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The Florida Bull Test 2015–20161

Carla D. Sanford, G. Cliff Lamb, and Nicolas DiLorenzo 2

Test Procedures

The 16th annual Florida Bull Test Sale was held on January 16, 2016 at the conclusion of the 2015–2016 Florida Bull Test. The test evaluated the performance potential and breeding soundness of bulls consigned to the program at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC). In an ongoing effort to better serve consignors and bull buyers, the 2015–2016 test provided data on individual feed efficiency for each bull, making this the fifth year that this information has been included. After the test, consignors with bulls that met the established benchmarks of the test were then given the opportunity to sell their consignments in the Florida Bull Test Sale. In order to qualify, bulls needed to meet growth performance, structural soundness, and disposition standards. Sale bulls also must have successfully passed a breeding soundness exam to qualify for the auction. Potential buyers and consignors were able to fully evaluate the animals on all parameters including actual performance data, expected progeny differences (EPDs), and carcass ultrasound data.

The 112-day test began on July 28, 2015, with bulls being sorted into contemporary groups based on consignor and breed (8 to 12 bulls per pen). Bulls were then housed in the NFREC Feed Efficiency Facility where they received free-choice access to a total mixed ration and water to achieve a target rate of gain of 3.5 lb per day. On a dry matter (DM) basis, the diet consisted of 42% pelleted soy hulls, 41% pelleted corn gluten feed, 12% loose peanut hulls, and 5% molasses-based liquid supplement containing vitamins, minerals, and ionophore (monensin). The diet was formulated to contain 16.3% crude protein and 0.51 Mcal/lb of DM net energy of gain (NEg).

After a three-week adaptation period, bulls were weighed on two consecutive days to obtain an accurate average unshrunk weight, which was used as the on-test starting weight. Throughout the test, bulls were inspected daily for any potential health problems. An intermediate unshrunk weight was obtained after 28 days. Bulls were then weighed on two consecutive days for an accurate 56-day weight, completing the feed efficiency portion of the test. On the same day, bulls were removed from the feed efficiency facility and then housed in 3.25-acre pastures where they stayed for the remainder of the test. While pasture grazing, bulls remained in the contemporary groups assigned in the feed efficiency facility pens. In addition to grazing and free-choice bermudagrass hay, bulls were offered free-choice access to the same total mixed ration which was provided in the feed efficiency facility. On day 84 of the test, an additional intermediate unshrunk weight was obtained. At the conclusion of the 112-day feeding period, bulls were weighed again on two consecutive days, December 8 and 9, to determine their final test weights. Animal performance by average daily gain (ADG) was assessed through calculation using only the starting and finishing test weights. Bulls were monitored throughout the test for overall health and were also observed and screened for structural soundness and disposition. Any bull deemed structurally unsound with poor conformation or chronic lameness or with poor disposition was disqualified from the sale.

For the second year, the Florida Bull Test offered remote bidding for the sale of bulls through a verified online bidding company. This service allowed consignors to market their bulls to potential buyers who were unable to attend the sale in person. Additionally, a video clip of each bull was made available online as a means of visual evaluation for those who could not visit the NFREC facility before the sale. On the day of the sale, 18 of the 29 registered bidders actively participated in the live auction.

Assessment of Feed Efficiency

Upon arrival at the feed efficiency facility, bulls were tagged with electronic identification (EID) tags to monitor daily feed intake using the GrowSafe system. ADG was calculated for the 56-day feed efficiency portion of the test. Residual feed intake (RFI), calculated as the difference between actual feed intake and expected feed intake, was the measure of feed efficiency used to rank the bulls in the test. Daily feed intake was measured for each bull, and RFI was calculated as described by Maddock and Lamb (2009).

Test Rules and Regulations

General Policies and Procedures

  1. Bulls must have been born between August 15 and December 31, 2014.

  2. All consignors' herds must have been enrolled in their respective breed association performance program. State BCIA programs were accepted for herds whose breed association did not have a performance record program.

  3. Bulls must have completed the weaning phase of the performance record program with their contemporary group, and this information must have been presented upon delivery. If data had not yet been returned from the consignor's respective association, a copy of the weight data with the number of contemporaries was requested.

  4. Bulls could either be purebred or fullblood, but must have been registered with their breed association. Composite bulls must have had both sire and dam registered in an acknowledged beef breed association. A registration certificate and pedigree were required at time of bull delivery to the test station. Otherwise, bulls were not accepted.

  5. Each bull was required to weigh 2.5 pounds per day of age when delivered to the test station. A transit shrink of 1% per hour of transit time was allowed.

  6. Bulls must have been weaned a minimum of three weeks prior to delivery.

  7. Bulls were required to be structurally sound and show evidence of good growth potential.

  8. Birth weights of bulls were required at time of delivery.

  9. Consignments were limited to ten bulls per owner or operation. Additional consignments would have been considered on the basis of space availability.

  10. There was a limit of 132 bulls for the Florida Bull Test. More than 132 bulls were nominated. As a result, the following selection criteria were used to determine which bulls were accepted.

    • First preference was given to breeders or consignors who were members of the Florida Cattlemen's Association.

    • Secondly, bulls were accepted based on the order in which nominations were received.

  11. Bulls originating from embryo transfer must have been designated as such, and the breed of the recipient cow must have been identified.

  12. Bulls must have had legible and permanent identification (tattoo or brand) corresponding to the registration paper at delivery.

  13. Consignors were informed that horned bulls may be grouped separately. Additionally, it was recommended that bulls be dehorned and healed by time of delivery.

Health Requirements

  1. All bulls were required to be in good health. They needed to be accompanied by a health certificate bearing the herd number that indicated they were from an accredited or certified brucellosis-free state or herd or had a negative test for brucellosis no more than 30 days before delivery. Bulls originating from a state that is not tuberculosis (TB)-free were required to be accompanied by a health certificate showing they were from a certified TB-free herd or have had a negative test result for TB no more than 30 days prior to time of delivery.

  2. Bulls must have been vaccinated twice with at least 21 days between vaccinations for the following: 5-way leptospirosis, 7- or 8-way clostridium with Haemophilus somnus, and IBR/PI3/BVD/BRSV, with the last vaccination occurring at least three weeks prior to delivery. Vaccination for Pasteurella was optional. The use of intranasal vaccination against IBR/PI3 was recommended.

  3. Consignors were responsible for all examination and treatment costs if veterinary attention was required.

  4. Consignors were encouraged to contact their local or state veterinarian for interstate permit and health requirements. An official certificate of veterinary inspection (health paper) was required for each bull.

Test Results

At the conclusion of the test, an overall ranking assessing the parameters of ADG and the weight per day of age (WDA) of each bull was compiled, and an index ratio was generated. The top performing bull as well as top performing Charolais bull was owned by Rogers Bar HR of Collins, MS, indexing 136 with an ADG of 4.95 and WDA of 3.22 lb/day. The top SimAngus bull, BF Catalyst B59, was owned by Boyd Farm of New Brockton, AL, ranking 2nd overall and indexing 131 with an ADG of 4.24 and WDA of 3.64 lb/day.

The top Simmental bull, WF Powerball, was owned by Wells Farm in Selma, AL and ranked 5th overall, indexing 127 with an ADG of 4.22 and WDA of 3.40 lb/day. The top Angus bull, Tates CC&7 Blackberry B14, owned by Windy Hill Angus Farm in Boaz, AL, was ranked 9th overall and indexed 118 with an ADG of 3.83 and WDA of 3.29 lb/day. The top Hereford bull, JTN Rev 4R 9114 B20, was owned by J. Taylor Neighbors of Americus, GA and ranked 36th overall, indexing 107 with an ADG of 3.45 and WDA of 2.96 lb/day.

The top Brahman bull, FF MR BAR COYO, owned by Ford Farms of Malone, FL, was ranked 45th overall and indexed 105 with an ADG of 3.82 and WDA of 2.52 lb/day. The top composite bull owned by Running M Ranch from Tallahassee, FL was ranked 86th overall and indexed 97 with an ADG of 3.00 and WDA of 2.84 lb/day. The top Braford bull was also owned by Running M Ranch and was ranked 95th overall, indexing 94 with an ADG of 2.98 and WDA of 2.66 lb/day. Table 1 summarizes feed efficiency data, and Table 2 summarizes individual feed intake and feed efficiency. Table 3 summarizes individual animal performance.

Sale Summary

The Florida Bull Test Sale was held at the NFREC Beef Unit in Marianna, FL. Initially, 136 bulls entered the test. Eighty-five head of the 108 qualified bulls walked through the sale ring for offer. The sale grossed $350,778 with an average of $4,078 per lot. The one and only Brahman bull offered was sold for $4,600. Angus bulls averaged $4,586 on 18 lots while SimAngus bulls averaged $4,020 on 44 lots. Simmental bulls averaged $4,005 on 17 lots. Hereford bulls averaged $3,620 on five lots, and Charolais bulls averaged $2,833 on three lots. The high-selling bull was lot 9, Tates CC&7 Blackberry B14, selling for $6,300. Tates CC&7 Blackberry B14 was consigned by Windy Hill Angus Farm of Boaz, AL and purchased by Herman Walker of DeFuniak Springs, FL.

Figure 1. Charles and Laura Flythe of C & L Farm receiving their award for their consignment, CLS Moving Forward14, that concluded the test as the Florida Bull Test Feed Efficiency Winner. Pictured from front to back: Charles and Laura Flythe of C & L Farm, Dr. Nick Comerford (UF/IFAS NFREC director), and David Thomas (UF/IFAS NFREC Beef Unit supervisor).
Figure 1.  Charles and Laura Flythe of C & L Farm receiving their award for their consignment, CLS Moving Forward14, that concluded the test as the Florida Bull Test Feed Efficiency Winner. Pictured from front to back: Charles and Laura Flythe of C & L Farm, Dr. Nick Comerford (UF/IFAS NFREC director), and David Thomas (UF/IFAS NFREC Beef Unit supervisor).
Credit: Francine Messias, UF/IFAS

Missing Figure (FIGURE 2)

Reference

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

Tables

Table 1. 

Summary of feed efficiency data for bulls in the 2015–2016 Florida Bull Test.

Table 2. 

2015–2016 Florida Bull Test individual bull feed efficiency and feed intake data.

Table 3. 

2015–2016 Florida Bull Test individual bull performance in order of final test index.

Footnotes

1. This document is AN328, one of a series of the Department of Animal Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2016. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Carla D. Sanford, graduate assistant; G. Cliff Lamb, professor; and Nicolas DiLorenzo, assistant professor; Department of Animal Sciences, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, FL 32446.

Publication #AN328

Date: 1/22/2017

Fact Sheet

Contacts

  • Nicolas DiLorenzo