News & Advice

Bull fertility testing

Jul 30, 2019 | Bulls, Dry stock

Travis Scott, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Raglan

Over the mating period, the performance of the bulls used over your cows has a major impact on the future performance of your farm. Using insufficient bull power or sub-fertile or infertile bulls will have a profoundly negative effect on your conception rate, resulting in a significant proportion of your herd being dry.

Bull fertility testing is important to assess bulls reproductive health prior to mating you need to know that your bulls are in good overall health and are producing enough sperm, capable of getting your cows pregnant.

Bull semen assessment is a quick and simple procedure that can be conducted on farm with minimal impact on the bull. All we require to conduct the test is a set of yards where the bull can be well restrained; we bring all the rest of the equipment. A full physical examination is conducted to ensure the bull is of sufficient body condition, in good health and has testicles of adequate size. A semen sample is collected from the bull, either via manual stimulation or the use of an electro ejaculator. The semen sample is immediately assessed under a microscope, where the quantity and quality of the sperm is assessed. This results in an immediate pass/fail grade being given to each bull.

There are multiple causes of poor fertility in bulls, ranging from genetic conditions through to short-term infertility following sickness or poor body condition. Without assessing the semen of a bull, it can be very difficult to identify a problem as they will continue to service normally even if they have infertile semen; an issue may only be noticed when a high rate of returns is observed or perhaps not until scanning. With bull power having a significant impact on reproductive performance, it only takes one or two bulls to be infertile in a mob to result in issues with getting cows pregnant. Bull fertility testing is particularly important when single sire mating is being used, or when the cow to bull ratio is above 30:1. Talk to us today to book your bulls in for fertility testing.

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