While breeding season may still be a ways off, bull nutrition now can have an impact on semen production, says Adele Harty, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.
 
"It's critical that we have nutrition where we need it to be, well in advance of breeding season," Harty said during a recent iGrow Radio Network interview.
 
She says cattlemen should strive for a body condition of 6 as most bulls will lose about 100 pounds during the breeding season. So what does a body score of 6 look like?
 
"They are going to have some spongy fat over their ribs, hooks and pins, and you'll be able to see some of the shoulder muscle movement, and they'll have fat deposits in their brisket," she said.

To get there, many bulls may need a higher plain of nutrition than simply hay - with higher energy and protein requirements based on the age of the bull.
 
Harty says many purchased bulls may carry plenty of condition, and she encourages slowly bringing them down to a maintenance diet combined with increased exercise.
 
"If you can turn them into a pasture or a bigger area where they can exercise, it will help them stay sound longer and actually have better libido during the breeding season," Harty said.