For the 15th year, the North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) will be hosting the Florida Bull Test. The primary purpose of the Florida Bull Test is to serve as an educational aid for the improvement of beef cattle. The test aims to: 1) provide the commercial cow/calf producer a source of bulls that have been gain tested, that were thoroughly evaluated at the same location, and that have passed stringent health requirements; 2) provide an opportunity for seed stock producers to advertise their breeding programs through testing and marketing bulls; and 3) promote awareness and understanding of the latest animal breeding concepts and tools while showcasing superior beef cattle genetics in Florida. The test standardizes environmental conditions for evaluating postweaning performance. In doing so, it provides useful records for bull consignors to better evaluate breeding programs and creates a local source of performance-tested bulls.
Since the inception of the test, 1,205 bulls have been tested from more than fourteen different breeds. Mean sale average has ranged from $1,283 (In 2001) to $3,274 (in 2013). Prior to initiation of the 2014 Florida Bull Test sale a survey was conducted among potential buyers on their perception of the value that purchasing a bull may be to their operation. The goal of the survey was to identify the characteristics of bull buyers and the perception of the value of purchasing a bull from the Florida Bull Test to their operation. Of the 77 completed surveys, 54% indicated that they had purchased between one and six bulls from previous Florida Bull Test sales. Buyers originated from Alabama (n = 27%), Florida (n = 61), and Georgia (n = 12%). The primary factors identified by potential buyers when considering to purchase a bull were prioritized as follows: 1) breed; 2) performance and rank in the test; 3) sale price of the bull; 4) phenotype; 5) feed efficiency; and 6) pedigree. The perceived increased value per calf sired by bulls purchased from the Florida Bull Test was $58.05. Overall, 75% of potential buyers stated a perceived increased value of $50 or more per calf sired by bulls purchased at the Florida Bull Test, with 8% of those stating a perceived increase of $125 or more in value per calf sired (Figure 1). The survey succeeded in identifying the characteristics of bull buyers. The perception of bull buyers is that purchasing bulls from the Florida Bull Test increases the value of calves sired, by improving performance, genetics and feed efficiency of their herds. Since the beginning, the Florida Bull Test has been under constant evolution to achieve its goal of helping producers select high quality sires.
This year we have already received the maximum number of bulls nominated to the FL Bull Test. Therefore, there should be more than 75 bulls that will qualify for the sale. For all information regarding the FL Bull Test readers can visit the Florida Bull Test Website (http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/fl_bull_test/ ). Important dates for the 15th test are:
Test begins (initial weights) – August 19 & 20, 2014
28 day weight – September 17, 2014
56-day weight – October 14 and 15, 2014
84-day weight – November 12, 2014
Test ends (final weights) – December 9 and 10, 2014
Bull Test Sale – January 17, 2015
A new initiative for the 15th Florida Bull Test is to include the possibility of remote bidding for the sale through the internet. This opportunity will provide consignors an added opportunity to market their bulls to potential buyers who are unable to attend the sale in person. In addition, buyers who cannot attend the sale will have the opportunity to purchase bulls through a verified internet bidding company. We are excited about offering this new opportunity!