News & Advice

Would your bulls pass a fertility test?

Sep 3, 2020 | Bulls, Dry stock

Travis Scott, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Raglan

Having poor bull fertility can be a significant issue in all cattle breeding systems, with the potential for major financial losses. I was called out to fertility test a mob of three Angus stud bulls that had been purchased at considerable expense to be used over maiden beef heifers for one of my clients. These three bulls had been used the season before, with a high empty rate of 18% after 9 weeks of mating, and the farmer was concerned that the bulls were the issue and wanted them tested before using them this season.

All three bulls were very impressive looking animals, with no issues with scrotal circumference and no signs of any physical issues that would cause issues with fertility. On semen evaluation however, all three failed our testing criteria, with one bull being completely sterile, and two bulls having poor fertility.

Unfortunately, the case above is not uncommon, with many of the bulls that we fail appearing to be perfectly healthy from the outside and it is not until we examine the sperm that we find issues. Once the bulls above were identified as being the issue, the farmer sold the bulls for slaughter at a significant financial loss, and purchased more bulls that had been fertility tested, resulting in a much lower empty rate for that season.

Getting your bulls tested prior to use will help to ensure that your bulls will not let you down when you need them to perform. Fertility testing is a quick and easy process, and involves full examination of bull, and collection and microscopic evaluation of the sperm. To book in fertility testing for your bulls, please contact your vet and they will put you in touch with our bull testing team.

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