The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
“Virginia’s Finest” Bull Development Program


Why a Bull Development Program?


The primary responsibility for maintaining and improving the traits associated with efficient production lies in the hands of the seedstock producers. Genetic change in the commercial beef cattle population is controlled by the genetic merit of bulls produced by the seedstock producer and used by the commercial cattleman.

The Virginia Hereford Association (VHA) is taking this responsibility seriously. The VHA Sponsored Bull Development Program uses Virginia Department of Agriculture's Consumer Services (VDAC's) "Virginia's Finest" criteria as its basis and adds higher standards increasing the selection pressure on the bulls to be certified. The bulls that graduate are hardened to pasture conditions and will be ready to work in your herds.


What are the objectives of the Bull Development Program?


The VHA is providing its members an environment and a tool to develop bulls to their fullest genetic potential and offer for sale the highest quality Hereford bulls available in Virginia. This will also enable consignors to the VHA Bull Development Program a chance to evaluate their own programs against fellow breeders in Virginia and against the market requirements for bulls. Having bulls developed and evaluated while maintaining contemporary groups also affords the opportunity to measure where any program is and what adjustments may be needed to that program.


In any business there is a demand for continuous improvement of product. Performance breeding and the raising of standards while developing consistency are a must for gaining a market share for Hereford bulls. The VHA Bull Development Program Committee will continually evaluate and adjust the criteria and standards for this program.


What is the “Virginia’s Finest” Bull Development Program?


  • Participation is open to members of the Virginia Hereford Association who are Total Performance Reporting (TPR) breeders.
  • During this program, the bulls are fed for a minimum of 112 days with a target ADG of 3.5 pounds. The feed ration has a Net Energy for Gain (NEG) of 0.56 and the protein will be 12%.
  • The minimum adjusted weaning weight is 550 pounds with a minimum weaning weight ratio of 95.
  • The bulls delivered to the Bull Development Program must weigh a minimum of 2.5 pounds per day of age. An allowance of 2-6% is made for  shrinkage.
  •  The minimum adjusted yearling weight is 1050 with a minimum yearling weight ratio of 95 within the group.
  •  An Ultrasound examination will be made for back fat, rib eye size and intramuscular fat.
  • The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Livestock Marketing personnel, will officially evaluate and score all bulls for muscling, structural soundness and overall quality.
  • The minimum gain ratio will be 85.
  • The bulls must have a frame score of between 5.0 and 7.9.
  •  All bulls must pass a thorough Reproduction Soundness Exam to qualify, including scrotal measurement and palpation.
  • The Development Facility manager will observe and record the disposition of each bull during the evaluation period. Any bulls deemed to be of bad disposition would be disqualified.

Virginia Hereford Association