The cow-calf business is an intricate business with many moving parts. Some of the moving parts are constantly in motion while others are seasonal in nature. For instance, some producers have a defined breeding season which results in a defined calving season and thus a seasonal moving part. Other producers leave the bull with the cow herd year round and thus have an undefined calving season that envelops the year and is constantly in motion.
Staying on a similar subject, the viability of a bull and his role in a cow-calf operation are integral to the survivability of a herd and he is constantly in motion.
This time of year, many producers have calves already on the ground or some hitting the ground and are preparing for breeding season. With breeding season here, it is time to have the veterinarian perform a
Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE) on the herd sire. Many people reading this article have already had their veterinarian perform a BSE while others have plans in the near future.
However, there are some who would argue it cost too much to haul the bull to town and then pay someone to perform the evaluation or others claim they do not have the time to haul the bull to town and he did fine last year anyway. The two questions that come to mind to challenge such arguments are 1) if a BSE cost too much then how much does it cost to not sell any calves next fall and 2) if there is not enough time to haul the bull to town for a BSE then how much time is available next spring to watch a herd of open cows not calve?
The bull makes up half of every mating opportunity and thus he is necessary to produce a calf. It is integral that he is physically sound and fertile to improve the odds of conception. An infertile bull can cost an entire calf crop. The cost associated with no calves to market due to infertility is the cost of carrying those cows for a full year plus the opportunity cost associated with the resources used on the cattle herd that likely could have been devoted to something else with a positive return.
An infertile bull can cost a small fortune depending on the size of the cattle herd, but a subfertile bull can also cost a producer a pretty penny. The subfertile bull can cost a producer in two ways. The first way he costs a producer is by a reduced conception and calving rate.
The second way the subfertile bull costs a producer is in the way of pounds at weaning if he failed to settle a cow during her first heat cycle. If we consider an operation with 30 cows the difference between a 90 percent calf crop (