The majority of spring-calving herds are now in week four of breeding 2022, which often signals that it is time to turn out the bull.

By now there should be enough cows and heifers bred to dairy artificial insemination (AI) meaning farmers can now switch to beef AI or turn out the stockbull.

Breeding 2022

As farms enter into week four of the breeding season, the aim is that 90% or more of the herd has been served.

Of this 90%, around 55-60% should have held to first serve, which means that about half of the herd should now be in calf.

However, that also means that entering into week four of breeding, 50% of the herd is not in calf.

Depending on the number of dairy replacements to be obtained, it is most likely time to start using more beef AI and/or a stockbull.

Stockbull management

When turning out a bull with the cows it is important to have a rough idea of how many cows might not yet be in calf.

Depending on the numbers of cows not in-calf, the number of bulls needed may differ.

For a 100-cow herd, with approximately 50-70% of the herd in-calf after six-weeks of AI, at least two bulls will be required.

If less than half of the herd is in-calf after six weeks of AI, three bulls will be required.

Bull safety

On farms where a bull is running with the cows it is important that extra safety precautions are taken.

A bull should never be trusted, no matter how quiet he seems.

When herding the cows, it is advised to know where the bull is at all times. Ideally a should use be used, and at the least a stick should be carried.

Keep close to the fence line and always try to have an escape route planned as there’s always a potential it will be needed.