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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Beef Management Tips

Livestock Update, April 2003

John B. Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, VA Tech

April Beef Management Calendar

Spring Calving Herds

Fall Calving Herds

Cold weather may have damaged some bulls this winter
Normal Virginia winters pose a limited threat to bulls. However, recently we have received several reports of testicular frostbite in bulls. The snow and ice combined with cold temperatures created conditions that may have caused frost bite to the scrotum and testicles of bulls. Frostbite is characterized by a scaling or scabbing of the scrotum, which means damage to the testicles may have occurred as well. The damage can be permanent or temporary, but with most cases bulls will be less fertile.

The snow, rain and mud increase the risk of joint injuries for bulls. Cold weather and limited hay means bulls in some herds are too thin. Young bulls are at a greater risk for being too thin. Bulls should be in body condition 5.

Bulls should receive a breeding soundness exam every year regardless of age. This year it is especially important that all bulls are tested. The cost of a breeding soundness exam ranges from $30 to $60. Certainly, one open cow costs more than 10 to 12 breeding soundness exams.

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