As you gear up for another breeding season, don’t go in with your fingers crossed that you’ll get the results you want and need: schedule Breeding Soundness Exams (BSE) for your bulls.
A BSE is a snapshot of your bull’s reproductive status and captures his condition at the time the test is administered. Because up to 20 percent of bulls are sub-fertile, and fertility can change over time due to a variety of factors, including age, nutrition, injury and disease, it is in your best interests to have BSEs performed on each of your breeding bulls every year, approximately four to six weeks prior to the start of the breeding season. This will allow time for retesting bulls labeled “classification deferred” or to cull and replace unsatisfactory ones. We will evaluate the physical factors that go into determining fertility, including scrotal circumference and semen quality. Bulls with larger scrotal circumferences have been shown to have a higher rate of quality sperm and, as a result, higher fertility rates. Semen quality is broken down into three parts: volume, motility and morphology. Motility examines what percentage of spermatozoa has forward movement in a sample and morphology looks at the number of normal spermatozoa in a sample compared to those with abnormalities. Both help determine the probability of the bull to successfully inseminate the cows and heifers in your herd. We will also evaluate the overall physical condition of your bulls, evaluating eyes, teeth, feet and legs in addition to the sex organs and overall soundness. While a BSE will give a big picture determination of the potential of your bulls to successfully breed, the results should be considered in conjunction with individual breeding behavior to fully determine each bull’s breeding status.
Breeding behavior consists of libido, or the desire to mate, and serving capacity, or the ability to complete the mating act. While there are tests that can be administered to determine whether bulls possess positive breeding behavior, these traits can also be assessed by observation during the breeding season.
A successful breeding season takes more than just wishful thinking. By having a BSE conducted on each of your bulls every year, you can help ensure your seasons will have the best possible outcome. Contact us to schedule your bulls today!