Firm offers ideas for prepping bulls for fall breeding
As the daylight hours get shorter and the weeks slip by, those cow-calf operations with a fall calving program are likely already planning their fall breeding program. Now is the time to make sure that your bull battery is ready for breeding season to cover the most cows with the highest number of pregnancies.
The first steps to preparing your bulls for turn out are to make sure they are in adequate condition and are on a good plane of nutrition, usually through a high-quality mineral program. Cory Schrag, owner and operator of 605 Sires in Marion, S.D., suggests bulls should have a BCS of 5 to 6 and be on a complete vitamin and mineral program to supplement the lower-quality forages they are grazing in the fall and winter months
“The biggest thing for bulls in the fall breeding period is making sure that they are in the proper body condition,” he said. “There is extra stress involved with fall breeding. You just need to make sure they are in good shape and being on a good quality mineral program is a big part of that. They don’t have the good quality forages like they do in the summer. A good quality mineral helps keeps those bulls going through the breeding season.”
Once you know they are in good condition, and you have them on a good mineral program, Schrag recommends producers work with their local veterinarian at least 30 days prior to turn out to make sure the bull is fertile and passes a breeding soundness evaluation.
“Work with your local vet to have your bull looked at. The vet will look at body confirmation and body condition score to make sure they are acceptable for breeding season,” Schrag said. “The producer needs to make sure if that bull fails the breeding soundness exam, the producer has plenty of time to find a replacement that will fit his or her needs.”
Although the structural integrity of your bulls’ feet and legs is a genetic trait, it is important that your bulls sustain that. Nutrition is one way to ensure that they maintain a good strong heal, that their feet stay good and hard, don’t get soft or prone to abscesses.
Body condition. Fertility. Soundness. They can all be enhanced with the help of a good nutrition program.