Establishing the research facility at the Valles Caldera National Preserve has also given seedstock producers throughout the United States the opportunity to send bulls and heifers for the summer grazing season to the facility and begin to better understand the impact genetic pedigree and previous management practices have on the animal's ability to perform at higher altitudes.

With approximately 1.5 million cattle living above 7,000 feet elevation, Roy Hartzog of Hartzog Angus Cattle in Bovina, Texas, who has sent bulls and heifers to the research facility for the last two years, says this research will benefit the entire western region.

"We have learned from ranchers who live and have cattle above 8,000 feet that if they don't use the right bull, one without the genetic predisposition for HAD, when the calves are born they may die within a week to 10 days. This is the equivalent of a hail storm destroying a cotton farmer's crop," Hartzog said, adding that there is no government disaster program for this situation to offset the financial loss.

"We need to provide those ranchers with bulls that are adapted to high elevation. In order to do that we need to develop our blood lines for a genetic pool that can survive and thrive in high altitude. Up until now ranchers have just had to use a natural selection process and suffer the consequences."

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the Top of the Valle will host its second annual high altitude bull and female sale. This year 35 registered, yearling and two-year-old bulls, as well as 70 registered bred heifers, that have been PAP and performance-tested on 100 percent grass for 84 days, qualified for the annual sale at the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The silent auction will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a live animal bid off will begin at 2 p.m. More information on the program and sale is available on the program's website at http://highcountrybeef.nmsu.edu.

Available in the sale will be Angus bulls from A Lazy 6 Angus Ranch in Villanueva, Miller Angus in Floyd, McCall Land & Cattle in Moriarty and Hartzog Angus Cattle in Bovina, Texas; Angus Plus bulls from Lazy T Cattle Company in Las Nutrias; Charolais bulls from WK Ranches in Trementina; Red Angus bulls from Smith Land & Cattle in Fort Garland, Colo.; and Hereford bulls from Abercrombie Ranch in Tucumcari.