Selecting the right bull (s) is a key component to the success of any cattle operation. Effectively utilizing EPDs is an essential part of the bull selection process. The VRDEC Bull Selection Tool can make the process much simpler.


There is a steady stream of bull sales across the Deep South throughout the fall and winter. If you have plans to purchase or sell bulls at any of these sales, you may find the VRDEC Bull Selection Tool beneficial. VRDEC (Visual Representation of Data for Evaluation and Comparison) is a way of organizing performance data (the information already found in the sale catalog) making it much easier to compare the bulls in a given sale to each other and to the other sires in the breed.

VRDEC is essentially a customizable spreadsheet that ranks the bulls in a sale best-to-worst for any kind of performance data available (EPDs, indexes, carcass data, etc.) and overlays the breed percentile breakdown so sale bulls can be compared to each other and the rest of the breed simultaneously. VRDEC does not create new data or evaluate bulls – VRDEC allows the client to more efficiently use the data that is already available to make their own evaluations.

VRDEC tools are infinitely customizable to meet your specific needs

Before attending a sale, a potential buyer can determine what performance data and percentile markers he or she wants to have included on their individual VRDEC. Thereby focusing the overwhelming amount of data in a sale catalog into a single page, showing the sale lots ranked by their expected performance in the traits that matter most to their operation. While at the same time showing how the bulls in the sale compare to the rest of the breed. Having both pieces of information is crucial. Think about it like this, at a sale with many outstanding bulls – middle of the pack in the sale could still be close to the top of the breed; on the other hand at a different sale – best in the sale might not really be all that good.

A seedstock breeder can have VRDEC made featuring his or her sale bulls. Whether for an auction or private treaty sales, a VRDEC could help potential customers more effectively find the bull(s) that best fits their needs; ultimately resulting in more satisfied customers. Again, the specific pieces of performance data and percentile markers included can be carefully selected in advance to highlight the group of bulls.

If you are planning on attending or hosting a bull sale and would like to have VRDEC tool developed for a specific sale, contact:

Mark Mauldin, Agriculture Extension Agent

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County or 352-317-7799

To develop an effective VRDEC tool I would need the sale catalog and we will need to have a conversation about exactly what you would like included in the tool. In other words, which traits are most important to your operation, or which traits do you want to highlight for potential customers? If you don’t already have clear answers to these questions I’d be happy to help you sort through them and put a tool together designed specifically to meet your needs.

It takes some time to organize the data and create the tool. Please contact me at least two weeks before the sale.


FL Bull test sale EPDs

Example of a VRDEC tool developed to help buyers at the 2020 Florida Bull Test Sale.  A VRDEC tool can be developed for any bull sale and be tailored to include the performance data and percentile markers that are the most meaningful to the client requesting the tool.

For more information about bull selection and how the VRDEC tool can be useful see EPDs for Bull Selection, It’s All About Context, an article I posted earlier this year.