What traits do commercial cow-calf producers rank highest when making bull buying decisions? According to a BEEF magazine survey of our readers last January, disposition is the highest-ranked trait, garnering an average 4.5 score on a 5-point scale, with 5 being very important.

That’s one of the nuggets of data derived from the study that BEEF Senior Editor Burt Rutherford discussed with Wagyu breeders at their annual convention in Lexington, KY, recently. Rutherford was one of the featured speakers at the annual Wagyu gathering.

Interestingly, bull sellers gave disposition an equal rating. Next on the list was feet and leg soundness, garnering a 4.4 rating from both bull buyers and bull sellers. Third was overall conformation, which was rated 4.3 by bull sellers and 4.4 buy bull buyers.

“Following those top three, bull buyers began to rank the performance traits they want,” Rutherford says. “Weaning weight ranked 4.3 with bull buyers and 4.1 with bull sellers; birth weight ranked 4.2 with bull buyers and 4.4 with bull sellers; and yearling weight ranked 4.2 will bull buyers and 3.9 with bull sellers.”

Carcass and feedyard traits were ranked higher by bull buyers than by their seedstock suppliers, Rutherford told the Wagyu breeders. Bull buyers ranked carcass quality 3.9 while sellers gave it a 3.4; bull buyers gave feedlot performance a 3.9 compared with a 3.4 from bull sellers; and carcass yield was ranked 3.8 by commercial cow-calf producers while seedstock producers gave it a 3.3.

For more info, go to beefmagazine.com/genetics/. To see the survey data in its entirety, go to beefmagazine.com/mag/.
-- Burt Rutherford