NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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May 2, 2011 Agriculture Column


The will start cooperating soon and I know many of you are ready to get rolling in the field.  I am going to expect any enjoyment from my next comment but Deb and I were in Wausau Wisconsin Friday and Saturday and it is wet the whole way.  I say two tractors in the field right east of Barnsville Minnesota.  The big hills in Wisconsin had that shine of water across the land and did see one tractor- field cultivator looking for help.  It was stuck on a downhill slope.  I got grief on Sunday about my prediction of May 15th start day and please be aware I wish you could get started earlier.

Last Friday I also had the pleasure of talking to two individuals from Fargo and a question arose about storing more water in the upper basin.  The first thing I did was to show them a map I have, in color, of all the water in the area other than the lake and asked them where are we to store more water.  I also mentioned the roads and how they are disappearing to water, wind, muskrat damage and just plain disappearing.  I did ask them the question on why they were not storing more water upstream from Fargo (Richland and Cass Counties) to alleviate the Fargo flooding.  The conversation ended with that comment and moved on to a more normal tone.

Test Bulls for Breeding Soundness

Livestock producers should have their herd bulls examined for breeding soundness before turning them out with cows this summer. 

Bulls which experience frostbite to testicles have a higher likelihood of failing the exams. The severity of the injury is related to the likelihood of recovery. The more severe the frostbite, the higher the likelihood semen quality is impacted.  Poor nutrition can also negatively impact semen quality.

If a bull fails or is deferred on a breeding soundness exam, have the bull re-evaluated in two weeks. During those two weeks, bulls should receive a well-balanced ration containing adequate amounts of protein, energy, minerals and vitamins.  If possible, bulls should also be allowed to graze on pasture. This grazing activity helps the reproductive healing process in the bull.

Without a breeding soundness examination, producers risk lower pregnancy rates due to the failure of the bull to settle cows. The risk is heightened in single-sire pastures where there are no other bulls to service cows. Given the severity of this year’s winter weather, a breeding soundness examination is an inexpensive insurance policy to guard against costly open cows this fall.  The value of Bulls at the local market would make a great time to update the genetics in your cattle herd.  Bulls and cows are fetching slaughter prices never seen before.  The same would hold true for the cow herd.  Markets are very high and a good time to sell of those late calving and poor doing cows.




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