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How to improve and know your bull’s fertility

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Your herd’s genetic potential lies with its herd sires. Making bull fertility a vital component  is important when it comes to cow breeding . You don’t want your bulls to be under-productive because it will greatly affect your farm reproduction calendar. Moreover, you can also be able to know a bull’s fertility before introducing them to the females. Here is how you can improve and know your bull’s fertility

Nutrition

25-30 weeks of age can ultimately determine the reproductive health of a bull. If bulls are fed at a moderate level up to 30 weeks of age, it not only optimizes the growth of the bull, but also its reproductive potential. On the other hand, if you underfeed bulls prior to 25-30 weeks, you cause a permanent decrease in the size of the testes and, to some extent, delayed puberty.  Overfeeding bulls after 25-30 weeks of age can cause reductions in semen quality and fertility.

Bull behaviour

To be reproductively sound, a bull must be able to identify cows that are in a recurring period of sexual receptivity. It also must be able to mount and breed those cows. In addition, the bull must be able to deliver large numbers of normal sperm. A decrease in one or more of those qualities will result in limited fertility.

Fertility examination

When examining bulls, look at the health and well-being of the bull, his structural soundness, and evidence of infectious disease or any other abnormalities that would affect his ability to successfully breed cows.  You should correctly measure scrotal circumference, collect and evaluate semen through the help of your Veterinary. Minimum requirements include a maximum of 30% abnormal sperm cells, a maximum of 20% sperm with head defects and a minimum of 30% sperm motility.

There are also minimum standards for scrotal circumference, but they vary from one breed to another. It’s crucial that a bull is normal, healthy, has no structural defects and that it meets the minimum requirements in motility.Furthermore,its morphology and scrotal circumference should be deemed acceptable.

Categorizing them

A bull is sorted into one of two categories if deemed unacceptable. Bulls deemed permanently unacceptable possess a defect that is very unlikely to improve. If a bull is currently unacceptable, but believed able to improve, he is sorted into the second category where a reevaluation is recommended in three to six weeks or longer.

Bull breeding soundness exams is important. The intent here is to identify the bulls that will have low fertility. It’s difficult or impossible to identify one bull as being a better bull or having higher fertility. Your goal should be to eliminate the bulls at the lower end that aren’t expected to have reasonable fertility.

Failure to conduct a bull breeding soundness exam can result in significant and expensive losses at the production level.

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