Bull Management

At Ayrvale Angus all calves are weighed with digital scales and tagged with an NLIS tag and stud tag on the day they are born. They are weighed again at weaning and at 400 days, when they are ultrasound scanned for marbling, fat cover and eye muscle area. Testicle measurements are also taken on the bull calves.  This data is submitted to Breedplan to maximise EBV accuracy. 

All calves are weaned at four months of age; this early weaning has been introduced to enhance rumen function of the calf and set it up for successful feed conversion.

All bulls are freeze branded with our AYR in diamond brand and their tattoo; this gives you a visible form of security on your bull which can’t be removed. 

All Ayrvale Angus bulls are examined immediately prior to sale; this includes palpation of the sexual anatomy, visual of semen under a microscope and circumference measurements of the testicles.

Structural assessments are carried out by Liam Cardile and are provided for each bull in the catalogue.  This ensures that any bulls not meeting our standards for structure are culled by an independent assessor.

All bulls are DNA tested, parent verified (PV) and Pfizer HD50K tested prior to sale. This gives you the buyer a 100% guarantee of pedigree and added EBV performance and accuracy before the bull leaves our property.

All Ayrvale Angus bulls have been raised on pasture & hay under normal commercial conditions; they have not been feed lotted.

When a bull leaves Ayrvale Angus, he is leaving the security of his mob and will arrive in unfamiliar territory at your property. If you can’t put him into the bull mob straight away, unload him and make sure he has a companion.

A young bull can move in with older bulls and settle in well, but remember, being the youngest he will get the last of the feed available because of the pecking order. The paddock needs to be reasonably large so he can keep away from the others and find adequate feed. When feeding hay spreading it out over a larger area will enable your young bull to get his adequate share.

Young bulls are still growing fast and need enough feed to maintain their growth pattern and to be able to settle in with the cows quickly and efficiently.

Ayrvale Angus bulls are accustomed to being handled by stockmen on motorbikes and on foot. Most of the fences are electrified and the bulls treat them with respect. Always be considerate to your bull and handle him with respect and kindness. You will find with this firm but low stress approach you will receive respect back from him.

 

HEALTH TREATMENTS

7 in 1 VACCINATIONS

All calves are vaccinated twice as weaners, followed by an annual booster of Pfizer Ultravac 7in1.  We recommend bulls be given a 7 in 1 vaccination annually, 2 to 4 weeks prior to joining.

DRENCH

The bulls are drenched at weaning and periodically according to worm counts.  They receive a drench before leaving the property.

VIBRIOSIS

Vibriosis is a common cause of infertility and is transmitted by bulls from one female to another. It is easily prevented by vaccination; all bulls have been given their two shots of Pfizer Vibrovax.  We recommend your bull be given an annual booster 4 to 6 weeks prior to joining.

PESTIVIRUS (BVDV)

The bulls are vaccinated for Pestivirus with Pfizer Pestigard & ear notch tested persistently infected (PI) free prior to sale; we recommend annual boosters be given. 

For more information refer to:

BVDV INFECTION IN CATTLE

BVDV AUSTRALIA

 

BEST PRACTICE - FOR USING YOUR BULL

BULL: COW RATIO

Bulls are most likely to develop problems early in the mating season then later on; in order to minimise this adequate bull to cow ratio should be followed. Under reasonable paddock conditions, a rising 2 year old bull should handle 40 empty cows on his own. An older bull can probably handle slightly more. Also try to use your lowest birth weight, highest calving ease direct and shortest gestation length bull over heifers to reduce chances of dystocia.

Yearling bulls can be used but don't over work them; 25-30 females is a good work load for him.

BEFORE JOINING

Before mating, cows should be seen cycling in groups with male calves also hanging around. The cows must be on a rising plane of nutrition, before you put the bull out, this ensures they have the optimum chance of cycling.

Newly purchased young bulls should not be multiple joined with older bulls as they will not be allowed to work much and will be knocked around by the older bulls. Younger bulls should be used by themselves or can be multiple joined with bulls their own age. If joining a number of young bulls together, run them together for a few weeks before joining.

OBSERVING THE BULL

A bull is most likely to develop a condition or injury that causes infertility after the joining period has started. It is vital that you monitor your bull at least twice weekly to ensure that he is able to mount cows and that he looks physically normal and is not lame.

Towards the end of the mating period, you should spend some time watching the cows to make sure that large numbers of cows are not cycling. Set aside half an hour one afternoon when the cows are at rest to make sure that most of the cycling activity has stopped, and give yourself some peace of mind!   Writing down the cows number at service and observing them 21 days later is the most thorough infertility check. Pregnancy testing using ultrasound is a cheap and effective way of confirming your bull has done his job; it is also good for identifying any cull females early.

REASON FOR LOW FERTILITY

Even if a bull manages to serve his cows, there could still be semen problems. Semen needs to be produced at low temperatures and depends on a bull having a good diet – an injured bull that sits down a lot may produce sub-standard semen.  And because it takes 50 days for semen to leave the bull after it is produced, once a problem was detected it is sometimes difficult to determine the cause. It is therefore vital that producers watch their bulls diets and behaviour carefully; under and over feeding a bull can also lead to low fertility.

Yearling bulls carry less body fat reserve so condition is critical. If they fall below condition score 3 then sperm production maybe impaired.

AFTER THE MATING

When the season is finished, the bull should be drenched and put away on good feed. Adequate feed will help stop fighting and help the bulls settle into their groups.

Pregnancy testing females after mating will give you peace of mind that the job had been done; if calves are aged during testing then you can use this information to plan calving work load.