There are still a lot of bulls in use on dairies, and they need breeding soundness exams. However, as of a few years ago, less than 10 percent of dairy producers (based on two different surveys) had ever had breeding soundness exams performed on their bulls, says Mike Overton, veterinarian with the University of Georgia.

Breeding soundness exams are a vastly underutilized screening tool, Overton says.

When he performs breeding soundness exams, Overton says the single most common reason for reproductive failure of Holstein bulls is related to testicular or seminal vesicle issues, such as inadequate scrotal circumference, infections resulting in white blood cells in the semen and testicular injuries.

“The second most common category of reasons was sperm morphology and the third was actually lameness or other disease issue,” Overton says.

Read more on bull breeding soundness exams from Bovine Veterinarian here.