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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Beef Update

Livestock Update, May 2004

Scott P. Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

2003-04 Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Station Summary
For the 46th 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 2003-04 test and sale year, a total of 404 bulls were tested at two test stations located in Culpeper and Wytheville. The 243 bulls which sold represented the top two-thirds of all bulls tested.

This was the 46th 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, 128 bulls were tested and had a test ADG of 3.69 and an adjusted yearling weight of 1147. The 89 spring-born Culpeper junior bulls recorded test performance of 3.97 ADG and 1152 adjusted yearling weight. The test station at Wytheville completed its 25th year, and is owned and operated by Danny Umberger. Of the 187 total bulls tested at Wytheville, 82 were fall-born senior bulls and 105 spring-born juniors. Senior bulls at Wytheville had a test ADG of 3.44 and adjusted yearling weight of 1118, while the junior bulls posted a 3.37 ADG and 1176 adjusted yearling weight. Across the two stations and four test groups ranging in length from 112 to 133 days, the 404 total bulls averaged 3.62 ADG and 1150 adjusted yearling weight. These 404 bulls included 347 Angus, 21 Charolais, 19 Simmental, 10 Gelbvieh, 5 Hereford, and 2 Limousin.

In the three sales held, the 243 bulls grossed $546,200 for a record average price of $2248 per bull. The 72 Culpeper Senior bulls averaged $2125, 55 Culpeper Junior bulls $2081, and 116 Wytheville Senior and Junior bulls $2403. Across all three sales, 207 Angus averaged $2277, 14 Simmental averaged $2479, 14 Charolais averaged $1750, 4 Gelbvieh averaged $1725, 3 Hereford averaged $1800, and 1 Limousin brought $2500. Average total test and sale costs for bulls fed and sold during the 2003-04 season was $746, for an average return of $1502 to the consignor per bull sold.

The $2248 average sale price per bull for 2003-04 across all tests and sales is the highest on record for the Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Program, and significantly above the previous record of $1931 in 2000-01. Annual fluctuations in bull prices are the result of several factors. Analysis of BCIA bull test station data reveals a very strong and consistent association between feeder calf prices and bull sale prices across years, with the strong cattle prices of 2003-04 a contributing factor to the solid bull market.

A total of 81 breeders participated in the Central Bull Test Station program last year. There were 62 Virginia breeders, and a total of 19 from the surrounding states of Tennessee (8), North Carolina (5), Maryland (3), and West Virginia (3). Several breeders participated in more than one test and sale. Of the 243 bulls sold, 217 were purchased by Virginia buyers and 26 (11%) sold out of state to North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, New York, Maryland, and Ohio.

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 more detailed information concerning the Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Station program contact the Virginia BCIA office at (540) 231-9163 or visit The Rules and Regulations and consignment information for the 2004-05 central bull tests will be available by May 15.

Virginia BCIA Presents Premier Breeder Awards
The Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association presented its Premier Breeder Awards at their Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the Virginia Beef Expo on April 16. Breeders received the awards based on outstanding performance of their entire consignment at Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Stations in the test year 2002-03. The Premier Angus Breeder Award was presented to Echo Ridge Farm, C.W. Pratt and Family, of Atkins, Virginia. Echo Ridge consigned a total of 31 bulls to the Virginia Central Bull Test program, and had cattle in both Senior and Junior test groups at both Culpeper and Wytheville. The Echo Ridge bulls posted an average yearling weight ratio of 106.6 and average test gain ratio of 104.5. Of the 31 bulls evaluated, 24 Echo Ridge bulls qualified for the respective sales and sold for an average premium of $385 relative to their contemporaries. The Echo Ridge consignment groups included the top two indexing bulls and high selling bull at Culpeper Senior in 2002, along with the Breeder Group and high indexing and high selling Angus bull at the Wytheville Junior test in 2003. The Premier Simmental Breeder Award was presented to Tom and Ruth Clark of Wytheville, Virginia for the performance of their five bulls at the 2003 Wytheville Junior test. The bulls posted an average yearling weight ratio of 104.7 and station index of 103.6. These bulls were sired by PVF-BF BF-26 Black Joker and PCC Night Moves H10.

Virginia BCIA Elects 2004 Officers
Dennis Pearson was recently elected president of the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association for 2004. Pearson is a registered Angus breeder from Warrenton and along with his family operates Soldiers' Hill Angus Farm. Other officers elected at the BCIA Annual Meeting held April 16 include Vice President John Wilkins of Middleburg, and Secretary/Treasurer Carl Lindgren of Upperville.

During the annual meeting of Virginia BCIA, directors elected to serve a three year term included Leo Muncy, a Charolais breeder from Pipestem, West Virginia, Charles Rosson, a Hereford, Angus, and Simmental breeder from Louisa, and Terry Slusher a commercial producer from Floyd. Other members of the BCIA board of directors include Randy Mink from Rocky Mount, Roger Morris of Appomattox, Ray Simms from Fredericksburg, and past president Hank Maxey from Chatham.

The technical directors of the association are Norm Vincel, VA-NC Select Sires, Rocky Mount, Virginia and Bill Beal, Virginia Tech Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. The educational advisor is Scott Greiner, Extension Animal Scientist at Virginia Tech.

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