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Evaluation of bulls for breeding soundness is one of the most neglected management practices of Indiana’s cattle producers. A bull is expected to settle 20 to 50 cows during the breeding season and too often his ability to do so is taken for granted.

The evaluation should be done prior to the breeding season. Breeding problems that are discovered at pregnancy checking occur far too late to prevent substantial loss of income. Breeders that sell bulls should have them evaluated prior to the sale.

Bull suppliers depend largely on repeat customers and selling an infertile bull may cost the breeder a good customer as well as create a lot of bad advertisement.

The breeding soundness exam cannot guarantee fertility but it is the best method available to predict which bulls will not settle cows. Approximately 10% of bulls will fail the Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE).

The routine BSE will not detect bulls with low libido; therefore, observation of the bull in the breeding pasture is still important. Observe bulls to confirm that they are finding and mating cows
that are in heat. Observe the same cows in three weeks to be sure that he is “settling cows”.

The BSE includes an evaluation of structural soundness, evaluation of the reproductive anatomy and, most importantly, evaluation of semen quality. During the BSE, a semen sample is collected and evaluated immediately for percent motile sperm.

Minimally, 30% of the sperm must be motile in order for
the bull to pass the exam. The same sample is then stained and individual sperm are evaluated.

Seventy percent of the cells must be normal microscopically for the bull to be acceptable.

The BSE Clinic scheduled for Washington County will be held on Wednesday, March 13 at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Salem. For reservations or more information, contact Danielle
Walker at 812-883-4601 or [email protected] by Wednesday, February 27. Reservations are required.

The evaluation charge is $40 per bull. Bulls must be at least one year old and weigh at least 900 pounds.

BSE Clinics are conducted annually through the joint cooperation of Purdue Extension – Washington County, Washington County Cattleman’s Association and Spring Mill Veterinary Service.

It is the policy of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action institution.