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Dec 12

The Importance of Bull Fertility

During natural service, half of your herd’s fertility comes from the bull. Even with the best cows, there will be no calves without a fertile bull! With an infertile bull, this is obvious within a few weeks when cows begin to return. However problems arise with the sub-fertile bull. A sub-fertile bull will catch some cows, but some will return (and often get the blame), and unless you replace the bull, nothing can be done except stretch out your calving year on year. This is because he has low levels of healthy sperm and so can get cows in calf eventually. This will significantly decrease average weaning weights and increase financial output at roughly £2-£3 per cow per day.

We recommend fertility testing your bull a month to six weeks before the season begins.

How do we do this?

Restrained in a crush, and following a thorough physical examination we will collect a sample of semen using our EJ machine. This will be examined on farm under a microscope and we can indicate there and then if his fertility is satisfactory or unsatisfactory. We can then provide a certificate if required for a sale.
If the bull hasn’t been observed serving cows, his ability to do so needs to be known. This is usually your job to see the bull work in the field, but we can also help assess this.

Avoiding the cost of an infertile Bull:

  • Test for absence of disease
  • Monitor body condition and ensure in good condition prior to mating
  • Monitor need for foot trimming 2 months prior to mating
  • Fertility examination – quantity and quality of semen
  • Performance at mating – does he want to and does he know how!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.tetheravets.co.uk/the-importance-of-bull-fertility/