The Cal Poly Bull Test started in 1956 and was one of the earliest performance bull tests in the country. It was designed to be a proven source of range ready bulls available for sale to commercial cattle producers, provide valuable experience for students in management, and as a service to the Beef Cattle industry. The first year, the test was conducted at Peterson Ranch. The bulls were grained on grass pasture and then weighed at the end of the test, providing unbiased results. From 1956 to 1978, the Bull Test was conducted at the Beef Cattle Evaluation Center and in 1979 the Bull Test moved to Poly Canyon on the outskirts of campus. Today the Test is conducted at the Beef Center, which was designed specifically for the Bull Test. Originally, only 60 two-year-old Hereford bulls were admitted to the Test. By the late 1960s, Angus bulls began joining the Test and in 1978 the program was switched from two year old to yearling bulls.
About the Bull Test:
In May, cattlemen from throughout the state and country bring their registered bull calves to compete in the Cal Poly Bull Test. The students in the enterprise are responsible for raising the bulls and managing their health program. We monitor animal performance by conducting weigh days, which allows us to measure Average Daily Gain (ADG) of each animal. In addition, advances in technology are utilized to assess animal performance. Ultrasound measurements, reproductive tests, and EPDs (Expected Progeny Differences) are now used to identify the highest quality bulls. In the fall, overall animal performance is measured and bulls that exceed the test index qualify for the sale. The Bull Sale is held at the Cal Poly Beef Unit and cattlemen from throughout the country come to the facility to buy high-performing yearling bulls.