Young bulls need careful attention

The yearling bull deserves some special attention as he begins his breeding career in order to assure that he will settle as many females as promptly as possible during his first working summer.

The yearling bull deserves some special attention as he begins his breeding career in order to assure that he will settle as many females as promptly as possible during his first working summer.

You probably should not immediately turn him out with the cows. The ideal condition for the young bull at the start of the breeding season is thrifty but not fat, hard and trim but not thin.

Bulls that are physically fit when they are turned out will breed more cows because they will retain a higher level of libido longer. Exercise prior to the breeding season will also reduce injuries from fighting and riding during the breeding season.

Young bulls can be very active and will exercise themselves if the bull pasture is of adequate area (about 2 acres/bull). It is a good idea to locate supplemental feeding areas and water sources as far as possible apart to further encourage walking activity.

The pasture or paddock should be a natural surface. It is important to have a well-drained surface to get young bull's hooves hardened and accustomed to walking.


Bulls are a troublesome group of cattle to provide proper nutrition. They are a relatively small group, but can take up a lot of space. The tendency is to run all bulls together and hope that they won't do much damage to the facilities or each other.

But, nutritional needs vary due to age and condition, so if young and old bulls are run together some bulls may not get the nutrition they need and others may get too much.

A mistake made occasionally is to turn the bulls that have been on a high grain ration out on very lush pasture or place them on straight high-quality alfalfa hay. This can lead to digestive upsets or imbalances, thus leading to potential reproductive problems.

Research shows that is takes 60 days for sperm development. The gain for yearling bulls prior to the breeding season should be about two pounds per day. This would require a diet containing 10-11 percent protein and 60-70 percent TDN (dry matter basis) which could be supplied by 6-10 pounds of grain per day and full-feed of medium quality hay.

Any hay fed should be free from molds and green in color, if possible. A mineral and vitamin mix should be offered that contains adequate calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A.

A standard rule of thumb mineral mix would be 40 percent dicalcium phosphate, 20 percent limestone, 30 percent trace mineral salt and 10 percent selenium 90 (mg/lb) premix. Quality green forages should provide enough vitamin A.

If forages are weathered and/or of low quality, an intramuscular injection of 3 million IU of vitamin A is advisable. A vitamin A injection might also be considered with corn silage-based diets.

The young bull should be acclimated to grazing pasture for 7-10 days prior to the date he will be turned onto pasture with his cows, if at all possible. Several days are required for the rumen micro flora to fully adjust from harvested feeds to fresh spring grass. This transitional stress should be accomplished prior to turning him into the herd.


The source of information for this article is Stephen Boyles, Ohio State University Extension Beef Specialist. The OSU publication entitled "Bull Nutrition and Management" can be found on the OSU web page, .

Transgenic corn

The percent of corn acreage planted to transgenic hybrids reached a record high 52 percent in 2005, which is double the corn acreage planted to transgenic crops in 2001 (26 percent).

This acreage estimate was based on a survey of transgenic crops conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in June 2005.

The survey asked randomly selected farmers in the U.S. if they planted transgenic corn and soybean seed resistant to herbicides, insects, or both. The survey reported on acreage in states that collectively account for 82 percent of all corn acres planted.

Transgenic corn included Bt hybrids with one or more of the Bt genes that can resist different types of insects (i.e. European corn borer and western corn rootworm).

Stacked gene hybrids included only those containing transgenic traits for both herbicide and insect resistance. Conventionally bred herbicide resistant hybrids were excluded (e.g. Imi-corns tolerant to imidazolinone herbicides).

This is a very rapid movement toward farmer adoption of transgenic corn and soybeans. Now, the question that needs to be answered is whether world and U.S. markets will be as accepting of these genetic tools as producers have been?


For more information on these topics, contact Yliniemi at 1-218-732-3391, 1-218-846-7328 or 1-218-252-1042, or by e-mail a: .

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