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One of the biggest challenges facing cow/calf producers today is cutting their costs of production. One possible strategy for lowering costs is to increase the production efficiency of the cow herd. A key area to focus on is the reproductive function of the beef bull because natural mating accounts for over 95% of the pregnancies achieved each year in the 33.7 million beef cows in the U.S.
It is becoming apparent that perhaps because of increased selection pressure on scrotal circumference, the modern beef bull is more fertile than the bull of yesterday. Yet, according to the 1992 National Beef Cow/Calf Health and Productivity Audit (USDA), yearling and mature beef bulls are being mated at bull-to-female ratios of 1:19 and 1:29, respectively. Utilizing bulls to their full breeding potential is one of the quickest and simplest ways a producer can cut costs.