How’s mating going with the yearlings

How’s mating going with the yearlings
By Ashley O’Driscoll, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

For most of you, the bulls will be in with the yearlings at grazing. If your grazier or an agent organised the bulls, be sure to check in that what was ordered is what arrived. If you don’t have time to visit now, then asking your grazier to send a photo through of the bulls, this will give you some peace of mind that they are at least big enough and the right breed! Double-check with the grazier that they received the paperwork proving that the bulls had been tested and vaccinated for BVD.

Remember we aim for a bull ratio of one bull per 15 heifers, which is much higher than the cows. This is because we don’t usually rotate the bulls, they are often grazing in much larger paddocks so the mob can break up and often we are dealing with yearling bulls, which are still learning the ropes! If you have done a mating synchrony program with the heifers, you may need an even higher ratio of bulls to heifers for the first return – so chat with your vet about this to be sure you are okay for bull numbers.

Making sure you have a plan with the grazier about what to do if a bull is not performing during mating – no point having this conversation at pregnancy testing time when it’s too late! Too few functioning bulls is not always a disaster, but it will mean that some heifers don’t get mated successfully in the first round, putting them on the back foot for next season.

Most graziers will weigh yearlings just before the bulls go in but not so common around the time the bulls come out.
Knowing how well they have grown during spring may help you understand the mating performance of the mob and also whether you are going into summer at target weight is important for summer feed management.

You’ve brought them this far, don’t allow dud bulls, a lack of bull power or a feed quality pinch let you down!

Date Added: Saturday, 3rd October 2020