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Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Program Summary 2007-08

Livestock Update, May 2008

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

The Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association recently completed its 50th year of developing and merchandising bulls through state central bull test stations.  The 2007-08 test and sale year included the development of 397 total bulls, with 238 bulls selling through three sales for an average price of $1994.  This compares to average prices of $2031 and $2492 achieved in 2006-07 and 2005-06, respectively.

This was the 50th consecutive year for the Culpeper station, operated by Glenmary Farm, Tom and Kim Nixon owners, of Rapidan, Virginia.  In the fall-born senior group at Culpeper, 115 bulls were tested and had a test ADG of 4.03 and an adjusted yearling weight of 1249.  The 71 spring-born Culpeper junior bulls posted test performance of 3.42 ADG and 1089 adjusted yearling weight.  The Southwest Bull Test was in operated for the 29th year, with development of the bulls provided by Hillwinds Farm, Tim and Cathy Sutphin of Dublin.  The bulls evaluated at the Southwest station included 92 fall-born senior bulls and 119 spring-born juniors.  The senior bulls recorded a test ADG of 3.46 with an adjusted yearling weight of 1172, while the junior bulls had a 3.63 ADG and 1252 pound adjusted yearling weight.  Across the two stations and four test groups ranging in length from 112 to 133 days, the 397 total bulls averaged 3.67 ADG and 1204 adjusted yearling weight.  These 397 bulls included 322 Angus, 20 Purebred Simmental, 20 Simmental Hybrids, 17 Charolais, 8 Gelbvieh, 8 Gelbvieh Balancers, and 2 Polled Hereford.

Three sales were held for eligible bulls.  The Culpeper Senior sale was held in mid-December with 65 bulls averaging $1777.  The Southwest sale in late March sold 135 bulls for an average of $2180, and the Culpeper Junior sale in early April averaged $1703 on 38 head.  Across all three sales, 190 Angus averaged $1934, 13 Purebred Simmental averaged $1900, 12 Simmental Hybrids averaged $2783, 10 Charolais averaged $2000, 8 Gelbvieh Balancers averaged $2075, 4 Purebred Gelbvieh averaged $1547, and 1 Polled Hereford at $6250.  Average total test and sale costs for bulls fed and sold during the 2007-08 season was $902, for an average return of $1092 per head after all expenses to the consignor.  Total costs were 18% higher than a year ago.

A total of 79 breeders participated in the Central Bull Test Station program last year.  There were 61 Virginia breeders, and a total of 18 from the surrounding states of, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.  Several breeders participated in multiple tests and sales.  Of the 238 bulls sold, 210 were purchased by Virginia buyers and 28 (12%) sold out of state to Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

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 a more detailed summary of this information, or information on the upcoming Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Station program contact the Virginia BCIA office at (540) 231-9163 or visit

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