As I mentioned earlier, I don't use stats to determine which bucks go to a performance test. However, on the flip side, the data that I receive from the tests are critical to my future breeding plans. When picking bucks for a test, my first criteria is the sire of the bucklings. Then I pick out the biggest and best-structured bucklings to send to test. The goal of the test for me is to determine which herdsires I am using are producing the best kids -- as determined by average daily gain, overall health and parasite resistance.
If bucklings perform well, it gains them a seat as a potential future herdsire; it also helps me determine the future breeding plans for the sire. Last year at Oklahoma, several of my bucks finished near the bottom (remember at the time they were nominated for the test they were the best looking buck kids in the pasture!). These bucklings were out of a buck I had purchased that I thought would be a good outcross for my does. This test proved that would NOT be the case and the buck has since been disposed of, along with his male offspring. Surprisingly, many of the doe kids have performed well on-farm and are still under evaluation.
One of the bucks I selected for the Western Illinois University feed test was a totally different story. He was selected on looks but mainly on who his daddy was. I used an own son of TAY Onyx out of a "Nick" daughter. This buck's genetics worked. This sire is not that impressive to look at in the pasture. This is one of those cases where the pedigree did look better than the sire himself but the genetics proved themselves in the performance test.
His kid (100% New Zealand Kiko) finished #1 in average daily gain with an overall ADG of .71 pounds. At his 84-day weighing, he recorded an unheard of 1.35 adg. I, as well as one of the test organizers, questioned the accuracy of this reading because it was so high but the techs stood behind their scales and readings.
In the final rankings however, my buck dropped down to No. 5 when feed efficiency and the loin-eye measurements were calculated but I was pleased with my Kiko's performance. In fact, the top three bucks in average daily gain were Kikos in a large field of Boers. Other top Kikos came from my friends at Bear Creek Kikos and Adams Family Kikos, both in Illinois.
My top-gaining buck, ECR Dominic, was purchased at the 2010 Cream of the Crop Kiko Sale by Randy and Lolli Allen of Allen Farms in Dunlap, Tenn., near Chattanooga.