One of the biggest deterrents farmers have before investing in a teaser bull is the price of bringing one in.
But from a business perspective, it is wrong to look at it in that way. This isn’t sinking your money into something. Think of it as a deposit on an even bigger saving down the line.
Teaser Bulls - bulls who undergo a vasectomy procedure to render them effectively sterile - are commonly used in heat detection. Although they cannot impregnate any of the cattle, they can still pick up heats just as well as any stock bull.
You needn’t even incur a cost of bringing an outside teaser bull in. Vets recommend that you use one of your own yearlings. Bull vasectomies cost peanuts when compared with the amount you could save through breeding and heat detection.
Teagasc say the price of a bull vasectomy mostly ranges from €90 to €120, although you can find them for cheaper and dearer than that.
One thing you need to note if you are doing this is that the bull will be out of action for six to eight weeks so he can recover. Another reason for the break is that the bull may still have some viable sperm upstream after the vasectomy that can last weeks.
Be sure to have all your bits in place well in advance of breeding season so you can make your investment worthwhile. If you rush him into detecting heats, he could a) not work or b) carry a risk of being fertile.
A teaser bull can be sold on or slaughtered once he has been vasectomised. Farm Ireland told the story of one farmer. He used two vasectomised Fresian bulls, purchased for €850 each, and used them with a chin ball for six weeks.
After the six weeks were over, the two vasectomised bulls were fed up and sold off, costing the farm €34 per bull. This cost is miniscule when you consider the average cost of a missed heat. For suckler farmers this is €147 and for dairy farmers it’s €250.
Catch one missed heat and you’ve already made your money back fourfold and sevenfold respectively.
Now, imagine what you could do with a heat detection system that doesn’t just mean one extra heat detected, but catches almost all of them.
The problem with the chin ball isn’t with the bull himself, but with human error; not recognising the signs or not refilling paint often enough. We’ve come up with a better solution.
Moocall HEAT is our new heat detection system you could call a chin ball for the 21st century. It is a digital solution that guarantees as little human error as possible.
The system comes in two parts; a collar you attach around the neck of the bull and Moocall RFID ear tags you attach to the cows. The system then tracks the bull’s movements around the cows and feeds the information straight to you via SMS message or your Moocall Breedmanager App.
It couldn’t be easier to use; once you have the device and tags set up, just strap the collar to the bull and away you go! The battery lasts for up to 60 days so all going well you won’t have to worry about the bull until breeding is finished - which means no refilling paint every couple of days and less labour.
In the past, electronic systems like these have priced many suckler farmers out of modern heat detection. If the price wasn’t a deterrent, many of these systems just don’t suit a suckler system due to their reliance on a base station.
Moocall HEAT has neither of these problems. How much you spend on the product is scalable to your needs; One collar, 50 Moocall RFID tags and 12 months service costs you €1500.
And it can connect to any mobile network so you don’t have the problem of being tied to the same spot.