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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Virginia BCIA Central Bull Test Program Summary 2008-09

Livestock Update, May 2009

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

The Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association recently completed its 51st year of bull development and merchandising through the state central bull test stations. The 2008-09 test and sale year included the development of 355 total bulls, with 205 bulls selling through three sales for an average price of $2054. This compares to average prices of $1994 and $2031 in 2007-08 and 2006-07, respectively.

This was the 51st 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, 92 bulls were tested and had an ADG of 3.93 and an adjusted yearling weight of 1215. The 56 spring-born Culpeper Junior bulls posted test performance of 3.44 ADG and 1057 adjusted yearling weight. The Southwest Bull Test was in operation for the 30th year, with development of the bulls provided by Hillwinds Farm, Tim and Cathy Sutphin of Dublin. The bulls evaluated at the Southwest station included 105 fall-born Senior bulls and 102 spring-born Juniors. The Senior bulls recorded a test ADG of 3.89 with an adjusted yearling weight of 1154, while the Junior bulls had a 3.61 ADG and 1210 pound adjusted yearling weight. Across the two stations and four test groups ranging in length from 112 to 133 days, the 3 total 55 bulls averaged 3.75 ADG and 1170 adjusted yearling weight. These 355 bulls included 264, 30 Purebred Simmental, 16 Simmental Hybrids, 17 Red Angus, 7 Gelbvieh, 11 Gelbvieh Balancers, 7 Charolais and 3 Polled Hereford.

Three sales were held for eligible bulls. The Culpeper Senior sale was held in mid-December, Suthwest sale in late March, and the Culpeper Junior sale in early April. The following table presents sale averages by breed. Of the 205 bulls sold, 175 were purchased by Virginia buyers and 30 (15%) sold out of state to cattlemen in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

  Culpeper Sr. Culpeper Jr. SW Virginia TOTAL
Angus 47 $2,038 20 $1,593 87 $2,134 154 $2,035
Charolais   ------   ------ 6 $1,400 6 $1,400
Gelbvieh   ------   ------ 2 $3,500 2 $3,500
Gelbvieh Bal. 3 $2,667   ------ 5 $1,370 8 $1,856
P. Hereford 1 $1,300   ------ 1


2 $1,400
Red Angus   ------ 1 $1,500   ------ 1 $1,500
Simmental   ------   ------ 19 $2,311 19 $2,311
Simm. Hybrid   ------   ------ 13 $2,254 13 $2,254
2008-09 Totals 51 $2,061 21 $1,588 133 $2,125 205 $2,054
2007-08 Totals 65 $1,777 38 $1,703 135 $2,180 238 $1,994
2006-07 Totals 75 $1,979 50 $1,963 132 $2,087 257 $2,031

Average total test and sale costs for bulls fed and sold during the 2008-09 season was $995 (all-inclusive from delivery through sale), for an average return of $1059 per head after all expenses to the consignor. Total costs to develop and sell a bull were 10% higher than a year ago. Partitioning total costs, test costs averaged $615 (112 to 133 day feeding period) and post-test/sale costs averaged $380 per head (sale expenses averaged 10.2% of sale price).

A total of 58 breeders participated in the Central Bull Test Station program last year. There were 45 Virginia breeders, and a total of 13 from the surrounding states of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Several breeders participated in multiple tests and sales.

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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