With high fuel costs, you might be tempted to cut back on checking bulls after you turn them out with the cows this year.
But Kris Ringwall, NDSU Extension beef specialist, warns that a bull that isn't breeding can cost you $40 a day.
To make the most of your investment in bulls, Ringwall suggests:
- Do a breeding performance exam. Send ones that don't pass to the sale barn.
- Remember to recheck bulls tagged for rechecks. At the same time check for new problems that weren't detected during the earlier breeding soundness exam.
- Plan trucking to eliminate wasted trips when turning out bulls.
- As the bulls start detecting the presence of cows beginning to cycle, keep an eye out for any aggressive fighting that has created some lameness. Lameness and subsequent pain are important to detect because subtle structural unsoundness will not improve in the breeding pen.
- Check pastures routinely. Structural problems or pain related to injury takes a toll on bulls. Reproductive issues, including penis injury, can result in a bull that has no interest in breeding cows.
"The bottom line is that monitoring a bull is important," Ringwall says. "The failure to pick up and replace nonperforming bulls hits the pocketbook. With all the challenges of maintaining an effective, sound and performance orientated bull herd, the end reward is good calves that fit the market."