A LARGE contributor to the health and functionality of sale bulls is their preparation.
Scott Dunlop, of Dunlop Santas, planted oats on his Jingeri property around Easter.
"There was no follow-up rain after we planted, so the oats became stressed and started to go to head,” he said.
"Then we got early winter rain, the crop exploded and the sale bulls began to graze on it in mid-July.
"The bulls will have had little over 50 days on the oats by the sale.”
Mr Dunlop said weight gains on a lush crop in the initial weeks while the cattle adapted were minimal, however now the bulls had adapted the improvement was evident.
"It would've been preferred for the bulls to have another 6-8 weeks on the oats to allow them to reach their potential,” he said.
"It isn't essential though, they are only being compared to their counterparts who have had the same preparation.
"But it doesn't matter how good a bull looks unless he can pass on his desirable characteristics.”
Mr Dunlop said these characteristics were recreated through positive pregnancies that were positively correlated to semen quality.
"I think it's the open grazing conditions we have that's contributed to their superior semen quality,” Mr Dunlop said.
"The sale team have not only passed a crush side semen test but a morphology examination as well.
"This is a more in-depth semen analysis performed with a microscope of a far greater magnification, which allows the sperm to be analysed on an individual basis.”
All bar one bull achieved a morphology greater than 70%.
"This is a level at which the semen quality is deemed good enough to freeze for AI purposes, or the bull himself deemed suitable to join in a single sire situation,” Mr Dunlop said.
The annual Dunlop Santa Sire Sale will be held at Jingeri this Saturday, September 3.
On offer will be 85 fit and functional, oats prepared, rising two-year-old sires.
For more information and bull photos visit www. dunlopsantas.com.
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