Does it really matter when bulls are castrated?
Time always is a precious commodity, not to mention having the necessary labor available to work cattle before taking cow-calf pairs to pasture. In the case of castrating bull calves, if you don't get that done at an early age, say before pasture turn-out; does it really affect the bottom line?
The 2008 National Animal Health Monitoring System data indicates 77% of bull calves in the U.S. are castrated before marketing, and 75% of those are castrated before three months of age. With regard to age at castration, does the science support this timing or should we delay castration of bulls to gain some additional weight?
There have been hundreds of studies looking at everything from stress to muscle tenderness. If you want to prove something, you can find at least one study that will support your bias. But what happens when we combine the studies to make best management practice recommendations?
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