Fertility equation

FULL MONTY: Andrew White with some of the 65 sale bulls on offer on Tuesday, July 25 at 1pm at  "Eastern Plains", Guyra. All have passed their 'Bullcheck'.
FULL MONTY: Andrew White with some of the 65 sale bulls on offer on Tuesday, July 25 at 1pm at "Eastern Plains", Guyra. All have passed their 'Bullcheck'.

Andrew and Sally White have implemented a thorough regime of testing to ensure bulls from Eastern Plains Angus rank high on fertility.

“Fertility can be up to 10 times more important than price (per head) for profitability,” Mr White said.

“We often emphasize selecting for female fertility but don't apply the same rigour to bulls.”

He said, when buying bulls, look for those backed by Bullcheck™ to ensure they meet minimum fertility standards. Bullcheck certifies comprehensive fertility testing conducted by an accredited vet, including examination for structural soundness, reproductive organs, measurement of scrotal circumference and testing for both semen motility and semen morphology.

“Sperm cells need to be motile,” Mr White said.  At about 60 micro metres long, they've a way to travel to get the job done.

“All bulls catalogued for our Eastern Plains Angus Bull Sale exhibited greater or equal to 50 per cent progressively motile sperm in their semen sample.”

The morphology refers to the anatomy or structure of the sperm.

Mr White said bulls with poor morphology may still sire calves, but will generally leave some females empty and produce some non-viable embryos.

“The delay in achieving pregnancy can result in smaller calves at weaning and means a shorter recovery time post calving, putting undue pressure on the female to achieve pregnancy the following year,” he said.

“So using bulls with high normal sperm morphology counts can increase calving rates, shorten calving periods, and increase weaning weights.”  

He said the Eastern Plains sale bulls exhibited greater than or equal to 70 per cent normal sperm in their semen sample.

More details on bull fertility are available on the stud’s website.

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