VETERINARY BULL BREEDING SOUNDNESS EXAMINATIONS - WHY DO IT?
WHAT IS A VETERINARY BULL BREEDING SOUNDNESS EXAMINATION (VBBSE)?
The VBBSE is a relatively quick, humane and economic procedure for fertility screening bulls prior to sale or use. The scheme is set out by the Australian Cattle Veterinarians and aims to determine if the bull in question is above a target baseline which would regard him as having a high probability of being fertile. It involves both an internal and external examination of reproductive organs with the main components including scrotal circumference, physical, semen examination, motility and morphology. At the end of the assessment, you will receive a certificate stating that the bull has or has not passed the examination.
BENEFITS OF VBBSE?
A VBBSE gives an indication of potential breeding value which can assist both breeders and buyers. It allows you to indentify bulls which have passed the required examination and most importantly, those that are unsatisfactory. Regardless of perceived genetic merit, if a bull is not sound both functionally and reproductively, it will not contribute to your herd’s productivity. Testing a bull prior to joining will minimise the risk of mating a sub fertile or infertile bull to a herd which results in more efficient production and improved pregnancy rates.
TIMING OF VBBSE?
Bulls should be evaluated by your veterinarian prior to the joining period. They may also be tested before a sale, for insurance purposes or when an infertility problem is suspected.
WHAT IS MORPHOLOGY & SHOULD I DO IT?
During a VBBSE, semen is examined under a microscope crush side by your veterinarian to determine if semen motility is within normal range for fertile bulls. If the semen is suitable, a sample can then be sent for further laboratory evaluation to view the semen morphology. Morphology looks at the 'structure' of individual sperm cells using a high powered microscope, identifying bent tails, deformed heads or other structural problems. The structural attributes are extremely important for determining a bull’s fertility - he may have lots of sperm but if they are all swimming in circles then he isn't going to get many cows pregnant!
SO WHY BULL TEST?
The VBBSE of bulls is a well-tested, cost effective veterinary procedure which places bulls into categories that reflect their breeding potential. By selecting a bull that has performed well on VBBSE there are reduced risks of reproductive failures. Not only is this hugely beneficial for your herd but if you are selling bulls, a positive VBBSE broadens your prospective client base.
VBBSE allows for reduced bull numbers but better bulls enhancing fertility rates and production, and indirect genetic effects on both male and female fertility traits. Potential return for producers is approximately $20 for each $1 invested (Bull Fertility: Selection and Management in Australia). Contact us to book in your bull testing this season!