Friday, March 08, 2013

81st All-Breed Performance Evaluated Bull Sale and Educational Event is March 25 at Springfield Livestock Marketing Center

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Tel: (417) 466-3102

The Southwest Missouri Beef Cattle Improvement Association’s 81st bull sale will begin at 7 p.m., Monday, March 25 at the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center located off I-44, west of Springfield at exit 70.

The sale offering includes eight Simmental and Simmental composites, two Polled Herefords, two Charolais, 30 Angus and one Lim-Flex. The bulls range from 13 to 19 months of age.

“All of these bulls have a complete set of expected progeny difference (EPD) data on them which helps buyers objectively select the bull or bulls needed for their herds,” said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Bull selection has come a long way since the first Southwest Missouri Tested Bull Sale was held in 1973. At that time, emphasis was placed on growth rate at weaning and yearling age along with a lot of visual evaluation.

“Today, the bulls have those same traits for consideration but the visual scoring is left up to the bull buyer,” said Cole.

The objective data is now presented as EPD’s for many traits like calving ease, daughters milking ability, ribeye muscling, intramuscular fat and of course weaning and yearling growth.

“The more knowledge a prospective buyer has of his own cow herd’s strengths and weaknesses, the easier it is to select a bull from a sale that has extensive EPD information,” said Cole.

Cole says EPDs can be confusing for those who have never used them.

"I find it helpful to begin by studying where a bull ranks within his own breed for a trait of interest. To aid in that process, we include not only the EPD for something like weaning weight, but also have the percentile rank within breed for that trait,” said Cole.

For example, in the Charolais breed an EPD of 32 for weaning weight means little to most.

“However, when you see from the percentile rank that 32 pounds of weaning weight puts him in the top 20 percent of young Charolais bulls you get the feeling he could help you in the growth area,” said Cole.

There are “relative rankings” for several EPD traits available on all 43 bulls in the sale. In order to be eligible to sell in the sale a bull must rank in the top 50th percentile for at least two of five EPD traits. The five traits are calving ease, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk and intramuscular fat.

“Some sale bulls have even been genomically evaluated via DNA testing which enhances the accuracy of an EPD value. This would have been unheard of in 1973,” said Cole.

In addition, to qualify a bull must weigh 1100 pounds at 365 days and be a five frame score or better. Bulls will have been breeding soundness examined and found acceptable within 30 days of the sale.

University of Missouri Extension livestock specialists will present a 30-minute program on “Buying Bulls by the Numbers” starting at 5:30 p.m., immediately before the sale begins.

For sale catalogs and other information, contact sale manager Pam Naylor at 417-345-8330.


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