Top-quality beef can be expensive. So it figures that prime on-the-hoof beef bulls are likewise – and worth every penny.
Pennsylvania's 40th performance-tested bull sale disappointed only those who didn't have winning bids. The March 29 sale at the Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center near Pennsylvania Furnace grossed a record $293,000 on 113 bulls – Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Red Angus, Simmental and crossbred bulls. It was the sale's largest-ever offering with bulls averaging $2,596 per head. Sellers and want-to-be buyers came from a number of states.
Topping the sale at $13,000 was an Angus from New Paradigm Farm of Chittenango, N.Y. He sold to Select Sires Inc. of Plain City, Ohio.
The second-highest selling bull was consigned by Riverbend Farm, Far Hills, N.J. He was purchased by Russell Hollenback of Towanda, Pa.
Here's how the sales broke out by breed:
•68 Angus bulls averaged $2,865
•1 Charolais bull brought $2,200
•7 Herefords averaged $1,914
•1 Limousin brought $2,000
•9 Red Angus averaged $2,756
•24 Simmentals averaged $2,100
•3 crossbreds averaged $1,900
How they were evaluated
The bulls completed a 112-day feed test at the center. They were evaluated on average daily gain, carcass traits and feed efficiency. After the testing period, the animals were ultrasonically scanned to determine ribeye area, marbling and fat thickness. They were also examined for breeding soundness.
Since 1973, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Performance Bull Testing Program has provided the Northeast beef industry with a way to measure inherited traits through sire evaluation.
The center has adapted with advancing technology, offering expanded information on bulls and enhancing their marketability to potential buyers. Careful guidance and foresight have developed the center into a regional hub for improving the beef industry.