Time to Sell This Bull?

Published on: 11:06AM Aug 10, 2009

By Dan Goehl, DVM

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A reader asks:
Please give me your advice on this bull: 

  • 6 year old bull tested 12-3-08  
  • Scrotal  39      
  • Sperm motility    60%     
  • Sperm morphology  75%    
  • Classification  Satisfactory   
  • Comments PD, DD tapers 

Settled all but one cow out of 28 head on time. I was advised to sell. Would you advise doing another test?    


The society of theriogenology gives these guidelines for passing a bull on semen exam

  • Scrotal at 24 months of >34
  • Sperm motility >30%
  • Morphology >70%

Your bull is within those guidelines. Young bulls at times will be borderline and as they mature they can improve their semen quality. Mature bulls are usually pretty stable in quality unless something traumatic happens or they get too old to the point production drops. Most older bulls that we see that go bad drop from adequate to nothing. Some of these will regain fertility in time. 

It looks like your bull settled all of the cows but one, what basis is the suggestion for sale?  If it is strictly on age I would not be afraid of a structurally sound 6 year old bull. 

Hope this helps answer your question.

Dan Goehl, DVM, and his wife own and operate Canton Veterinary Clinic in Canton, MO, where Dan works primarily with stocker and cow/calf beef operations. Dan is also partner in Professional Beef Services, LLC, which offers herd consultation and helps in data management and marketing of beef cattle.

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