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Midland Bull Test brings top five percent of bulls in 2018’s ‘The Final Sort’ bull sale

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Columbus, Mont. – “Here at Midland Bull Test, we are passionate about our history, and it is our goal to share our stories, as it is this legacy that brings our business to life – our enduring attention to the essence of who we are and the philosophy we maintain,” says Midland Bull Test. “This philosophy was started with Leo, Sr. and Donna in the 1960s, and that’s the way we’ll stay.”

Over 700 bulls from seven breeds will sell April 5-6 at the Midland Bull Test sale facility outside Columbus, Mont.

The sale this year, dubbed “The Final Sort,” will feature the top five percent of 20,000 matings, with 200 Salers, Simmental, Red Angus, South Devon, Hereford and American Aberdeen bulls, as well as 500 Angus bulls.

‘The Final Sort’ is exactly that, as we sort through the bulls again and again. Here lies the process that embodies the very purpose of Midland,” says Midland Bull Test. “The performance of bulls during the test determines whether they will  clear hurdle after hurdle to be considered for ‘The Final Sort’ Sale.”

Each year, Midland strives to stay at the forefront of cattle data acquisition and analysis, gathering more information and setting out with the purpose of understanding what that data means to producers. 

Bull test

For 56 years, Midland Bull Test has measured the differences between bulls by observing and documenting average daily gain, genetic expression, phenotypic strengths and more, all with the goal of focusing on soundness and fertility. 

“In this era of genomics and expected progeny differences (EPDs) that we once only dreamed of, the actual amount of data can be overwhelming,” Midland Bull Test says. “One thing remains with the sale, however. Actual performance without efficiency is the true test of progress.” 

Midland strives to keep commercial cattlemen in mind as they select their criteria, using economically relevant traits to determine sale order. 

The high-roughage ration fed to bulls on test promote ultimate soundness in the feet and legs and also aids in achieving the highest levels of fertility. 

“Our bulls walk through the sale in fit using condition ready to go to work,” MBT explains. “Every effort is made to offer functional bulls that transition into the life of a successful and fit asset to any operation.”

Feed efficiency

An important part of Midland Bull Test is the use of feed efficiency EPDs to attempt to capture each animal’s genetic ability to put on more weight with less feed. 

“While there are many ways to calculate feed efficiency, including feed conversion ratio and residual average daily gain, an especially useful way
is residual feed intake (RFI),” explains Midland Bull Test. 

RFI adjusts for the animal’s weight and gain when measuring feed intake. 

“An animal that eats more also tends to be larger and gain more weight,” Midland Bull Test says. “By adjusting these factors out of their intake measurement, we are able to better understand which animals process feed more efficiently.” 

When selecting for typical growth traits, as well as utilizing a measure of intake in the form of RFI, Midland Bull Test explains producers are avoiding “double counting” the animal’s size. 

RFI is expressed in actual kilograms of feed an animal will eat per day. For example, if a bull has an RFI of 0.65, producers should expect the bull’s calves to eat 0.65 kilograms more feed per day than the average calf his size. 

“Another consideration is the accuracy of prediction in selecting animals,” Midland Bull Test comments. “Single trait selection is always a bad idea. RFI is no exception for this rule.” 

Further, Midland Bull Test emphasizes RFI selection should be used in conjunction with selection for growth, including weaning weight, yearling weight and post-wean gain EPDs. 

“This will allow breeders to pick animals that gain the most while consuming the least amount of feed,” they emphasize.

Sale day

On April 5-6, bull sales start at 11 a.m., with awards presented prior to the sale. 

The sale order is determined using the Midland Bull Test Index and Estimated Sale Value. The sale order will be posted in advance of the sale, and a sale catalog is available at Small changes should be expected and will be posted online. 

The sale will be broadcast live online via Frontier Live Sale at Buyers who are unable to attend the sale can bid online or using telephone bid lines at 406-322-9911. All buyers must register prior to sale, and new buyers must provide bank references. 

On sale day, anyone who needs information can reach Midland Bull Test at 406-322-5597, 406-322-9044 or 406-322-9911. 

Joe Goggins, Roger Jacobs and Greg Goggins will serve as auctioneers for the event. 

Kurt Kangas from the American Angus Association, Gary Fike from the Red Angus Association of America, Dean Pike of the American Salers Association, Will Townsend from the American Simmental Association, Jim Brown of the North American South Devon Association and Dean Pike of the American Aberdeen Association will be available, as well. 

“Whenever people see the Circle Running M Brand, they know that over 56 years stand behind it,” MBT comments. “Bull that we develop today must walk the walk and tell their own story. This commitment provides our customers the confidence that our ‘Final Sort’ sale is just that – the final sort of top-end bulls.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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