One in five stock bulls are sub-fertile
The stockbull needs more TLC if sub-fertility rates of 20pc are to be reduced on Irish farms, according to experts attending a bull fertility 'masterclass' in Dublin last week.
Over 40 vets attended the training provided by Canadian fertility expert, Prof Al Barth, whose claim to fame is fertility testing more than 30,000 bulls.
One of the key messages was that farmers need to start paying more attention to the rearing and purchasing of stock-bulls, with a target growth rate of 1.2kg/day required during the first year to optimise the development of testicles.
In addition, Prof Barth insisted that farmers should be settling in their breeding bulls at least six months before the breeding season starts, meaning that most spring calving herds would need to have their breeding bull in situ by December 1.
"Farmers know how to tackle infertility in their cows, but often they don't know basic guidelines on maximising the fertility of their stockbulls. For example, a young bull will only be able to handle a quarter of the number of cows that a mature bull will handle," said Tullamore vet Donal Lynch.