28 March 1997

Test bull semen before turnout

BOTH newly-purchased and older stock bulls should be semen tested before turnout to ensure fertility.

Signet regional manager Jim Stark warned that testing was vital if producers wanted to ensure bulls could perform. "Young, newly purchased bulls – even though they are inspected and guaranteed – should be tested by your vet before turnout with cows."

And older bulls should be tested, too. "Bulls which have perhaps been on farm and inside in yards since August will be becoming stale. Semen testing before they are turned out with 30 cows will ensure there are few fertility concerns."

Each bull runs with a maximum of 30 cows at South Elkington. In the past, bulls were moved round every three weeks to limit the damage if one proved to be infertile, but that system has changed, explained Brian Taylor.

"Moving bulls every three weeks upsets them and puts them off their work. Now, the bull is left to run with cows for six weeks, and is then replaced with another for the next three."