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MU Extension recommends castrating bulls as young as possible

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Bull castration age can have an effect on optimum performance and profitability.

“Castrate bulls as young as possible for optimum performance and profitability,” University of Missouri Extension Livestock Field Specialist Patrick Davis said. “Bull calves should be castrated as young as possible to reduce stress related performance losses.” 

Davis said multiple research studies have shown that early castrated bull calves perform similar to bulls that are left intact until weaning. Furthermore, if bull calves are castrated at weaning, they have reduced performance compared to early castrated bull calves for a period of time as they heal from the castration stress. 

Davis urges cattle producers to castrate bull calves at less than three months of age for optimum performance.

“Bull calves marketed at weaning through livestock marketing facilities will see $5 to $10/cwt discounts or more compared to steer calves,” Davis said. 

These discounts result from the high likelihood of calf performance loss and morbidity once bulls are castrated. 

Davis urges early castration of bulls to prevent discounts at sale time as well as reduced health problems after sale.

“Consult your veterinarian when developing a bull castration protocol for your cattle operation,” Davis said. 

Veterinarians can provide education on proper bull castration protocol and management to reduce stress leading to optimum health and performance post castration.

For more information related to optimum time to castrate bulls for ideal operation performance and profitability, contact a local MU Extension livestock field specialist.

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