The 2013–2014 Florida Bull Test was 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 they were 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 and another unshrunk weight was obtained on two consecutive days for an accurate 56-day weight and complete 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), which is available at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/an217.
Test Rules and Regulations
General Policies and Procedures
Bulls must have been born from August 15 to December 31 of 2012.
All consignors' herds must have been enrolled in their respective breed association's 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 before 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, breeders and buyers 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 no 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 no 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 high proportion of forage, targeting an ADG of 3.5 lb./day. In addition, bulls were placed in the UF/IFAS NFREC Feed Efficiency Facility to obtain individual feed intake data and calculate feed efficiency. 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 Simmental bull, LLCC Big Jake Z211, were owned by L&L Cattle Company of Marianna, Florida, that indexed 141 with an ADG of 5.31 and WDA of 3.66 lb./day. The top SimAngus bull, called J&W Mr. Catchin' a Dream, that was owned by J&W Simmental Farm of Headland, Alabama, was ranked second overall and indexed 129 with an ADG of 4.51 and WDA of 3.89 lb./day. The top Charolais bull was owned by Rogers Bar HR of Collins, and MS was ranked fifth overall and indexed 128 with an ADG of 4.66 and WDA of 3.43 lb./day. The top Angus bull, called BOSH Little Man 30, was owned by BOSH Cattle Company of Marianna, Florida, and ranked 12th overall and indexed 115 with an ADG of 4.30 and WDA of 2.96 lb./day. The top Hereford bull, also known as JTN Beefmaid S342 812 Z10, that was owned by J Taylor Neighbors of Americus, Georgia, ranked 99th overall and indexed 93 with an ADG of 3.01 and WDA of 2.89 lb./day. The top Red Angus bull, AWFM Rose Canyon 708, that was owned by A&W Farms of Jackson, South Carolina, ranked 114th overall and indexed 80 with an ADG of 2.66 and WDA of 2.43 lb./day. Table 1 summarizes feed efficiency data; Table 2 individual feed intake and feed efficiency; and Table 3 individual animal performance.
The Florida Bull Test Sale was held on January 18, 2014, at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida. Of the 126 bulls originally consigned to the test, 79 bulls were on offer for sale. Only bulls meeting specific benchmarks were eligible for the sale. In addition, bulls were inspected for structural soundness and disposition and passed a breeding soundness exam to qualify for the sale. Additional information, such as actual performance data, expected progeny differences (EPDs), and carcass ultrasound data, was available for bull buyers to aid in the selection of excellent quality bulls to purchase. The sale grossed $239,050 with an average of $3,058 per lot. Angus bulls averaged $3,009 on 39 lots; a single Hereford bull was sold for $2,600; SimAngus bulls averaged $3,148 on 28 lots; and Simmental bulls averaged $3,045 on 11 lots; The high selling bull was lot 3, SSF BLK LKY Charm Z426, selling for $5,400. He was purchased by Don Smith of Dunnellon, Florida. The consignor was Pintlala Cattle Company of Hope Hull, Alabama.
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 2013–2014 Florida Bull Test
2013–2014 Florida Bull Test individual feed efficiency and feed intake data.
2013–2014 Florida Bull Test individual performance in order of final test index.