Published on 02/28/18

UGA Extension to host Beef Cattle Short Course

By Julie Jernigan

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will hold the Beef Cattle Short Course on Tuesday, March 6, one day before the annual Tifton Bull Evaluation Sale. Both events will be held at the Tifton Bull Evaluation Center in Irwinville, Georgia. 

The short course is a daylong educational program, and speakers cover a specific topic each year. This year’s course will feature information on economics for cow and calf producers, according to Jacob Segers, UGA Extension beef specialist.

“We’re seeing some volatility in the different sectors of the cattle market, and we don’t know if that’s going to have a ripple effect down the road in beef production with the ways things are looking,” Segers said.

Levi Russell, Athens, Georgia-based UGA agricultural economist, along with Chris Prevatt, the state livestock economist from the University of Florida, will provide producers with the latest information. Their course includes a panel discussion about the best marketing strategies for producers to use to make a bigger profit.

“It’s basically an opportunity to get county agents and producers in the same room and discuss what’s relevant in the industry,” Segers said.

Before the bulls are auctioned on May 7, they are put through a 112-day performance test. Producers from all over Georgia can consign pure-blooded or full-blooded bulls or registered, crossbred bulls. The cattle are adapted to full feed during the test to see how much weight they can gain, Segers said.

“We test to see which bulls can gain the most weight in the shortest amount of time possible because that tells us a lot about the growth potential of the calves they will produce,” he said. “Animals that grow faster will weigh more when sold, and since we sell them by the pound, that’s important.”

After testing, Segers and his staff separate the top two-thirds of each breed of cattle based on a combination of average daily gain and weight per day of age. The subsequent sale order is then constructed based solely on this criteria, regardless of breed.

“I always look forward to the sale because it represents the best performance cattle in all of Georgia,” Segers said. “Our consignors do a fantastic job of staying on top of the latest genetics and technology every year. That’s the point of this program, to be at the forefront of scientific application to breed production, so we’re really proud of this event.”

At the sale, bull prices vary with the market, but breed and genetics influence prices.

“We’ve got a really nice set of cattle this year, and I hope the sale goes well for buyers,” Segers said. “I know what the bulls are worth, and I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished. We hold the sale because it’s an incentive to use our educational programs. The real advantage of these programs is what you learn about your genetics and how you can apply that to your operation.”

Buyers do not have to be present at the sale. They can participate online at and electronically bid.

For more information regarding the sale, such as performance reports, catalogs and live videos of the bulls up for auction, visit or contact a local UGA Extension agent. For more information on how to register for the Beef Cattle Short Course, visit

Julie Jernigan is an intern at the UGA Tifton campus.

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