One of the most important profit drivers in any beef enterprise is the ability to land calves on the ground. As we are all aware in extensive systems bulls make up a fairly important part of this process. Therefore, it is fundamental that we take the time to protect our bulls and our reproductive performance from risk.
As we all know there are a number of factors which can contribute to a failed joining, some are obvious, and some are not. Primary bull issues such as breakdowns, injuries, or reproductive failures are common and the risks of these can be mitigated through the use of bull testing and multi-sire mating. There are then reproductive diseases which can affect reproductive performance, these include Pestivirus, Leptospirosis, Trichomoniasis, Neosporosis, and Ureaplasmosis. Not to mention the impact nutritional deficiencies or the intake of toxins can have in both heifer and cow breeding groups.
On top of managing these issues there is another disease, Vibriosis, which whilst it is a disease that affects both the females and the bulls during an outbreak, it is commonly regarded a bull related disease due to its introduction most commonly occurring through infected bulls. It is therefore a prime example of the importance of bull biosecurity.
Vibriosis, or Campylobacter is a bacteria which colonizes within the sheath of bulls. During mating the bacteria is transferred to the vagina of the cow where it can cause infertility, early embryonic loss, or later term abortions. Vibriosis can be effectively controlled within a herd through the use of Vibrovax vaccine in the bulls. However if another bull who is not vaccinated and who may carry the bacteria in his sheath (the more mature the bull, the higher the risk) gets in with a mob of naïve cows, Vibriosis can spread very quickly. Due to the reliance on an infected bull transmitting Vibriosis the following aspects of bull biosecurity can greatly assist in preventing this costly disease;
- Buy bulls from reputable studs which vaccinate against Vibriosis as part of their pre-sale treatments and avoid more mature bulls which have worked in joining periods before.
- Maintain vaccination of all bulls against Vibriosis at the time of bull testing to prevent disease.
- Do not lend/ borrow bulls to or from any neighbors or other producers, without adequate disease control.
- Try to avoid joining mobs on boundary fences in an attempt to avoid over the fence bull activity.
For more information on Bull Biosecurity or Vibriosis feel free to contact one of our vets on (02) 60362374