chapter  21
10 Pages

New Developments in Managing the Bull

Breeding Soundness Evaluations ..........................................................................288 Not All Bulls Are Created Equal ..........................................................................289 Finding the Needle in the Haystack......................................................................290 Fertility-Associated Antigen (FAA) ......................................................................290 Field Trials: Is FAA Status Important?.................................................................291 Serving Capacity and FAA Status.........................................................................291 Artificial Insemination ...........................................................................................292 Is FAA Heritable?..................................................................................................293 Is the FAA Test Commercially Available?............................................................294 What Looms on the Horizon for FAA? ................................................................294 References..............................................................................................................295

Fertility as a trait is five to ten times more important to profitability of a beef herd than any other trait we can measure. Unfortunately, heritability estimates for fertility put the value at only about 10% (Taylor et al., 1985). How, then, can we manage bulls to optimize overall herd fertility? Breeding soundness evaluations (BSE) can be performed to qualify bulls as potential satisfactory breeders. However, as we enter the new millennium, the majority of bulls in the U.S. are still not routinely subjected to a BSE.