David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
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March 2, 2017

Bull Clinics in Southwest Missouri Beginning March 9
Offer an Opportunity for Breeding Soundness Exams

MT. VERNON, Mo. — An important practice in beef cow-herds is to make sure the bull or bulls are thoroughly checked out a month or so before the breeding season begins.

Many of the bulls that will be used this spring were used in December, January and February. They may need a month or so of supplementation to get them back in a body condition score of at least a 5 according to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

"Owners who run two, three or more bulls together with females assume all of them are getting their share of breeding done. That's usually not the case, thus a breeding soundness exam (BSE) could reveal the need for another bull or so," said Eldon Cole, livestock specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

A BSE serves as a sort of insurance policy for the 2018 calf crop. The cost of the basic exam typically runs under $40. At a series of clinics scheduled in southwest Missouri during March, bulls will also receive booster vaccinations, internal and external parasite treatments for that same price.

Another important test that should be considered is for trichomoniasis. This is a sexually-transmitted disease that is suspected when a bull's BSE indicates he's acceptable but his females continue to come back in heat.

"Trich has been identified in a few herds in southwest Missouri during the last six months," said Cole.


The dates and locations of the BSE clinics are as follows: March 9, Barry County Veterinary Services, Cassville, ph. 847-2677; March 14 and 15, Dake Veterinary Clinic, Miller, ph. 452-3301; March 20, Countryside Animal Clinic, Aurora, ph. 678-4011; March 21, Animal Clinic of Diamond, Diamond, ph. 325-4136; March 22, Christian County Vet Services, Clever, ph. 743-7287; and March 11-25, Countryside Vet Clinic, Bolivar, ph. 326-2992.

These clinics will only be able to check out 225 to 250 bulls so check with other veterinarians.

"Historically we find between 10 and 15 percent of the bulls examined to be unsatisfactory potential breeders," said Cole.

By checking the bulls a few weeks prior to turnout, owners have ample time to check out sales and breeders if they have a "failure."

"It is always wise to have one more bull around than you think you'll need," said Cole.

These clinics are a cooperative effort between the veterinarians, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialists and Zoetis. MU Extension personnel will be in attendance to discuss bull management, selection and use of expected progeny difference (EPD) when buying bulls. They will also put a body condition and structural soundness scores on the bull.

Ed Trotter, with Zoetis will be at several of the clinics and help owners if they have questions about genomic (DNA) testing.

"Since the cattle market has dropped in the last year, the tendency of some producers is to cut back on expenses. The BSE of the bull is not an area that should be scaled back," said Cole.

One vital aspect of a bull's worth in the breeding pasture is his ability to actually service females. The BSE does not evaluate that factor. The owner or manager is responsible for observing that ability early in the breeding season.


For more information, contact any of the MU Extension livestock specialists in southwest Missouri: Eldon Cole in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Andy McCorkill in Dallas County at (417) 345-7551; Dr. Randy Wiedmeier, in Douglas County at (417) 679-3525; or Dr. Patrick Davis in Cedar County at (417) 276-3313.

Photo available for following caption Photo credit: MU Extension

Bull clinics are a great opportunity to get your bulls checked.

Source: Eldon Cole, (417) 466-3102

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University of Missouri Extension College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources