say, the young couple is more than qualified with their numerous connections and widespread involvement in the ag industry that has lead to great knowledge of what kind of cattle are in demand across the country.
"We proved at the Northern Sale in July that people still want big, high performing cattle. We got to those big 700 pound calves at the end of the sale and the phones all got busy," Perry said. "The feeders like these big Angus calves. They want them to be big when they come off their mother and then have the genetics to be big when they are finished in the feed lot and hit that good April fat cattle market."
Perry isn't alone in the bull market in striving for performance based genetics. However, the advantage that Treasure Bull Test holds is that Ryan gets to hand pick out of producers' top offerings to ensure that every bull in the sale meets his customer's needs.
"A lot of the bigger seed stock producers are striving for that too, but we want a sale full of these bulls," Perry said. "If you buy from a performance test station you're getting the very best out of that producer's registered herd. It's somebody's very best bull that has been tested against similar bulls."
In the fall, around the end of October, Perry will take delivery on roughly 150 top performing Angus and Red Angus bull calves from producers all across the nation.
"Some tests will only sell the top 70-80 percent of the bulls, but if everyone brings us good cattle, then we will sell 150 bulls," Perry said. "We do want a specific type though. They need to be masculine, structurally sound and have good dispositions so we may cull based on that criteria at any point during the test and they have to meet strict performance standards."
These bulls will be fed out at North Montana Feeders in Choteau, Montana. "They are very experienced in feeding bulls. They feed well over 1,000 bulls a year," Perry said.
Once the feedlot is full, the bulls start on a ration carefully planned by North Montana Feeder's nutritionalists for the bulls to gain three pounds per day. "We put feed in the bunk and see who gains the best," Perry said.
It is a 120 day test period where the bulls are weighed upon arrival and again at 60, 90 and 120 days on feed. At the end of the test, each bull is ultrasounded to collect carcass data. "We gather data including average daily gain and weight per day of age and emphasize the ultrasound carcass data," Perry said.
The data collected helps to highlight producers with the highest performing bulls and gives smaller registered producers a great venue to market their top end. "It's a great outlet for the smaller registered producers," Perry said. "Our producers so far aren't just solely in the registered business, most of them have some registered cattle along with a commercial herd. They want an outlet where they can sell a few of their best bulls."
Perry credits Pepper and Irvin and Bobbi Meiwald, the original owners, as well as Montana's reputable Angus genetics for drawing a broad based, high quality set of producers to the test each year.
"They've got producers from as far as Illinois to Washington sending bulls here," Perry said. "Montana Angus is the big draw to the test here. Everyone wants to take advantage of that marketing aspect, there's good Angus genetics here in Montana."
In fact, finding an outlet for his few registered cattle was how Ryan Perry initially became associated with Treasure Bull Test. Prior to purchasing the test from Peppers, Perry was a bull buying customer, but he also consigned his own bulls to the sale.
"In 2003 I bought my first set of registered cows, never a lot of them though. Having the test here was a nice outlet for me to merchandise the front end of my bulls," Perry said.
By the time Perry became involved with the test, it had already established a strong reputation across the industry. Meiwalds established the business in 1968 and ran it for ten years before selling it to Peppers. The Peppers then ran the test for the next 39 years before passing it along to Perry. In their first year of ownership, Peppers became widely known for selling QAS Traveler for $60,000, who was hauled to the test center that fall in a pink horse trailer. Other industry leading sires to come out of the Treasure Test sale include VDAR Shoshone 548, Band 105 of Hyline 2380, AAR Maverick 2240, WAF Power 312, Highwood Hero LCH and Premier Chairman 6011A.
Perry has big shoes to fill but he has plans to carry on the reputation of Treasure Test by providing genetics that will please both the large basis of return customers and the new ones he hopes to reach out to.
With Treasure Bull Test's target market being commercial ranchers, Perry has already established a large customer base through his work with Northern Livestock and Western Livestock Auction to add on to the already numerous return customers.
"Being affiliated with Western Livestock Auction and being a Northern Livestock representative, we've got a huge customer base of ranchers that we can merchandise these bulls to," Perry said.
For ranchers in northern Montana, the sale falls at the perfect time of year. "In mid-April in northern Montana this is about one of the last bulls sales in the country to find some high quality bulls," Perry said. "Ranchers can go to the sale, buy the bull right out of the test and take them home and go straight out with the cows. They don't need a special spot to babysit those yearling bulls until it's time to turn them out."
As sale season starts lingering to a close next spring, be sure to mark your calendars to find some high quality genetics at Western Livestock Auction in Great Falls, Montana on Monday, April 9, 2018 at the Treasure Bull Test Annual Sale.