Before turning a bull in with the cows, have your veterinarian conduct a breeding-soundness exam, suggests Michael Overton, dairy production medicine clinician at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, Calif.

A complete exam must include the following:

1.   Physical exam. Does he have good feet and legs? Can he see? How is his mouth and teeth? A body condition score between 2.75 to 3.5 is ideal for a bull.

2. Scrotal and testicular exam.

3. Rectal palpation to check the prostate and seminal vesicles.

4.  Semen evaluation. You want a minimum motility of 30 percent and a minimum normal morphology of 70 percent. 

Failure to check all of these items can result in a bull that can’t deliver on your expectations.