Is your bull’s fertility up to the mating job?

Foot crush
Foot crush

Did you know that two out of 10 bulls tested are subfertile? This is why we spend a lot of time testing bulls before they go out.

Mating a subfertile bull to a suckler herd will result in a lower pregnancy rate during the critical first six weeks of the breeding period and a less concentrated calving pattern.

A fertile bull can get 90 per cent of 50 normal, disease-free cows pregnant within nine weeks, and 60 per cent within the first three weeks of mating.

One of the most important goals of efficient beef suckler herd management is a short, concentrated calving period. The average difference in weight of calves born in the first three weeks is 21kg more than those born in the second three weeks.

A bull breeding assessment includes a condition score, physical examination, locomotion and feet assessment and semen testing. Everything is done on site, with immediate results and a written report for each bull.

We also recommend an assessment of the bull in action. A poor result doesn’t condemn the bull, but it does place a big question mark over his fertility. We recommend re-testing after six weeks in these cases.

Bulls may be examined one to two months before bulling, prior to sale for insurance purposes, or when a fertility problem is suspected.

New bulls should be semen tested, as well as tested for infectious diseases before introduction to the herd. Making sure your bull is up to date with vaccinations, worming, fluke, lice and mineral doses is important well in advance of turnout.

All that is required for restraint is a secure crush. We have a new tipping crush for foot trimming, which allows testing to be carried out at the same time, as long as there is time for the bull to recover from any feet issues.