Bull Exam Time For Fall Season

  • Published: Friday, Sept. 10, 2021

Mt. Vernon, MO –  Many beef cow owners in southern Missouri have two breeding seasons.  This helps stretch their bull power over 50 or more females per year when managed properly.

One of the practices that helps stretch the usefulness of the bull or bulls is to have regular bull breeding soundness exams performed by a veterinarian.  A useful time schedule is to allow a bull around 60 to 70 days with the females then remove them to the bull lot, pen or pasture.  During the time the bulls are away from the females is also a good time to put condition back on them.  This applies especially for young bulls that may be in the 4, or below, body condition score range.

It’s also a good time to have bulls checked for any problems that might have surfaced during the breeding season.  Just because your bulls checked out okay ahead of this spring’s turnout doesn’t mean they’re still okay.  In the winter we worry about scrotal frost bite and other cold weather issues.  As we close out the summer, we see problems related to fescue toxicity, heat stress, disease issues such as pinkeye and foot rot.  Remember, a drop in conception rates can trace back almost two months when the bull’s sperm were just beginning the development process.  For this reason we encourage early pregnancy checking rather than waiting until weaning time.

Another plus for checking the breeding success of the recent season is it gives the cow owner a chance to semen or bull shop while the bull sale season is just starting.  The months of March and October have become timely periods to evaluate bulls for breeding soundness.

Some cow-herd owners check their bulls twice a year while others stick with one time.  For insurance purposes, don’t rely on bull checks just when you see cows that should be bred coming in heat.  If you calve in the fall, October is a good month to check your bulls.

Several veterinary clinics cooperate with University of Missouri Extension field specialists in livestock to schedule special days for breeding soundness exams.  Besides the regular booster vaccinations, bulls can be dewormed, treated for lice, have hooves worked on, tested for Trichomoniasis and even pull tissue or blood for genomic testing.  Zoetis also cooperates on these special days.

The upcoming dates are on the calendar.

·         October 12 - Dake Veterinary Clinic, Miller                            417-452-3301

·         October 14 - Animal Clinic of Diamond, Diamond               417-325-4136

·         October 20 - Barry County Vet Service, Cassville                 417-847-2677

·         October 21 - Countryside Animal Clinic, Aurora                   417-678-4011

Please call for an appointment or contact your own veterinary service so your bulls will be in top shape to get your fall – 2022 calf crop well bunched.

For more information contact the participating veterinary clinics or Lawrence County University of Missouri Extension Center at 417-466-3102.

Writer: Eldon Cole

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