As the daylight hours get shorter and the weeks slip by, those cow-calf operations with a fall calving program are likely already planning their fall breeding program. Now is the time to make sure that your bull battery is ready for breeding season to cover the most cows with the highest number of pregnancies.
The first steps to preparing your bulls for turn out are to make sure they are in adequate condition and are on a good plane of nutrition, usually through a high-quality mineral program. Cory Schrag, owner and operator of 605 Sires, Marion, South Dakota, suggests bulls should have a BCS of 5 to 6 and be on a complete vitamin and mineral program to supplement the lower-quality forages they are grazing in the fall and winter months
“The biggest thing for bulls in the fall breeding period is making sure that they are in the proper body condition. There is extra stress involved with fall breeding. You just need to make sure they are in good shape and being on a good quality mineral program is a big part of that. They don’t have the good quality forages like they do in the summer. A good quality mineral helps keeps those bulls going through the breeding season,” he said.
Once you know they are in good condition, and you have them on a good mineral program, Schrag recommends producers work with their local veterinarian at least 30 days prior to turn out to make sure the bull is fertile and passes a breeding soundness evaluation (BSE).
“Work with your local vet to have your bull looked at. The vet will look at body confirmation and body condition score to make sure they are acceptable for breeding season. The producer needs to make sure if that bull fails the breeding soundness exam, the producer has plenty of time to find a replacement that will fit his or her needs,” Schrag said.
Since nutrition is such a vital part to both the bull and females’ health and overall reproductive success, Schrag offers a solution that works for both, the VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® Mineral Tub. This free-choice cooked tub designed for reproductive success contains organic copper, zinc and manganese to ensure maximum bioavailability of nutrients to the animal as well as high levels of vitamin E and selenium to promote optimized fertility. In addition, it contains Amaferm®, a precision prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to increase the energy available to the animal resulting in more milk production as well as to the ability to initiate and maintain pregnancy and fertility.
“The Concept•Aid Mineral Tubs with the bulls and cows during breeding season would be more than adequate. That Concept•Aid helps provide all the nutrition that cows and bulls both need for breeding season,” Schrag said.
Although the structural integrity of your bulls’ feet and legs is a genetic trait, it is important that your bulls sustain that. Nutrition is one way to ensure that they maintain a good strong heal, that their feet stay good and hard, don’t get soft or prone to abscesses.
Body condition. Fertility. Soundness. They can all be enhanced with the help of a good nutrition program. The combination of vitamins, minerals and Amaferm found in Concept•Aid can help you achieve fall breeding success.