Jackson County Times

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Friday, January 8, 2010

UF Research Center in Greenwood To Hold Prime Bull Sale

Major “Prime Bull” sale to take place in Greenwood this weekend.

By Bo McMullian

Forty of the best young bulls money can buy will go to sale at auction in Jackson County on Saturday during the 10th Annual “Florida Bull Test Sale,” held by the University of Florida’s IFAS research center in Greenwood.

That’s over half of the 67 bull calves sent to the research center last August by cattlemen all across the southeast U.S., according to the center’s assistant director Dr. Cliff Lamb who spoke with the TIMES on Tuesday. Only these bulls passed the tests for weight gain efficiency, feed consumption, demeanor and semen quality, he said.

The North Florida Research and Education Center takes the bulls at the Beef Cattle Unit on consignment from the owners, Lamb said, conducts the tests for selective breeding, then sells the animals at auction. “Last year’s best bull sold for $4,000,” he said. “A fee is charged for the feed, care and tests and the seller gets to keep the rest.”

The bulls are from seven to eleven months old when they arrive at the center. Then they are tested for 112 days. The tests will show which animals gain the most weight on the least amount of food, their “disposition,” Lamb said, “or how they behave,” their structural integrity (e.g. leg or foot problems) and their breed ability. They are then graded from best to less-than-best and are auctioned with the best going on sale first. Those not passing the tests will not be sold.

Lamb said usually the best producers send their bulls to the center where they are purchased by the average cattle rancher. This improves the quality of herds all across the region. This gives buyers a chance to buy animals they know a great deal about as opposed to buying at a normal auction, buyer beware.

“About 250 people attended last year,” Lamb said, “including about 100 buyers.” This is Lamb’s second sale event. Originally from a fourth-generation ranching family in Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, Cliff has spent the last decade or so getting degrees from Kansas State, then the University of Minnesota.

As Dr. Lamb puts it, this event “improves the genetics of the cattle in the region.” Weeded out in the process are the lower-performing bulls such as those who eat a lot but don’t gain much weight, relatively.

The breeds included in Saturday’s sale include mostly Angus, supplemented with a small selection of Charolais, Limflex, Limousin, Simangus and Simmental. For more info, call the center at 482-9904.

The sale begins Saturday, January 9th, 2010 at 12:30 p.m. CST. A lunch is to be served at 11:30 by the Malone FFA. Betcha they serve hamburger!

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