The first breeding season for a young bull is a metabolically stressful period. Too often yearling bulls are developed on excessively high concentrate rations with no acclimation period allowed before breeding season. This may cause young bulls to lose condition quickly when turned out on pasture and could lead to permanent physiological damage.

However, leaving yearling bulls on an unsupplemented breeding pasture all season long also can damage future semen production. Certain measures should be taken to not over-use yearling bulls during breeding season.

* Keep the bull-to-cow ratio at 1 to 25 or less for young bulls.

* Keep frame sizes comparative. Young bulls may abandon their duty if cows are three frame scores taller than they are. And it increases their chance of injury.

* Use a 60-day maximum breeding season. Pull the bull off the cows after 60 days and place him on good grass and protein-mineral supplements. This may be all that is necessary to get him back in condition and in top shape for many breeding seasons to come.