LORMAN, Miss. – The Alcorn State Univ. Animal Science Dept. recently completed its first sale of nine bulls produced from embryo transfers as a part of the school’s genetic breeding program. The bulls, which will be used for breeding, went to family-run L&M Cattle Co. of nearby Churchill, Miss.

Animal Science professor Evelin J. Cuadra told the Mississippi Business Journal that a recent sale of nine bulls produced from embryo transfers marked the start of the school’s program.

“This is the first sale we’ve had from any of the bulls coming from our embryo transfer service,” said Melissa Mason, a research assistant at Mississippi State Univ. who works with Cuadra. The Jan. 23 sale was the first of what is planned as an annual sale of Angus, Brangus and Simmental bulls out of the high-quality embryo transfers.

“Normally, these high genetic animals are too expensive for small farmers to buy,” he said. At around $800 each, Alcorn State sold the animals essentially at a price that covered its investment, said Cuadra.

An objective, he said, “is to raise high-quality bulls genetic-wise that we can pass onto small farms at an affordable cost.” Next year’s sale will be first of bulls produced through a program funded by a US Department of Agriculture grant. The breeding effort involved transferring high-quality inseminated embryos into equally high-quality cows from an Alabama herd. The process began about 15 months ago with MSU’s donation of the embryos and their implanting into the cows.

The USDA grant is for three years but the breeding program is expected to sustain itself after that, Cuadra said.