The 2012–2013 Florida Bull Test consisted of a 112-day performance test and a breeding soundness evaluation of each bull that qualified for the auction. Upon arrival, bulls were sorted into contemporary groups based on consignor and breed (8–12 bulls per pen) and housed in the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center Feed Efficiency Facility where they received free-choice access to feed and water with a target rate of gain of 3.5 lb/day. The diet consisted of 42% pelleted soy hulls, 41% pelleted corn gluten feed, 12% loose peanut hulls, and 5% molasses liquid supplement containing vitamins, minerals, and ionophore (monensin) on a dry matter (DM) basis. The diet was formulated to contain 16.3% crude protein (CP) and 0.51 Mcal net energy of gain (NEg) per lb of diet DM.
After a three-week adaptation period, bulls were weighed on two consecutive days to obtain an objective average unshrunk starting weight, which became the on-test starting weight. Bulls were inspected daily for any arising health problems. An intermediate unshrunk weight was obtained 28 days after starting the test, followed by unshrunk weights on two consecutive days to obtain an accurate 56-day weight and complete the feed efficiency portion of the test. On day 56 of the test, bulls were moved from the feed efficiency facility to 3.25 acre pastures where they stayed for the remainder of the test. On the pasture, bulls remained in the same groups assigned in the feed efficiency facility pens. Bulls also continued receiving free-choice access to the same diet fed in the facility, with the addition of free-choice bermudagrass hay. An additional intermediate unshrunk weight was assessed on day 84 of the test. At the conclusion of the 112-day feeding period, bulls were weighed again on two consecutive days to determine the final test weight. Animal performance, specifically average daily gain (ADG), was calculated using only the official starting and finishing test weights. Throughout the test, bulls were observed and screened for structural soundness and disposition. Bulls deemed structurally unsound or those having poor disposition did not qualify for the sale.
Assessment of Feed Efficiency
After bulls arrived at the feed efficiency facility, they were fitted with electronic identification (EID) tags to monitor daily feed intake using the GrowSafe system, and ADG was calculated for the 56-day feed efficiency portion of the test. Residual feed intake (RFI) was the measure of feed efficiency used to rank the bulls in the test, and it was calculated as the difference between actual feed intake and expected feed intake. Daily feed intake was measured on each individual bull, and RFI was calculated as described previously by Maddock and Lamb (2009), available at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an217.
Test Rules and Regulations
General Policies and Procedures
Bulls must have been born between August 15 and December 31, 2011.
All consignors' herds must have been enrolled in their respective breed association performance records program. State beef cattle improvement association programs are acceptable for herds whose breed association does not have a performance records program.
Calves must have completed the weaning phase of the performance records program with their contemporary group, and this information must be presented at delivery. If data was not returned from the association, a copy of the weight data with the number of contemporaries must be provided.
All calves must be purebred or full blood and registered with their breed association. Composite bulls must have both sire and dam registered in an acknowledged beef breed association. In order to participate, each bull must have a registration certificate and pedigree when delivered to the test station.
A bull must weigh 2.5 lb/day of age when delivered to the test station. A shrink of 1% per hour of transit time is allowed.
Bulls must be weaned a minimum of three weeks prior to delivery.
Bulls must be structurally sound and show evidence of good growth potential.
Bulls' actual birth weight is required.
Consignments over 10 head will be accepted on a space-available basis.
Priority for space will be given to Florida residents. Bulls from other states will be accepted on a space-available basis.
Sire-group testing of bulls is more desirable than individual testing, because it provides more information to both breeders and prospective buyers. Therefore, they will receive preference if space becomes limited.
Preference will be given to breeders/consignors who are members of the Florida Cattlemen's Association.
Embryo transfer bulls must be designated as such, and the breed of the recipient cow designated.
Bulls must have legible permanent identification (tattoo or brand) corresponding to the registration paper at delivery.
Horned bulls will be grouped separately. It is recommended that they be dehorned and healed by delivery.
All bulls must be in good health and accompanied by a health certificate showing they are from a Brucellosis-free accredited or certified free herd with the herd number on the certificate, or they must have a negative test for Brucellosis not more than 30 days before delivery. Bulls originating from a state that is not TB-free must also be accompanied by a health certificate showing they are a certified TB-free herd or have a negative test for TB not more than 30 days before delivery.
Bulls must have been vaccinated twice (minimum 21 days between vaccinations) for 5-way leptospirosis, 7- or 8-way clostridium with Haemophilus somnus, and IBR/PI3/BVD/BRSV, with the last vaccination at least three weeks or more prior to delivery. Vaccination for Pasteurella is optional. Intranasal IBR/PI3 is recommended.
Consignors are responsible for the cost of treatment if their bull requires examination by a veterinarian.
Consignors should contact their local or state veterinarian for interstate permit and health requirements. An official certificate of veterinary inspection (health paper) is required for each bull.
The Florida Bull Test focuses on testing bulls on a diet that includes a grain-based supplement and ad libitum access to forage. Overall ranking for the test is based on ADG and the weight per day of age (WDA), generating an index ratio. The top performing bull and top performing Charolais bull was owned by Rogers Bar HR of Collins, MS, who indexed 136 with an ADG of 5.42 and WDA of 3.60 lb/day. The top SimAngus bull, Jenkins Bold Y178 owned by Jenkins Cattle Co. from Moultrie, GA, was ranked 2nd overall and indexed 123 with an ADG of 4.71 and WDA of 3.48 lb/day.
The top Angus bull, Hollywood 11 owned by Pintlala Cattle Co. from Hope Hull, AL, was ranked 5th overall and indexed 120 with an ADG of 4.57 and WDA of 3.39 lb/day. The top Simmental bull, BTC Making the Grade Y155 owned by Broken T Cattle Co. from Grand Ridge, FL, was ranked 11th overall and indexed 112 with an ADG of 4.13 and WDA of 3.35 lb/day. The only Brangus consignment, SS Brinks HL 797Y owned by Seldom Seen Ranch from Robertsdale, AL, was ranked 42nd overall and indexed 101 with an ADG of 3.72 and WDA of 2.98 lb/day.
The top Braford bull, RMR 0162 Next Step 2084 owned by Running M Ranch of Tallahassee, FL, was ranked 67th overall and indexed 92 with an ADG of 3.30 and WDA of 2.84 lb/day. The top Brahman bull, FF Mr Manso 201 owned by Ford Farms of Malone, FL, was ranked 71st overall and indexed 91 with an ADG of 3.66 and WDA of 2.41 lb/day. The top Hereford bull, JTN Revolution 0620 Y15 owned by J Taylor Neighbors of Americus, GA, was ranked 76th overall and indexed 89 with an ADG of 2.89 and WDA of 3.03 lb/day. Table 1 summarizes feed efficiency data; Table 2 summarizes individual feed intake and feed efficiency; and Table 3 summarizes individual animal performance.
The Florida Bull Test Sale was held on January 19, 2013. Of the 93 bulls tested, 77 qualified for the sale, but only 61 were on offer at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, FL. The sale grossed $197,400 with an average of $3,273.87 per lot. Angus bulls averaged $3,014 on 25 lots. A single Brahman bull was sold for $3,600, and a single Brangus bull was sold for $5,300. Charolais bulls averaged $3,000 on two lots, SimAngus bulls averaged $3,254 on 23 lots, and Simmental bulls averaged $3,589 on nine lots. The high-selling bull was lot 40, Phillips Pen 1P3, selling for $5,350. He was purchased by Mike Henry of Hope Hull, AL. The consignor was the John B Ranch of R&A Angus of Hope Hull, AL.
Maddock, T. D., and G. C. Lamb. 2009. The Economic Impact of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle. AN217. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an217.
Summary of feed efficiency data for bulls in the 2012-2013 Florida Bull Test
2012-2013 Florida Bull Test individual feed efficiency and feed intake data
2012-2013 Florida Bull Test individual bull performance in order of final test index