Before the breeding season begins, a few simple bull management procedures can improve the likelihood of a high pregnancy percentage among cows.

• Conduct a BSE (Breeding Soundness Exam) at least 30 days before the start of breeding season. Eldon Cole, Livestock Specialist in Southwest MO, has conducted BSE clinics for the last 6 years totaling 780 head of bulls checked; which he reports about a 10% failure rate. Due to the record damp and cold temperatures across the state this winter, frostbite of the scrotum is one problem which should definitely be watched for. Increased numbers of infertile bulls can be expected.

• If you are using multi-sire pastures, it is recommended to keep bulls in a common pasture before turning them with cows. Bulls will establish a social hierarchy and it’s better to get that done before breeding season begins.

• Try to avoid mixing old bulls with younger ones in the pasture. Mixing of ages will result in over domination by older bulls, possibly causing serious injuries.

• Check feet for soundness issues. If hoof trimming is needed, complete at least 30 days before breeding season to avoid lame or sore-footed bulls at the beginning of the breeding season.

Source: Zac Erwin, University of Missouri Extension