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Students prepare for 12th Annual Hokie Harvest Sale


BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 19, 2006 – Students in Virginia Tech’s Livestock Merchandising class in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are making final preparations for the 12th annual Hokie Harvest Sale to be held on Friday, Oct. 27 at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Teaching Arena and Livestock Judging Pavilion, both located on Plantation Road in Blacksburg.

This year’s sale offering includes 45 head of beef cattle and 28 horses. In addition, 10 breeding swine will be offered for sale for the first time. Auction-day activities will begin at 3:00 p.m. with the presentation and demonstration of sale horses in the teaching arena. The swine silent auction runs from 4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. A complimentary dinner, provided by the Block and Bridle Club, will be served from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The horse auction will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will run concurrently with the beef cattle auction, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in judging pavilion located across the street from the teaching arena.

Students play an important role in the success of the sale. “This year’s class is the largest ever with 79 students enrolled,” said Dan Eversole, associate professor of animal and poultry sciences and faculty coordinator for the Virginia Tech Beef Center. “Students have played an integral part in the success of past sales. The $1.16 million generated through the sale of the cattle and horses have provided much needed financial support for the beef cattle and equine programs over the 11-year history of the sale.”

Both four-year and two-year students are involved in nearly every aspect of the sale, from sale management and livestock and horse training to the promotion and clerking of the auction itself. This approach is unique to Virginia Tech. The Hokie Harvest Sale provides students with hands-on experience and concentrated instruction that would otherwise take years to accumulate.

Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, and Simmental breeders will have an opportunity to select from a cross-section of the breeding herd, including a strong offering of cow-calf pairs, bred heifers, and breeding-age bulls. According to Eversole, the beef cattle breeding program stresses the importance of genetics and predictable production parameters that are essential for a successful seedstock operation. Virginia Tech’s cattle are mainly purebreds and registered with their respective breed associations. This ensures a traceable lineage and helps in predicting performance.

Horse enthusiasts will be able to choose from an exciting selection of sport horses this year. Young prospects from Virginia Tech’s nationally recognized warmblood breeding program will be offered. Also included are a number of riding horses for show or pleasure, as well as several outstanding broodmares.

Rebecca K. Splan, associate professor of animal and poultry sciences and faculty coordinator for the horse sale, is very pleased with the 2006 group of sale horses. “This is the first year we’ve been able to offer a cohesive collection of sport horses at our auction,” said Splan. “We’ve already had quite a lot of interest in this year’s group of horses and our students have done a great job training and preparing them for the sale.”

This is the inaugural year for the inclusion of breeding swine in the Hokie Harvest Sale. Four commercial boars and six bred gilts will be sold by silent auction prior to the live auctions of horses and beef cattle.

“This endeavor is a project of the senior Swine Production class this fall. The students are very excited about it and have worked very hard to make it a success,” said Cindy Wood, associate professor of animal and poultry sciences and faculty supervisor of the Virginia Tech Swine Center. “The animals in the sale are representative of the Swine Center herd, which is dedicated to meeting teaching, research and Extension needs in the swine area. Selection over the years has stressed soundness, maternal ability, and carcass cutability.”

For more details or to request a catalog or sale flier, please contact Dan Eversole at (540) 231-4738. The catalogs and flier can also be viewed online at the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences website.