Bull soundness exams conducted in Cassville
Local veterinarian tests local bulls for breeding
By Jason Johnston
Barry County Veterinary Services performed breeding soundness exams on 21 bulls on Oct. 1, which was the first of four bull soundness clinics supported by the University of Missouri Extension.
"The whole reason we do these breeding soundness exams is because when we turn a mature bull out, we expect that bull to go out there and successfully breed 25 to 30 cows over about a 60-day breeding window," said Dr. Voyd Brown, a veterinary at Barry County Veterinary Services. "So, we want to make sure everything is good productively with him."
Each year, he performs breeding soundness exams on about 250 to 300 bulls, said Brown, who has been at the Cassville clinic since 1996 after graduating from Missouri University. During the soundness exams, he gets a semen sample from each bull, and he looks at the individual sperm cells to determine what percentage are normal.
On the semen quality, Brown expects the bulls to be at least fair on motility and at least 70 percent normal for their sperm cells, he said. By the time the bull is 24 months, his scrotal circumference must be at least 34 centimeters.
Depending on the year, he flunks 15 percent of the bulls that he checks each year, Brown said. He also looks at the mobility of each bull.
Darrel and Elsie Reynolds, of Stella, brought two bulls to the soundness exam.
Their 14-year-old granddaughter, Andrea Larson, owned one of the bulls, Elsie Reynolds said. The 2,042-pound show bull was part of Larson's project with East Newton 4-H. Larson, who is also a member of the National Junior Angus Association, plans to sell the 2-year-old bull to raise money for college.
The other bull was a 2,140-pound herding bull at the Reynolds' cow-calf operation, Twin Creeks Angus in Stella, she said. About 40 cows are grazing there on 113 acres. The operation raises registered Angus and sells some breeding stock.
Brown checked the 4-year-old herding bull, which had a corn between his toes, and he gave the bull several antibiotic shots. He may have to trim the corn at a later date.
The show bull had very good motility, and 90 percent of the sperm cells that Brown looked at were normal, he said. The bull's scrotal circumference was between 42 and 45 centimeters.
"Usually on people who have bulls for sell, they will have them checked before they have them offered for sell," Brown said.
The paperwork from the soundness exam will go with each bull, he said.
The other Extension clinics are at the Animal Clinic of Diamond on Tuesday, Dake Veterinary Clinic in Miller on Oct. 15 and Countryside Animal Clinic in Aurora on Oct. 17.
For more information about the soundness clinics, bull owners can contact Eldon Cole, an Extension professional and livestock specialist county program director with Lawrence County and the Southwest Region, at ColeE@missouri.edu or 417-466-3102.