Weighing Bulls On Test

Bonnie Larson Uncategorized Leave a Comment

We weighed our spring bulls on test this week, which means they have officially begun their feed test.

What does that mean exactly?  Well, come along and I’ll show you.

In our case, we run a feed test to determine which bull can grow the fastest/best on the least amount of feed: in other words, we measure how efficient they are. And to test that, we have to weigh each bull (or heifer or whatever animal we’re testing) two days back-to-back, average those weights, and get the official on-test weight.

Once we have an on-test weight for each animal, we measure how much feed he eats each day.  We do this with specialized bunks which track each bull and weigh how much feed he eats.

We collect the feed intake data for around 70 days, and then we weigh the bulls again, two days back to back, to get their official off test weight.

With this information, we know how much each bull ate, and how much he gained over the length of the test, so we can calculate his Feed to Gain (F:G) ratio.  This number tells us how many pounds of feed it took for the animal to gain one pound.

As feed costs are arguably the most expensive input in a cattle operation, the less feed it takes to gain a pound the better.  And I am excited to say that since we started testing and selecting for efficiency over 10 years ago, we have improved our efficiency dramatically.  In fact, by using efficient genetics, you can save over $100 on each animal you feed out.  That’s some real money!  And we keep getting better!

As you can see, I get a little bit excited about the whole thing, so I better just stop there.  But that’s what our feed test is all about and why we do it.

Thanks for coming along and learning about our operation!

Have a great day!

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