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Checking bulls for breeding soundness

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					By the U of A Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary Hightower                   mhightower@uaex.edu            501-671-2126

Fast facts
    Soundness check should be conducted 30-60 days before breeding season
    Conformation, reproductive structures are key
    Breeding soundness clinic set for April 21, at Batesville station

(368 words)
Checking bulls for breeding soundness
      LITTLE ROCK – Checking a bull for breeding soundness in the months before breeding
season can save money and aggravation, says Brett Barham, extension livestock specialist with
the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.
        “The breeding soundness evaluation is a practical method to identify bulls with less-than-
satisfactory breeding potential,” Barham said. “With margins so narrow, producers can’t afford
to use a bull that’s not a satisfactory breeder.”
        Barham said “the evaluation should be conducted on every bull at least 30 to 60 days
before each breeding season to allow enough time to obtain replacements.”
        The first step is to find a local veterinarian who can perform the evaluation.
        During the evaluation, the examiner will look at the bull’s physical characteristics.
        “Most structural faults, such as sickle hocks and post legs, should be discriminated since
they are heritable and lead to lameness of the individual and will impair his willingness or ability
to travel,” he said. “The bull’s ability to eat, see and smell properly is also a consideration.”
        Other physical factors such as muscling, body condition and body size measurements
such as hip height, frame score and weight are also evaluated.
        “While these traits usually do not result in a bull being classified as unsatisfactory, they
may be may be a factor in his selection for breeding purposes,” Barham said.
        Other factors that require evaluation are soundness in the bull’s reproductive structure
and activity and shape of the bull’s sperm.
        A breeding soundness clinic is set for April 21 at the Livestock and Forestry Research
station in Batesville. There is no registration fee, however, there is a $35 fee for collecting the
bulls, vaccination and de-worming and an optional fee of $45 for a trichiminosis test.
        Interested producers can call 870-793-7432 to set up an appointment and for more
information. Testing slots begin at 9:30 a.m. and run through 4 p.m. If more than 60 bulls are set
for an appointment, the clinic may expand to two days.
       For more information about evaluating bulls for breeding soundness, contact your county
extension and/or see the fact sheet “Breeding Soundness Evaluation for Beef and Dairy Bulls,”
http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSA-3046.pdf.
       Information on breeding is also available in the Arkansas Purebred E-news, available
online at http://www.aragriculture.org/News/purebred_enews/2010/vol3no1.htm.
       The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of
Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national
origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected
status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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posted:9/5/2011
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