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Abstract

The selection of herd bulls is important in determining profitability of commercial ranchers and cow-calf operators as well as purebred producers. In this research, the key attributes of bulls – based on visual, performance, and ultrasound data – are valued using a traditional hedonic pricing model. The data are collected from the annual bull test trial and sale at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The results suggest that buyers at the SIUC Beef Evaluation Station are willing to pay more for bull characteristics associated with calving ease and weaning weights. For instance bulls with a combination of both lower birth weight Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) and high yearling weight EPDs than average can command premiums of over $1,150 per head or 67 percent above the average sale price. Farm managers can use this information in the selection of herd bulls while purebred operators can attempt to select for the most valuable traits.

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