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Donnie Robertson scanning for IMF at the beginning of the test. (Photo courtesy of American Brahman Breeders Association.)

The 2019 Third Annual ABBA Bull Gain Test was recently concluded at Texana Feeders in Floresville, Texas, with a total of 47 purebred bulls from 18 breeders completing the 120-day test. All bulls were required to be registered with ABBA and have a current birth weight and birth weight expected progeny difference, averaging 74 and 1.6 pounds respectively, and an adjusted weaning weight, averaging 540 pounds.The bulls arrived in April and after a 45-day warmup period they were placed on a silage based growing ration for the test.

At the beginning of the test, all bulls were evaluated by a group of commercial cattlemen under the supervision of the Wilson County Extension Agent Bryan Davis for structural soundness and docility. Unsound or unruly bulls were removed at that time. Bulls were then weighed and scanned for carcass merit by Donnie Robertson, certified ultrasound technician. At the end of the test, bulls were weighed and measured for hip height to determine frame score. One week later, Dr. Wayne Deason, DVM, of Floresville, conducted the breeding soundness examination on all the bulls, including semen collection and evaluation and scrotal circumference measurements.

On test, the bulls weighed an average of 932 and averaged 414 days of age. Ultrasound ribeye area averaged 10.9 square inches or very acceptable 1.18 square inch per one hundred pounds of live weight. An average of 1.10 is required for adequate carcass muscling. Average rib fat thickness was 0.18 inches, corresponding to a low body condition score 5, and average rump fat was 0.28 inches. Rump fat is used as an indicator of environmental adaptability. Brahman cattle tend to have more rump fat than rib fat. Intramuscular fat averaged 3.29, corresponding to Slight marbling score, or the Select quality grade. Seven bulls had IMF scores over 4.0 (corresponding to Small marbling or Choice quality grade.

Off test the bulls weighed an average of 1238, averaging 2.55 pounds per day in average daily gain. Frame scores averaged 6.2, 54.5-inch height at 17.5 months of age. Bulls passing their BSE averaged 34.1 centimeters in scrotal circumference.

The test uses a performance index based on the equally weighted ratios for each bull’s birthweight EPD, average daily gain, ribeye area per hundredweight, intramuscular fat and scrotal circumference. Three awards are given highest average daily gain, highest scan—based on the weighted average for ribeye area per hundredweight and intramuscular fat, and highest index. The high average daily gain bull was BUTLER FRANKLIN 101 owned by Butler Farms, Mount Vernon, Texas. The high index bull and high scan bull was NMSU 6X SUNLAND 8116 owned by New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico.

This year, ABBA will sell all bulls that index 100 or above. This year the sale will consist of 21 bulls. The 2019 ABBA Performance Tested Bull Sale will be held on Oct. 28 to 30 on Cattle In Motion.

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