Xcell Breeding’s bull semen evaluation and fertility testing

Xcell Breeding’s bull semen evaluation and fertility testing is a crucial tool which benefits and is available to both stud breeders and commercial farmers in the beef and dairy industry. The procedure provides peace of mind for the stud breeder that they are presenting bulls which have undergone rigorous evaluation for their respective buyer and for commercial famers the benefits of having mixed aged sire bulls tested prior to mating provides peace of mind that the bulls still have the ability to perform in the herd.


So, what does semen evaluation and fertility testing involve?

It involves evaluating various factors to determine the quality of semen and the bulls breeding soundness. Semen evaluation and fertility testing helps in selecting quality sires suitable for breeding, with the intention to avoid failure and achieve genetic improvements resulting in better reproductive results. Semen evaluation and fertility testing begins as soon as the bull is observed walking into the crush, we are checking for:

  • Looking at his feet, checking for lameness and at any other visible defects.
  • Palpation and examination of the testicles; the testis should be firm, equal in size, with no palpable abnormality and have a scrotal diameter within industry standards.
  • The penis and sheath are examined for any apparent abnormalities e.g. sores, lacerations, abscesses, hair rings, warts, corkscrew, penile frenulum, scar tissue or signs of damage.
  • During electro stimulation the penis must extend from the sheath, straight in the midline of the bull.
  • Microscopic evaluation of a semen sample is checked for motility (% of live sperm within the sample) and morphology (% of normal vs abnormal sperm within the sample).

The above information is considered and where there are any abnormalities from our standards the bull is either failed outright or re-evaluated at a later date.

The sperm cell takes sixty days to develop and mature, so maintaining the health and management of the bull in the weeks prior to mating is crucial. It's important to note that semen quality is also affected by external factors:

  • Diet plays and important role in semen production. For example, crops lack the selenium require and with that proteins such as Aromatase, necessary for semen production, are not produced properly creating hormone imbalances which disrupts development and maturation of sperm.
  • Extreme weather events, injury or disease will all impact semen quality for a period.
  • Weight is also a contributing factor to sperm quality that should be taken into consideration, overweight bulls can deposit fat around the testicles, therefore slightly increasing the temperature inside the testicles, which can cause abnormal sperm cell structure over time.

To make sure your bull is in tip top shape for the season preparations should begin at least 4-6 weeks out from mating. Give the office at Xcell Breeding Services a call on 03 312 2191 if you would like to book in your semen evaluation and fertility testing or any of our other available services found on our website www.xcell.co.nz

Greg Mckay