Standardising bull breeding soundness evaluations and reporting in Australia

Theriogenology. 2006 Sep 15;66(5):1140-8. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2006.03.009. Epub 2006 Apr 18.


There is substantial variation in bull breeding soundness evaluation procedures and reports in Australia; the situation is compounded by difficulties in interpretation and the validity of many reports. In an effort to overcome this, the scientific literature was reviewed [Fordyce G. In: Fordyce G, editor. Bull fertility: selection and management in Australia. Eight Mile Plains, Australia: Australian Cattle Vets; 2002] and the needs of stakeholders were considered in preparing a manual, Evaluating and Reporting Bull Fertility [Entwistle KW, Fordyce G. Evaluating and reporting bull fertility. Eight Mile Plains, Australia: Australian Cattle Vets; 2003.] that outlined standards for assessing and reporting bull breeding soundness. A new recording and reporting system, called Bull Reporter, is based on standards from this manual and groups bull fertility traits into five summary categories: Scrotum, Physical, Crush-side Semen, Sperm Morphology, and Serving. The client will generally select which categories they wish to have included in the evaluation to suit their specific purposes. While there is adequate room for comments, the veterinarian is not required to make an overall judgment of whether the bull has normal capacity to sire calves under natural mating management, but ensures the standards for each selected category are met. Professional, standardised, easy-to-read reports are produced either electronically [Entwistle KW, Fordyce G. Evaluating and reporting bull fertility. Eight Mile Plains, Australia: Australian Cattle Vets; 2003.] or manually. A bull owner or their agent signs the certificate to affirm that bulls have not undergone procedures to rectify faults which may have otherwise caused them to fail the standards. An accreditation system for assessing sperm morphology was established because of its demonstrated relationship with pregnancy rates and because of the difficulties in achieving consistent and accurate assessments among laboratories. It is considered that Bull Reporter is applicable to beef and dairy bulls across all levels of management, genotypes and environments throughout Australia, with substantial potential for application elsewhere in the world.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Breeding
  • Cattle / anatomy & histology
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Male
  • Physical Examination / veterinary
  • Scrotum / anatomy & histology*
  • Semen / cytology
  • Semen / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatozoa / physiology*