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Clemson researchers are initiating a new program they believe will add to the success of the South Carolina cattle industry.

BLACKVILLE, S.C. – A new Forage Heifer Development Program is being initiated this year at Clemson’s Edisto Research and Education Center (REC) that researchers say will add to the success of the South Carolina cattle industry.

Scott Sell, Clemson research associate at the Edisto REC, said this new program follows the spirit of the Edisto Forage Bull Test.

“Our goals are to provide an outlet for producers to consign females to the program and have them evaluated, bred and sold in a university-led program,” Sell said. “This program also provides an opportunity for producers to buy heifers with the confidence that university tests provide.”

This program focuses on new and emerging tools available to commercial cattlemen such as genomic testing and rankings, as well other reproductive management tools. Sell said the program will give more producers an opportunity to conduct these tests on their cattle.

“Some producers would conduct these tests, but many won’t unless their cattle are enrolled in a university research setting such as this,” Sell said. “Lack of dependable labor and the fact many of our producers are part-time producers contribute a lot to them not doing this on their own.”

A total of 80 heifers will be accepted into the program this first year. Heifers must be nominated for the program. The nomination deadline is Nov. 1.

Eligible heifers must be homegrown, born between Sept. 1, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2019, and weigh a minimum of 700 pounds. A nomination fee of $75 is due when each heifer is delivered to the test facility. This nomination fee will be applied toward the cost of the evaluation. Delivery date is Dec. 10.

Other rules for the program, as well as an online entry form can be found at clemson.edu/extension/bulltest/ehdp/.

The program will be steered by a committee consisting of Clemson researchers and South Carolina cattle producers. Sell said this is the first program of this kind in the state and “is a work in progress.” The sale date for heifers in the program is May 16, 2020.

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