Details about the test are available online - read the "Rules for the Test" for the 2017 Summer Test. This document is meant to give an overview and try to answer some frequent questions.
Read the whole overview, or go straight to a specific category:
The Test Station • Requirement for Entry • Data Collected During the Test • Data Provided to us by the Bull Owner • EPDs • Sale Eligibility • Sale Index • The Sale • Finances
The station is located at the Feldun-Purdue Ag Center, 1117 State Road 458, Bedford, IN 47421. Brad Shelton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is superintendant of the Ag Center and manager of the bull test station.
There are a total of eight pens, each with a capacity of about 25 head. Bulls are penned by breed and age or weight. Each pen has a dirt/sand exercise lot of about one-half acre and an open front shed. Feed is delivered as a TMR into fenceline feedbunks. The ration is forage-based with a moderate energy level, which allows bulls to express genetic differences for growth without putting on excess condition. On average, the ration dry matter contains 55% corn silage, 22% corn grain, 20% DDGS, and 3% balancer.
Two tests are conducted each year. After a 21-day pretest period, the test lasts 125 days.
- Winter Test - for bulls born January 1 to April 30 of that year. Entries are due in September, and bulls are delivered in late October or early November. The test ends in March, and the sale is held in April.
- Summer Test - for bulls born May 1 to October 31 of the previous year. Entries are due in early April, and bulls are delivered in late April or early May. The test ends in September, and the sale is held in October.
- Minimum weight of 450 lbs., and minimum weight per day of age (including birth weight) of 2.45 lbs. (Winter Test) or 2.25 lbs. (Summer Test) at delivery.
- Must be polled or dehorned.
- Bulls that are suspected to be carriers of a lethal allele (as defined by their breed association) for which a DNA test is available, must be DNA tested and verified free of the lethal allele prior to entry in a test. Lethal traits with available DNA testing include: Arthrogryposis Multiplex (AM), Contractural Arachnodactyly (CA), Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH) and Osteopetrosis (OS) in Angus; Osteopetrosis (OS) in Red Angus; Tibial Hemimelia (TH) in Shorthorns and other breeds. Developmental Duplication (DD) and Double Muscling (M1) carrier bulls will be identified in the sale catalog; therefore, suspect animals must be DNA tested as well. Consult with your breed association for a complete list of known lethal alleles and DNA testing procedures.
- Health requirements must be met. See the "Rules" from a recent test for the latest requirements for vaccinations and Johne's Disease testing.
- Bulls must be free of active ringworm lesions and warts.
- Bulls will be inspected at delivery and will not be accepted if sick, wild, or have a physical defect which may impair future reproductive performance.
- Bulls will be tested at delivery for persistent Bovine Virus Diarrhea infection (PIBVD). Bulls which test positive will need to be removed immediately by the owner.
Note that in order for bulls to be eligible for IBEP auctions, they must be registered; have EPDs for Birth Weight, Weaning Weight, and Maternal Milk; and entrants must be participating in their breed association's official herd performance program, with birth and weaning data reported to and processed by their breed association.
- Weights at delivery, start test, 28-day, 63-day, 91-day, and 125-day off test.
- Performance index at each weight is calculated from Average Daily Gain (ADG) and Weight per Day of Age (WPDA). It is calculated as: .60(ADG Ratio) + .40(WPDA Ratio).
- Scrotal circumference at delivery and off test.
- Hip height at start test and off test, which is used to calculate Frame Score according to BIF guidelines.
- Ultrasound scan data - rib eye area, rib fat, and % intramuscular fat, measured by a certified CUP technician.
- Breeding Soundness Examinations of all sale eligible bulls, plus any non-sale bulls at the owner's request. The exam is conducted by a Ph.D. Reproductive Physiologist and a DVM. It includes a physical examination and a semen evaluation, with observations rated as either acceptable or unacceptable according to guidelines established by the Society for Theriogenology. (Note that if a bull does not meet the minimum adjusted scrotal circumference requirement, he will not have a further physical examination or semen evaluation.)
Reports are sent to bull owners after each weigh day and after ultrasound data is returned by the breed associations. Reports are also posted online.
- Data provided with the entry form includes tattoo, birth date and weight, birth code (single, twin, ET), birth calving ease, breed, whether the bull is polled or dehorned, dam's registration number, and sire's name and registration number.
- Bull's registration number.
- Weaning data
- Actual weaning weight and date.
- Adjusted 205-day weight, ratio, and number of contemporaries - these are provided by your breed association.
Bulls need to be registerered or on file with the appropriate breed association. Weaning data must be sent to the breed association by the owner - this is required for ultrasound data to be processed by some breed associations, and will provide you with 205-day weaning data.
EPDs for Birth Weight, Weaning Weight, and Maternal Milk are required for bulls to be in the sale. We obtain the EPDs from the breed association's web site. This requires each bull on test to be registered.
- Bull must have a Performance Index in the top 2/3 to 3/4 of his breed group of 6 or more bulls. If the breed has fewer than 6 bulls, the performance index must be in the top 2/3 to 3/4 of all bulls on test or have an index greater than 100.
- Bulls will be examined by a committee for breeding soundness, structural soundness (feet and legs), and disposition. Bulls must pass these inspections.
- Bull must be healthy.
- Bull must have 205-day weaning data from the breed association.
- Bull must have EPDs for Birth Weight, Weaning Weight, and Maternal Milk.
Bulls which are not sale eligible can be taken home by the owner, or marketed for slaughter. Owners can withdraw their sale-eligible bulls from the sale, provided we are notified at least 3 weeks prior to the sale.
Each bull is given a within-breed percentile ranking (in *'s) for many traits, including performance during the test, EPDs, and $ Indexes. These are in deciles (10% groups). Each trait is given 1 to 10 stars, with 10 being the best: *10* (10 stars) means the bull is in the top 1-10%, *9* (9 stars) is 11-20%, and so on, with *1* (1 star) being 91-100% or the bottom 10%.
For traits measured during the test, the bulls in the test are ranked within breed; if there are fewer than 6 bulls in the breed, the bulls are ranked among all bulls in the test. For EPDs and $ Indexes, the bulls are compared to the non-parent EPDs from their breed association.
Beginning with the 2016 Winter Test, Sale index is calculated as the weighted sum of the number of *'s for six of the traits: 30% ADG, 20% WPDA, 7.5% IMF, 7.5% REA/cwt, 20% Direct Calving Ease EPD, and 15% Weaning Weight EPD (the Birth Weight EPD will be used if the bull does not have an EPD for Direct Calving Ease). The maximum Sale Index is 100.
- Sales are held at Springville Feeder Auction, Springville, IN. Sales will be broadcast on DVAuction.com.
- Sale order is determined by the Sale Index (see the description above). In case of ties, Performance Index will determine sale order among bulls with identical sale indexes.
- The minimum bid (floor price) for a sale is established by the Board of Directors prior to the sale; slaughter bull price will be taken into consideration. For the 2016 Winter Test sale (April 2017), the minimum bid was $1,650.
- If a bull does not sell, the owner can take the bull home or have it marketed for slaughter.
- From the 2016 Winter Test sale, held April 20, 2017:
- Entry fee is $250/bull, due on the entry deadline date. For out-of-state owners, the Winter Test entry fee is $300/bull.
- Delivery fee is $250/bull, and is due when the bull is delivered to the test station.
- An additional fee of $250/bull is due on the date of the 63-day weighing.
- Thus, the testing fee is $750/bull ($800/bull for out-of-state owners in winter tests).
- At the end of the test, costs are determined for each bull.
- Medication costs will be charged to the owners of treated bulls.
- Feed amount and costs are allocated among bulls in each pen, according to body weight and gain for each bull.
- Sale expenses are divided among bulls in the sale, as a percent of the bull's sale price. Bulls which do not sell are charged that percent of the minimum bid.
- Other costs - such as yardage, overhead, and routine health checks - are on a per-head basis.
- Testing cost for each bull will be subtracted from testing fees and sale price. The difference will be sent to the owner, or charged to the owner if costs were greater than income. Generally, costs are less than the testing fees unless the bull got sick or was in the sale and did not sell.
- If the bull was marketed for slaughter, the price received minus a trucking and selling charge will be sent to the owner.
- Owners of bulls remaining at the test station or Springville auction site beyond pickup deadlines will be charged a $50 per head per day feed and yardage fee.