Bull fertility test provides producers with vital data | Business

Fertility of the herd bull is essential to a successful cow-calf operation. In many respects, it is more of a concern than that of the cow since bulls contribute half of the genetic potential of the entire calf crop in comparison to a cow that is expected to wean only one calf per year.

Sub-fertile bulls create low calf crop percentages and can be responsible for poor herd weaning weights. This is evidenced by the fact that for every heat cycle a female fails to conceive, there is a corresponding decrease in calf weaning weight from 25 to 45 pounds.

It doesn’t take long to realize that poor fertility or infertility of a bull can be extremely expensive to the cow-calf producer.

Libido and fertility influence bull breeding performance. Currently no test exists for determining libido in bulls. Examination of the bull during the breeding season is the only option. Libido is highly heritable and highly correlated to serving capacity. Bulls with high libido can service more cows.

Our only tool to assess bull fertility is the breeding soundness exam.

Beef bulls should be evaluated for breeding soundness 30 to 60 days before the breeding season is scheduled to begin. A breeding soundness exam helps eliminate losses due to infertility and provides time to replace questionable or unsatisfactory bulls. A breeding soundness evaluation should include: a physical examination, an examination of the reproductive tract and a semen evaluation.

Local producers are being provided an opportunity to get a BSE completed on their bulls in time for the bull to be ready for the spring breeding season.

The Hardin County Cattlemen’s Association is providing a bull Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation clinic Tuesday, March 15, at the Hardin County Livestock Events Center, 115 Opportunity Way, Elizabethtown. Producers can bring their bulls to the clinic anytime from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on that day. Dr. Scott Blair, DVM, will perform the evaluation on participating bulls. Cost is $50 per bull; however, members of the Hardin County Cattlemen’s Association are entitled to a discounted rate of $25 per bull.

Bulls will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. The BSE Clinic is open to all producers and those from other counties.

The Livestock Events Center provides a drive-thru, secure unloading/loading, as well as safe handling equipment for processing. There is no pre-registration required for the clinic.

That same day, in the evening, the Cattlemen’s Association will be holding an educational session on beef reproduction and the new UK Beef IRM X10D program, which will be presented by Dr. Les Anderson, UK Beef Extension specialist.

This meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a BEEF — It’s What’s for Dinner meal provided to all those who RSVP by calling the Extension Service office at 270-765-4121. Dr. Blair also will share results of the BSE’s conducted that day.

So mark March 15 on your calendar and load up your bull and bring him to town.

THISTLE SPRAYING

What used to be known as the Thistle Spraying Program offered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture now is known as the Nuisance Weed Spraying Program and is being offered again this year.

KDA will provide the sprayer and enough chemical for the treatment of 10 acres of agricultural land or 100 gallons of spot spraying mix to be used on agricultural land. A number of nuisance weeds can be treated under this program depending on the needs of the participant. This program is limited to broadleaf weeds.

The online application period ends Feb. 28 for those that want to participate. A link can be found under online services on the KDA website at kyagr.com. Program is first come, first serve and open to all Hardin County residents.

If you don’t have access to a computer and/or don’t know how to apply online, contact us at the Hardin County Extension Service and we can get you registered for the program.

There is a maximum of seven participants per county. KDA will provide enough herbicide to spray 10 acres and an additional 10 acres can be sprayed with the producer providing the chemical.

All approved applicants must provide a water source, tractor and operator. All chemical products must be labeled and the labels will be strictly followed.

Doug Shepherd is a Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. He can be reached at 270-765-4121, Ext. 102, or douglas.shepherd@uky.edu.

Doug Shepherd is a Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. He can be reached at 270-765-4121, Ext. 102, or douglas.shepherd@uky.edu.

Source link