if you are going to use bulls for breeding, at least make sure they can get the job done, stresses Michael Overton, dairy production medicine clinician at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, Calif.

All bulls should have a breeding-soundness exam before being turned in with the cows.

In fact, a field study conducted on bulls in Florida and California herds found that approximately 30 percent of bulls — bulls that producers thought were fine to use — actually failed a breeding-soundness exam.