MT. VERNON, Mo. — Bulls need a checkup at least once a year to assess their ability to serve and settle heifers and cows according to Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Cow-calf raisers are reminded that during the month of March is an excellent time to have their bulls checked by a veterinarian,” said Cole.

March is optimum as many herds will turn their bulls out in April. Should a bull be found unsatisfactory, owners will have a little time to attend bull sales or go shopping elsewhere for a replacement.

Since 2005 when University of Missouri Extension started a series of bull breeding soundness clinics in southwest Missouri, the average unsatisfactory breeder rate is 10 percent.

“The problem bulls may have bred cows successfully the previous season, but the BSE revealed they could have problems the next time out. Usually the bulls would be capable of settling some cows, but their biggest fault would be a strung out calf crop. This can impact marketing strategies and affect profitability with that future set of calves,” said Cole.

This season, the special bull clinics will be held as follows:

  • March 6 – Barry County Veterinary Services, Cassville, 417-847-2677
  • March 7 – Dake Veterinary Clinic, Miller, 417-452-3301
  • March 15 – Countryside Animal Clinic, Aurora, 417-678-4011

Cole says to be sure and call for an appointment on one of these dates.

In addition to the exam, the bulls will be treated for parasites and given their pre-breeding vaccination. Trichomoniasis testing will be optional, but is encouraged for older bulls, especially if they are coming from a set of cows with a high percentage of opens.

“Trich continues to surface in southwest Missouri according to the Missouri state veterinary lab reports. Through January there had been 145 positive results in this region,” said Cole.

These three special clinics are cooperative efforts between the veterinarians, University of Missouri Extension and Pfizer.

Cole will be present to evaluate the bull’s body condition, structural soundness and discuss expected progeny differences (EPDs) with producers. Pfizer will cooperate on products and provide information on their genetic testing program.

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.



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