UF Opens New Bull-Testing Facility At North Florida Research And Education Center In Marianna

By:
Serya Yesilcay

Source: Bob Sand (352) 392-7529

MARIANNA—Purebred cattle producers across Florida, Alabama and Georgia can get ready to consign their bulls for a worthy cause — to improve cattle industry genetics while showing off some of their best animals.

A new bull-testing facility at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna is preparing to host Florida Bull Test 2000, said Bob Sand, extension livestock specialist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

“As the only place in Florida equipped and designed for bull testing, the center will play an important part in the growth of the industry,” Sand said. “The new center also will focus on forage research and cattle improvement programs.”

Using Beef Improvement Federation guidelines to standardize performance testing and evaluation will ensure “that all breeds can have a standard reference and terminology so terms like ‘yearling weight’ will mean the same to everybody,” Sand said.

Also as a result of the testing, consignors will get the chance to have their own breeding program evaluated. Commercial producers will be able to find a source of bulls that have passed strict health requirements and have been thoroughly evaluated at the same location. These performance-tested bulls will be available for purchase on February 17, 2001.

Seed stock producers will benefit by advertising their breeding programs through testing and marketing bulls. Using the latest animal breeding concepts and tools will provide a showcase for superior beef cattle genetics in the state, he said.

Although Florida residents will have priority for the testing, bulls from other states will be accepted based on space availability. Testing will begin July 14 and 15 for bulls born in 1999 and Sept. 8 and 9 for bulls born in 2000.

To ensure space, interested breeders should apply as soon as possible and no later than June 1, Sand said. Bulls will be grouped by their age, which must be between 175 and 317 days when delivered to the UF/IFAS research and education center in Marianna.

For more information on bull testing and entry forms, contact the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Educational Center (NFREC) in Marianna at (850) 482-9904 or Bob Sand in the UF/IFAS Department of Animal Science in Gainesville at (352) 392-7529.

Sand also alerted producers to the following upcoming events:

  • Florida Cattlemen’s Association Seedstock Council Seminar, “Seedstock at the Dawn of A New Century,” March 4, 2000, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Jackson County Extension Office and NFREC Marianna Beef Unit; includes lectures by industry specialists, panel discussion, lunch, tour and bull-test preview. Call (352) 392-7529.
  • Forty-Ninth Annual Beef Cattle Short Course, sponsored by UF/IFAS, May 3-5, 2000 at Sheraton Hotel, Gainesville, FL. Topics related to reproductive management will be discussed by Florida beef producers, UF/IFAS staff and 15 professionals from across the country. Early registration deadline is April 14. Call (352) 392-5930 or visit http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/~conferweb/beef/

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