TheBeefSite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the beef industry

News

Successful Bull Breeding

23 October 2009

US - Successful bull breeding was the focus of this year's Cattlemen's Day in South Carolina.

The keys to successful bull breeding are pregnancy and calving rates, says Roger Ellis, a beef cattle veterinarian at the University of Georgia. He believes that optimising a bull's performance is the most effective tool in natural breeding.

Speaking at the 2009 Cattlemen's Day, earlier in October, Mr Ellis said that 90 per cent of beef producers use bulls in natural breeding. The goal in a planned breeding programme is to achieve the highest rate of pregnancy early in the breeding season.

He stated that the four key attributes a bull must have are that it:
  • is physically capable of breeding,
  • has willingness to mate,
  • has the capacity to produce semen and
  • has functionally normal spermatozoa.

The health of a bull’s spermatozoa contributes to the survival of the embryo, Mr Ellis said. It’s not a widely published fact, but the beef animal is not a highly fertile animal, and only about 65 per cent of fertilisations become pregnancies.

Twenty-five per cent to 35 per cent of pregnancies are lost in the cows. Those losses often are blamed on the bull, and it can be the bull’s fault in some cases, said Mr Ellis.

For example, genetic deficiencies in the bull’s spermatozoa may mean that though it is capable of fertilisation, it is not capable of sustaining an embryo. Mr Ellis stated that the industry was looking to maximise the potential of those bulls over their breeding lifetime.

The Cattlemen's Day was hosted by Clemson University’s Edisto Research and Education Center, Clemson extension and the South Carolina Cattlemen’s Association.

 

TheCattleSite News Desk



Partners


Seasonal Picks

Managing Pig Health: A Reference for the Farm - 2nd Edition