Bull Semen Evaluation
We strongly recommend getting all bulls intended for use that season semen tested. This allows you to eliminate bulls with poor semen quality, which are likely subfertile and even completely infertile in cases. Why waste a whole year to find out at pregnancy testing, or even worse the following year when you await calving that your bull was not working?
Bull testing involves several steps- it's not just checking the semen!
- History collecting e.g. Has the bull had a history of low pregnancy rates?
- Basic visual appraisal looking for external abnormalities such as lameness
- Palpation of the acessory sex glands per rectum
- Palpation of the testicles and surrounding structures for tone, symmetry and abnormalities
- Measuring the testicles- testicle size in relation to breed and weight has a direct correlation with fertility
- Check the penis for abnormalities
- Electroejaculation to collect semen
- Semen is then checked for concentration
- The microscope is then used to check sperm for progressive motility(so the percentage alive and moving forward)
- Semen can be sent off to look at semen morphology which looks for abnormalities with the structure of the sperm such as heads that are not attached to tails.
Abnormalities can be found at any of these steps, and many of the problems we find can cause a direct decrease in conception rates. When you calculate the cost of having empty cows on your property it well and truly covers the cost of getting bulls tested each year- so it only makes sense to be a smart producer and get your sires tested! Just because a bull was tested as a 2yo at the time of sale does not mean that he will continue to pass tests from year to year, hence why we recommend testing every year prior to mating.