Feed Lot

FEB 2018

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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physical exam and semen evalua- tion. "If a bull has mild frostbite (a couple inches of scabbing on the bottom of the scrotum), his se- men quality may drop for 3 or 4 w eeks. If scabbing is more exten- s ive/severe, semen quality may be diminished for 6 weeks or more. If most of the scrotum is affected, with adhesions, he may never re- turn to normal." The testis has good regenerative capacity; it takes a severe and pro- longed insult to permanently affect fertility. Usually within 6 to 8 weeks, the bull is back to normal. The concern would be how soon you need him for breeding. Calving in March/April and breeding in June/July, most bulls will no longer have a fertility problem after suf- fering frostbite. If you calve in Jan- uary and start breeding in late March, this could be a more serious issue. Some bulls may not recover in time. If you have any question about a bull he should be checked. If a bull has an issue with semen quality, you can check him again in a few weeks. "When we do a breeding sound- ness evaluation we put bulls into three categories: satisfactory, un- satisfactory, and decision de- ferred. The latter category covers bulls that don't meet standards but we have expectations they will continue to improve. The bull has a problem that has a reasonable chance of improving with time. We use this category a lot with young bulls that may not be mature enough to have good semen, and also use it in a situation with scro- tal frostbite where there's damage, but the bull seems to be recover- ing. In this case, we recommend looking at that bull again in a month or so. This may or may not be too late for anticipated use, de- pending on how late the breeding season might be," says Kastelic. Since there's not much we can do after the fact to help a bull re- cover from scrotal frostbite (ex- cept give him time and hope for the best), the important thing is pre- vention. The best prevention is shelter and bedding. We can't improve on nature; we just have to manage bulls to give t hem natural protection. It's com- m on in spring to see small scabs on bulls after a cold winter, but those generally heal with time. An early winter storm may catch pro- ducers off guard with inadequate bedding and shelter, but there's usually time for a bull to heal un- less there is severe damage. A late winter storm or spring blizzard with wind and cold may be more d evastating because there's less t ime for recovery before breeding season. "It may also be harder to find a replacement bull that late in the season, because the selection may be more limited," he says. FL FEED•LOT  February 2018 23

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