Bull Breeding Soundness Exams, Do They Cost or Pay?
by Dave Sparks, DVM
Today lets look at three popular misconceptions about bull breeding soundness exams. The first is the idea that “He’s been getting calves for several years, why would he have a problem now?” Things change. Bulls get infections, tumors, and injuries, all of which can reduce their effectiveness. Even just advancing age can lower a bull’s fertility level. The second thought is “This young bull just came from a production sale and he was guaranteed.” Many bull sellers guarantee their bull in lieu of testing, not after testing. He might be guaranteed, but this isn’t much help if you are not aware of a problem until next fall when you pregnancy test. In addition, if you don’t get back to the seller until you know you have open cows, he may not honor the guarantee. He may feel that the problem is due to something that happened in the several months that the bull was in your possession. He sure isn’t going to assume the liability for your open cow problem. Have new bulls tested soon after you get them home. The third misconception is that the purpose for checking bulls is to eliminate sterile bulls. There are not very many sterile bulls, but there are a lot of bulls with reduced fertility.
Creekstone Ready, Willing & Able – But Waiting – To Test Animals For BSE
While awaiting a decision from USDA as to whether the agency will appeal a recent federal court ruling allowing Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to test its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the company is preparing its testing protocols.
Creekstone has already constructed a state-of-the-art laboratory and, company officials say, “is positioned at this time to implement its stated plans for BSE testing of some or all of the cattle it processes” at its Arkansas City, Kan., plant.
Managing the breeding season
The hay shortage has forced livestock producers to make tough decisions that may have long-term repercussions on the health, performance and profitability of their animals. Jane Parish, beef cattle specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, says surplus hay is difficult to find, and the traditional spring forage flush is not yet available. She gets calls daily from producers looking for more hay.
“Now, producers have to make sure their cattle are in good enough condition for spring breeding in April and May. Once they calve, it is hard to get weight on them to be ready to breed the next season.” She is concerned that conception rates this spring will be lower because of the condition of the cattle.
A commentary on strategies for selecting your next yearling herd bull
by Bruce Gordon
American Chianina Journal
As a past sire selection specialist for Alta Genetics, I traveled the U.S. and Canada for nine years purchasing and leasing elite genetics from several top seedstock herds representing all breeds. Today the most frequent question I’m still quizzed on is what to look for in choosing a herd sire. So here are a few of my strategies.
Strategy 1 – Find reputable breeders to work with. As with any business, it’s a good idea to ask others who they’ve had successful relationships with based on customer service, integrity and bulls that have had longevity. When you hear favorable remarks about an operation numerous times, that’s a positive sign.
Leading Up to Breeding
Guidelines for getting cows and heifers ready for breeding season.
Though breeding season can be a frenzied few weeks in early spring and summer for most cattle operations, the key to a successful breeding season really begins much earlier. In fact, producers should plan for it year-round, say beef production specialists.
FULL STORY PDF
Lack of rain means no hay
Farmers find it difficult to grow grass, forced to pay higher feed prices
Huntsville Times (AL)
There’s no hay for sale at Harvest Feed Mill.
Owner Dian Henderson has turned down several customers, she said, because the lack of rainfall makes hay nearly impossible to grow.
“It all has to do with the drought,” Henderson said Monday. “We usually have enough to turn a surplus but not this year. It’s a bad situation.”
Phosphorus placement for forages key to success
By Dr. Adrian M. Johnston, Potash & Phosphate Institute
Farm and Ranch Guide
Forage crops have a big demand for phosphorus. This ranges from almost 10 pounds of P2O5 per ton of grass to 15 pounds per ton of alfalfa. Forages need phosphorus for photosynthesis, energy, cell division, carbohydrate production, protein synthesis, root development and early growth, winter hardiness, and nitrogen fixation in the case of legumes.