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Is Your Bull A Stud Or A Dud?
Updated March 10, 2016 9:49 AM | Filed under: Agriculture
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(SPRINGVILLE) - Evaluation of bulls for soundness is one of the most neglected management practices of Indiana's cattle producers.

A bull is expected to settle 20 to 50 cows during the breeding season and too often his ability to do so is taken for granted.

With the extreme cold weather and strong winds that sent the wind chill way below zero we are expecting a higher percentage of the bulls to fail the exam this year. Some of the results I have been hearing are that up to 60 percent of the bulls are not sound due to cold weather problems so this is the year to make sure you get your bulls tested.

The evaluation should be done prior to the breeding season. Breeding problems that are discovered at pregnancy checking occur far too late to prevent substantial loss of income. Breeders that sell bulls should have them evaluated prior to the sale. Bull supplies depend largely on repeat customers and selling an infertile bull may cost the breeder a good customer as well as create a lot of bad advertisement.

The breeding soundness exam cannot guarantee fertility, but it is the best method available to predict which bull will not settle cows. Approximately 10 percent of bulls will fail the Breeding Soundness Evaluation. the routine BSE will not detect bulls with low libido; therefore observation of the bull in the breeding pasture is still important. Observe bulls to confirm that they are finding and mating cows that are in heat. Observe the same cows in three weeks to be sure that he is "settling cows."

The BSE includes an evaluation of structural soundness, evaluation of the reproductive anatomy and most importantly, evaluation of semen quality. During the BSE a semen sample is collected and evaluated immediately for percent motile sperm. Minimally 30 percent of the sperm must be motile in order for the bull to pass the exam. The same sample is then stained and individual sperm are evaluated. Seventy percent of the cells must be normally miscroscopically for the bull to be acceptable.

Due to a cost increase from the veterinarian and a substantial increase in insurance cost the evaluation charge has increased to $50 a bull. Bulls must be at least one year old and weigh at least 900 pounds.

The Greene/Lawrence County BSE's will be held on Monday, March 28 at Springville Feeder Auction. Appointments are required and must be scheduled by preregistering through the Lawrence County Extension Office (812) 275-4623 by 4 p.m. March 25. Call the Lawrence County Extension Office at (812) 275-4623 or Greene County Extension Office at (812) 659-2122 if you have any questions.

These BSE Clinics are conducted annually through the joint cooperation of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and the Lawrence County Cattle Association along the Cooperation of the Springville Feeder Auction.

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