How can we breed the perfect bull?
There are certain criteria that a bull must comply to, to become a breeder bull.
Firstly, he must be the son of a mother animal that calved at 24 and 36 months, if you can add 48 months, then that mother animal should be given a role of honour, on you farm.
The bulls with the highest maturity index, hip height to weight ratio at a corrected 12 months age in their age group, should be used for breeding for the next 14 – 15-month heifer breeding season. DNA testing can be used to determine which calf was from which bull and which bull breeds the most calves. Therefore this bull should be used for AI on the rest of the cow herd the following year.
The most crucial factors for the bull selection are hormonal balance, masculinity, and his testis. The bull should have the largest testis circumference proportionate to his weight in his age group (class the bulls in monthly age groups, do not use the whole breeding season).
Factors to determine hormonal balance are:
- Shiny coat
- Bull-like head and neck
- Well-developed epididymis should be visible from at least 25 meters
- Avoid thin cylindrical scrotums with long hair
- A tight sheath in the South African veld context is advantageous
- The bull must be able to control his scrotum
Give your heifers the better veld. Let the bulls work for their condition. Score the bulls at the end of the dry season for you to choose bulls that can maintain their condition through the most challenging times.
Selecting the correct bulls for your herd is crucial. Do not buy bulls where you cannot access the mother’s production records. Do not buy bulls from a breeder where you do not know the full feeding program of the mother animal. It is crucial to understand how the mother animal was fed to achieve her specific production figures.
By using the small window of opprotunity given each heifer to prove herself, the fertility of any herd can be improved. .
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