Fertility testing your bulls can be cheap insurance against having open cows after the breeding season. The industry's average cost for fertility test ranges from $30 to $50 per bull. But less than 60 percent of operations that purchased, leased or borrowed bulls last breeding season had a semen test performed on the newly introduced bulls. It's also necessary to check bulls used last year. Just because they performed fine last breeding season doesn't guarantee their productivity this season.

Your local veterinarian can perform an entire breeding soundness exam. The veterinarian will look for any penile irregularities, check scrotal circumference and soundness and identify physical abnormalities or limitations of the bull.

The exam includes collecting and viewing semen under a microscope. Cells are checked for the percentage of live sperm in ejaculate, motility, head and tail deformities, and overall appearance.