Kelly L. Heckaman, Extension Educator
KOSCIUSKO — How can you tell if he is still ready for the breeding season? One sure fire way to find out is to bring your bull to the 22nd annual Reproductive Soundness Exam clinic starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 7. The Kosciusko County Cattlemen’s Association will be providing beef producers the opportunity for $50 for members of the Association and $65 for non-members to have their bulls go through a RSE. Bulls will be brought to the Milford Animal Clinic in Milford for the 15 minute examination.
There is a limit of 25 bulls but we must have a minimum of 6 bulls in order to have the exam. It is also requested that you prepay for the exam after you have scheduled a time with the Extension Office. In the past we have had several last minute cancellations. This becomes a problem because we have turned others away because we thought we had a full slate of bulls. Refunds will be given on all cancellations prior to April 13. Bulls also are required to be a minimum of 14 months of age. Too often bulls that are too young do not have a sample viable for testing.
Bulls will receive several benefits by going through the examination. Frame scores will be determined for each bull. A vaccination booster is also included in the fee.
Even if you didn’t have problems last season, please do not think that this will give you a 100% guarantee that your bull will breed okay this year. I continually hear stories of beef producers who had open cows because the bull did not do its job. In the past we have had several bulls with issues that could have caused problems during the breeding season.
Having your bull go through a reproductive soundness exam may prevent surprises later in the breeding season. Over the 20 years we have been doing the exam, we have found numerous bulls identified as poor breeders. The owners could not tell that by just looking at them. This could have easily cost these owners $10,000 or more in lost calves and open cows.
Why should you have your bull go through such an exam? First, research has found that about 20% of all beef bulls are lacking in some area of reproductive capacity. Often beef producers think once they get a bull and it has a successful calf crop, the bull will maintain its fertility throughout its lifetime. Of course, this often is not the case.
Unfortunately producers do not find out about reproductive problems with their bulls until it is too late. Cows may be open in the fall if pregnancy checked. Worse yet, the producer waits until spring to find out that he has a reduced number of calves or no calves at all. It is estimated that each cycle a female is not carrying a calf can result in a loss of 35-45 pounds in calf weaning weights across the herd.
Putting your bull through an exam 30 to 60 days before the start of the breeding season will increase the success of your breeding program. If you are interested in having your bull evaluated, it is requested that you call the Extension Office by April 5 to sign up so that the day will move along as smoothly as possible.
To sign up or to answer any questions, please call the Purdue Extension Kosciusko County Office at (574) 372-2340 or visit http://www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/kosciusko/.