Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural and Extension Education

Major Professor

Roy R. Lessly

Committee Members

James Neel, Randol Waters


The purpose of this study was to determine the selection criteria buyers use for purchasing performance tested bulls at the Senior Performance Tested Bull Sale conducted at the UT Central Bull Test Center. Various criteria were examined including: trait selection, perception of the effectiveness of the performance program, perception of the individuals purchasing bulls in relation to the buyer's demographic locations and buyer characteristics.

To facilitate the purpose of this study, the following specific objectives were developed:

To develop a profile of the personal and farm characteristics of producers who purchased performance tested bulls through the Senior Performance Tested Bull Sale.

To determine the most common selection criteria used by buyers when purchasing bulls and the relationship of those criteria to selected buyer demographic characteristics.

To determine buyers' perceptions of the level of satisfaction with the performance tested bull program and the relationship of those perceptions to selected buyer demographic characteristics.

This was a descriptive/correlational study which was Ex Post Facto in nature. Data collected using a researcher developed questionnaire. The questionnaire was field tested to determine content validity and reliability and appropriate adjustments were made prior to mailing to respondents.


The majority of respondents felt that the test records provided to them on the day of the sale were "useful." A large percentage of the respondents indicated their bulls were "productive breeders" and only a few experienced any calving problems with their bulls. Even fewer experienced any health problems with their purchased bull.

Most respondents were satisfied with the bull they purchased and the performance tested bull program. They responded positively to the question of whether they would buy from the sale again. It can be concluded that the overall satisfaction with the performance program is positive.

The dependent variables were four computed scale scores (descriptive information, general information, sale factors and performance information) based upon each respondents perceptions of the importance of various kinds of selection criteria. Scores for each set of factors were arranged in a Lickert-type scale ranging from one, being "very important" and four, being "very unimportant." The respondent had the opportunity to determine the degree of importance of each selection criterion.

Respondents rated the perceived importance of the various selection criteria provided to each potential buyer on sale day. The "descriptive" category received the highest rating while "disposition" was selected as the most important selection criterion within this category. "Performance information" followed as the next highest rated category. It should be noted that "milk EPD'' was selected as the single most important selection criterion in this category. "General information" followed as the next highest rated category. The highest rated criterion in the entire study is found in this category. "Breed" is the criterion that received the highest rating. "Sale factors" was the lowest rated of the categories with "reputation of sale" receiving the highest ranking criterion in this category.

There is no reason to conclude that there is a relationship between respondents' "level of education," "farming status," "method of marketing calves," "buyer's age," "size of operation," "number of years in beef business," or "buyers management of purchased bull" and their perceived importance of any of the four kinds of selection criteria provided to them about the bull.


The Senior Performance Tested Bull Sale has made an impact on the availability of genetically superior bulls in Tennessee. The selection criteria utilized by the responding individuals is the major strategy for selecting a superior bull. The data compiled in this study reveal that respondents' criteria for selecting bulls appears to be more of a descriptive nature rather than that of performance. It is apparent that the respondents, while interested in performance, indicated they do not fully understand the idea of performance information or that the phenotypic data is of more importance than the genetic data.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."