Bull soundness clinics planned for October
Following a long hot summer, smart cow-calf producers will schedule a visit to a veterinarian for a bull breeding soundness evaluation according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
In southwest Missouri, Cole says most herds use a fall-calving group of cows to go along with those calving earlier in the year. As a result, the herd bull battery should be checked for readiness to be turned back with the cows in late November, early December.
"The past hot summer was not favorable to getting a high percentage of cows bred. Part of the blame could be placed on the bulls. A breeding soundness exam will clarify whether a bull should be ready for service this fall or whether the owner should start looking for a replacement," said Cole.
Bull breeding soundness clinics have been scheduled for Oct. 8, 10 and 11. Cooperating veterinary clinics are Barry County Veterinary Service, Cassville; Dake Veterinary Clinic, Miller; and Countryside Animal Clinic, Aurora.
The three days will allow the veterinarians to exam only 75 or 80 bulls. Therefore, owners will need to check possible alternative dates with their veterinarians if the awareness clinics are filled.
Included in the exam will be the regular BSE, which is scrotal measurement, accessary sex gland palpation, penis evaluation, semen collection and observation for normal sperm count and activity. The bulls are evaluated for hoof and leg, soundness, body condition score and other physical traits that could impair their breeding ability.
Trichomoniasis testing is encouraged for all bulls that may be suspects due to an unusual number of open cows, bulls that have visited from other farms or rental bulls. The trich test is an additional charge but will be good insurance for the health of the herd.
In addition to the basic BSE test, all bulls will receive parasite control treatment and be vaccinated to prepare them for turnout. Pfizer Animal Health and University of Missouri Extension cooperate with the veterinarians on the clinics.
Appointments may be made by calling the veterinary clinics at these numbers: Cassville, 417-847-2677; Miller 417-452-3301; and Aurora 417-678-4011.
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; or Dona Goede in Cedar County, 417-276-3313.