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Veterinary Bull Breeding Soundness Exam

 

The VBBSE was developed to standardise bull fertility testing and evaluates whether a bull has met a set of standards for key fertility components, which indicate whether a bull has a high probability of being fertile.[7]

Unsound bulls for breeding can mostly be detected using a VBBSE.[10] The VBBSE is not an absolute guarantee of fertility, but indicates risks that are associated with reduced fertility at the time of testing. As all possible components of a VBBSE will not usually be tested, there always remains a risk that bulls may not be sound.[7]

As a buyer, you should be clear on what the breeder has and has not assessed to detect pre-existing problems.[6] Always seek and cite a VBBSE certificate (example below) in advance of purchasing your bull with your breeding objectives in mind.[4,6,7]

Scrotum – Scrotal circumference (expressed in centimetres)
Physical – General physical evaluation and examination of the reproductive tract
Semen – A crush-side assessment indicated whether semen is within ┬áthe normal range for motility, colour and % progressively motile
Morphology – Examination of proportion of normal sperm in semen
Serving – The bull is able to serve normally as demonstrated by a serving ability assessment

Next time you are looking for a bull, look at more than the glossy pictures and the presentation. Instead, try and determine if you are satisfied that the bull has all the genetics you want and has passed an objective assessment of fertility.

TIPS


For Angus breeders, in addition to the VBBSE, bulls should have EBVs that may also be enhanced with genomic information provided by i50K or HD 50K for Angus.[11]


Consider buying your bulls from vendors who clearly and openly identify the VBBSE standards of their bulls.[4]


Ensure a qualified and experienced veterinarian carries out your VBBSE annually.[12]