You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Beef Update

Livestock Update, June 2003

Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

2002-03 Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Station Summary
For the 45th consecutive year, bulls were developed, evaluated and sold through the Virginia Central Bull Test Station Program operated by the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association. In the 2002-03 test and sale year, a total of 402 bulls were tested at two test stations located in Culpeper and Wytheville. The 256 bulls which sold represented the top two-thirds of all bull tested.

This was the 45th year for the Culpeper test station, operated by Glenmary Farm, Tom and Kim Nixon owners, of Rapidan, Virginia. In the fall-born senior group at Culpeper, 105 bulls were tested and had a test ADG of 3.37 and an adjusted yearling weight of 1116. The 87 spring-born Culpeper junior bulls recorded test performance of 3.67 ADG and 1112 adjusted yearling weight. The test station at Wytheville completed its 24th year, and is owned and operated by Danny Umberger. Of the 210 total bulls tested at Wytheville, 91 were fall-born senior bulls and 119 spring-born juniors. Senior bulls at Wytheville had a test ADG of 3.39 and adjusted yearling weight of 1102, while the junior bulls posted a 3.29 ADG and 1156 adjusted yearling weight. Across the two stations and four test groups ranging in length from 112 to 133 days, the 402 total bulls averaged 3.42 ADG and 1124 adjusted yearling weight. These 402 bulls included 331 Angus, 42 Simmental, 17 Charolais, and 12 Gelbvieh.

In the three sales held, the 256 bulls grossed $397,975 to average $1555. The 62 Culpeper Senior bulls averaged $1734, 53 Culpeper Junior bulls $1517, and 141 Wytheville Senior and Junior bulls $1490. Across all three sales, 210 Angus averaged $1573, 27 Simmental averaged $1490, 11 Charolais averaged $1668, and 8 Gelbvieh averaged $1631. Average total test and sale costs for bulls sold during the 2002-03 season was $665, for an average return of $890 to the consignor per bull sold.

The $1555 average sale price per bull for 2002-03 across all tests and sales compares to averages of $1723 in 2001-01, $1931 in 2000-01, $1530 in 1999-2000, and $1697 in 1998-99 for the Virginia BCIA test station bull sales. Annual fluctuations in bull prices are the result of several factors. Analysis of BCIA bull test station data reveals a very strong association between feeder calf prices and bull sale prices across years. From 1998 to 2001, feeder calf prices rose steadily as did prices paid for bulls. Since 2001, bull sale prices have declined as have feeder calf prices. These trends are consistent across all tests and sales for the past 10 years. While bull sale prices have fluctuated in recent years, average test and sale costs have remained relatively constant. The average total test and sale cost of $665 for 2002-03 compares favorably to average total costs of $659 in 2001-01, $710 in 2000-01, $645 in 1999-2000, and $626 in 1998-99. Therefore, net returns to consignors per bull sold have primarily been a function of differences in sale price and not test costs across years. Average net return per bull sold over the last five years have been $890 in 2002-03, $1064 in 2001-01, $1221 in 2000-01, $885 in 1999-2000, and $1071 in 1998-99.

A total of 90 breeders participated in the Central Bull Test Station program last year. There were 75 Virginia breeders, and a total of 15 from the surrounding states of Tennessee (7), West Virginia (3), North Carolina (2), Maryland (2), and Kentucky (1). Several breeders participated in more than one test and sale. Of the 256 bulls sold, 226 were purchased by Virginia buyers and 30 (11.9%) sold out of state.

All bulls tested and sold were consigned by breeders who are members of the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association. Virginia BCIA was the first state beef cattle improvement association, organized in 1955. For information concerning the Central Bull Test Station program for 2003-04 contact the Virginia BCIA office at (540) 231-9163 or visit .

Virginia BCIA Announces Plans for 2003-04 Central Test Station Program
Rules and regulations for the 2003-04 Virginia Central Bull Tests and Sales are now available through the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association. This will be the 46th year for the Central Bull Test Stations in Virginia. A total of four tests will be conducted at the two test stations located in Culpeper and Wytheville.

The Culpeper station at Glenmary Farm in Rapidan, VA will test two sets of bulls. Senior bulls (born August 15 to December 15, 2002) will be delivered July 15 and tested for 112 days with eligible bulls selling December 13. The Junior test group (bulls born December 16, 2002 to March 31, 2003) will be taken in at the station November 4, tested for 112 days, and sold April 2, 2004.

The Southwest Bull Test Station in Wytheville, VA will test two age groups of bulls- Senior bulls born October 1 to December 31, 2002 and Junior bulls born January 1 to March 31, 2003. Both sets of bulls are scheduled to arrive at the station September 30. Senior bull will be tested for 112 days, and Junior bulls for 133 days. Eligible bulls in both test groups will be sold on March 20, 2004.

In addition to the traditional tests, the opportunity exists for breeders to custom feed bulls through the BCIA program so that contemporary groups may be maintained. Additionally, provisions to the program have been added to allow breeders more flexibility in developing both sale-eligible and custom tests bulls.

Registered bulls of any recognized beef breed, or recorded percentage bulls of breeds which have an open herd book are eligible for the central tests. All bulls must be recorded in their respective breed association, and have a complete performance record (including EPDs). Bulls must also meet breed-specific minimum YW EPD requirements, individual performance specifications, as well as pre-delivery health and management protocol to be eligible for the tests.

Breeders in Virginia and bordering states who are members of Virginia BCIA are eligible to consign bulls. For copies of the rules and regulations as well as entry information regarding the 2003-04 central bull tests, contact the Virginia BCIA office at 540-231-9163 or visit .

Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension