Thursday, February 21, 2013

Time to Check Soundness of Bulls at Special Clinics Says Extension Specialist

Contact: Eldon Cole, livestock specialist
Tel: (417) 466-3102

Three Bull Breeding Soundness Clinics are scheduled in mid-March at Miller, Cassville, and Aurora veterinary clinics.

Each clinic begins at 8 a.m. and appointments are made directly with the veterinary clinic.

Cooperating with University of Missouri Extension this spring are: March 12, Dake Veterinary Clinic in Miller, (417) 452-3301; March 15, Barry County Veterinary Services in Cassville, (417) 847-2677; and March 21, Countryside Animal Clinic in Aurora, (417) 678-4011.

“Cow-calf producers are encouraged to get as many of their bulls tested on these special days as possible,” said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The semen evaluation, physical measurements and observation of the bull for structural soundness, done during these clinics enables owners to decide if the bull is capable of getting cows bred in a 60 to 75 day breeding season.

In addition to a soundness critique, all bulls will receive vaccinations and parasite treatments at a reduced rate. Genetic and trichomoniasis testing are available but optional.

The BSE clinics began in 2005 and are now conducted in March and October. During that time, an average of 89.3 percent of the bulls at the clinics are found to be satisfactory potential breeders. The benefit of giving the bulls BSE is not just to identify bulls that may be incapable of breeding cows but to find bulls that are really low in fertility.

“Bulls with a low fertility will breed a few cows but their big fault is their calf crop will be scattered. An uneven set of calves present challenges in management and marketing after they hit the ground,” said Cole.

One item the BSE does not cover is the bull’s libido and ability to actually service a cow or heifer. Coles says that to analyze this phase of breeding requires the farmer to closely watch the bull early in the breeding season.

“The breeding soundness exam by the veterinarian may reveal some potential breeding problems but not all of them,” said Cole.

During the clinics questions about upcoming bull sales, expected progeny differences (EPD) usage and body condition scoring will be answered.

“If these dates and locations do not work for you, contact your nearest veterinarian and schedule an appointment for a BSE for your bull battery. This helps avoid the last minute rush to find a bull if one should be failed or deferred by the veterinarian,” said Cole.

For more information contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Mt. Vernon, (417) 466-3102, Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551, Dona Goede in Cedar County, (417) 276-3313 or Logan Wallace in Howell County at (417) 256-2391.


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