News & Advice

Bull Availability and Health

Jul 5, 2021 | Bulls, Dairy Farm Reproduction, Dry stock

Ali Cullum, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Morrinsville

Are you grazing animals that need mating this spring? 

Have you talked with your animal owners about their requirements for mating. Mating start and end dates, bull source, bull numbers, bull health.

The bulls should be organized now as bull sales are already taking place. They will need a ratio of 4% plus 1 for each mating group. So, if you have 45 heifers, 4% is 1.8 bulls, plus 1 is 2.8, or 3 bulls for the 45 heifer mob. Are you using 1 year old, 18 month or 2 year bulls? If you are using yearlings you should always have more bulls rather than less, their mating stamina is less than that of an older animal.


What about bull health? 

Just because they are bulls does not mean they are fertile or free of sexually transmitted disease! There is the obvious visual appearance, animals should have normal conformation and be physically sound, so clear eyes, normal jaw (not undershot), good legs and feet, no lameness, two easily visible even sized testicles, a normal penis without warts. In addition, they should be tested as free of BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea) and vaccinated against BVD. Fertility testing is also recommended, only 80-90% of bulls are fertile, the rest are infertile or subfertile. You can start your bull health plan now, it does not need to wait until September!

Remember your bulls also need to be free of tuberculosis (TB) and Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis). Make sure you know the disease status of the bull source farms.

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