University of Florida – North Florida Research and Education Center Beef Unit sale facility where the Florida Bull Test Sale will be conducted.

The 20th annual Florida Bull Test Sale will be held on January 18, 2020, at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) near Marianna, Florida.  In 2019, 19 ranches from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia consigned 98 registered bulls to be evaluated in the Florida Bull Test.  Bulls with overall index for performance of 90% or higher in the Test are eligible, but not required, to be consigned to the annual Bull Test Sale.  This year,  57 bulls have been nominated for the 2020 Bull Test Sale, pending positive breeding soundness exams.  Of the 57 bulls, 23 are Sim-Angus, 19 Angus, 8 Simmental, 5 Hereford, one Ultra Black (Brangus X Angus), and one Waygu bull.

Bull Selection Data

What sets the Florida Bull Test Sale apart from other sale offerings is the performance data available, compiled by unbiased personnel, at a neutral site, under uniform management.   Complete performance records are available for each bull including:  bull test index, average daily gain, weight per day of age, feed efficiency index, ultrasound carcass data, frame score, EPDs, and breed specific EPD indexes.  All this data is provided in the sale catalog in a systematic manor, as seen in the example of Lot 1 below. For assistance interpreting and applying the available performance data consider attending the workshop Using Performance Data to Improve Bull Selection, either in person in Chipley, or as a live webinar, on Thursday, January 9.  To secure a catalog, you can download the 42 page document to view on your computer using the following link: 2020 FL Bull Test Sale Catalog, or call 850-526-1611 to request a catalog be mailed to you, but be aware that the NFREC Office will be closed for the holidays from December 25-January 1st.

sample of catolog information

Lot 1 for the 2020 sale provides an example of the type information available for each bull in the Florida Bull Test Sale.

Throughout the test, bulls were observed and screened for structural soundness and disposition. Bulls deemed to be structurally unsound or of poor disposition were disqualified from the sale.  The Beef Unit staff has worked hard to provide the best care possible for these bulls. Each bull has been given an equal opportunity to express his own genetic potential for performance and fertility.

Bull Sale Information

Sale bulls can be previewed by appointment prior to the sale by calling 850-526-1620 or 526-1621, at the conclusion of the Heifer Development Field Day on January 10, or beginning at 9:00 AM the morning of the sale. Videos of each of the sale bulls are available for viewing on the Cattle in Motion website:  http://www.cattleinmotion.com/.

The Sale will begin at 12:30 PM central time at the Beef Unit pavilion.   Malone FFA will be selling lunch on site beginning at 11:30 AM, so be sure to bring cash to feed your party.   Once again this year, Cattle in Motion will offer internet bidding for producers unable to attend in person.  Be aware that bidders through this service must first create an account, and have Adobe flash player installed on the computer to be used to participate in the sale. If you prefer to participate in the live auction by telephone, that option is available as well, but you must first register as a buyer by calling 850-526-1620 or 526-1621.

Bull Test Sale Location

The auction will be held in the sale pavilion at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center’s Beef Unit, home of the Florida Bull Test – 4925 Highway 162, Greenwood, Florida.  The Beef Unit/Bull Test is located 1.4 miles west on Highway 162 from the traffic light in Greenwood. The unit is 11.4 miles east of Highway 231 on Highway 162. From I-10, take Highway 71 north at exit 142, through Marianna to Greenwood (approximately 11 miles). An alternative route for those coming from the east on I-10, is to exit at 152 at Grand Ridge and take Highway 69 to Greenwood. From Dothan, AL take Highway 231 south and turn left on Highway 162 (look for green bull test sign).

2019 Florida Bull Test

Florida Bull Test logoThe objective of the Florida Bull Test is to evaluate the performance potential and breeding soundness of the bulls consigned from registered and commercial ranches. This year was the eighth year in which individual feed efficiency was established on all bulls.  The test consists of a 112-day performance test, plus a breeding soundness evaluation on every bull that qualifies for the auction. When the bulls arrived at the NFREC Feed Efficiency Facility (FEF), they were sorted into contemporary groups, and then moved into pens where they were adapted to a soy hull and corn gluten-based diet for three weeks, before initiating the test. The bulls remained in the FEF for 56 days to collect intake data, and were then relocated to 3.25-acre pastures for the remaining 56 days of the test, where they all received the same diet.

Animal performance, specifically average daily gain (ADG), was calculated using only the official starting and finishing test weights. In 2019, the 98 bulls consigned to the test had an overall ADG of 3.49 lb/day. The average weight per day of age was 2.99 lb/day. Average daily feed intake during the first 56 days of the test was 23.99 lb/day (on a dry matter basis) and the average feed:gain ratio was 7.69 pounds of feed for every pound of gain.  A significant portion of the test is the inclusion of feed efficiency of individual bulls. To rank the bulls on feed efficiency we use residual feed intake (RFI), which is the difference between actual feed intake and expected feed intake. The more negative the number, the more efficient the bull. During the 2019 bull test, the RFI of bulls ranged from -5.44 to 7.19 lb/d. Therefore, the most efficient bull consumed 5.44 lb less feed per day than was expected for his gain. This equates to 1,986 lb less feed per year  than that bull would be expected to consume!

For more information visit the Florida Bull Test web page, call 850-526-1620 or 526-1621, or email Nicolas DiLorenzo, Bull Test Coordinator.