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Open Access Research

Changes in mean scrotal circumference in performance tested Swedish beef bulls over time

Pernilla Eriksson1, Nils Lundeheim2 and Lennart Söderquist1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Reproduction, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 7054, Uppsala, SE-750 07, Sweden

2 Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Box 7023, Uppsala, SE-750 07, Sweden

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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2012, 54:74  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-54-74

Published: 15 December 2012

Abstract

Background

There is a growing interest in beef cattle breeding in Sweden. The majority of the females are bred naturally, which is why it is important to choose healthy fertile bulls to obtain good reproduction and profitability. The breeding soundness evaluation includes measurement of scrotal circumference (SC). Our aim was to analyze if the SC of performance tested beef bulls has changed over the years. In total, 1332 bulls (Angus, Charolais, Hereford and Simmental) from 13 batches (1997-2010) were included in the study. Case book entries from final evaluation of the bulls, 11-13 months old, were compiled and analyzed.

Results

An overall mean SC of 34.7 cm independent of breed and age was found which is above the set minimum level. Only eleven bulls did not reach the minimum level. An increase in SC of 0.06-0.07 cm/year was shown for all breeds. In all (1997-2010), the increase of the average SC (independent of breed and age) was approximately 1 cm. The positive trend was apparent for all breeds but only statistically significant for the Charolais breed.

Conclusions

In conclusion, our results indicated an increase in the SC over time, which improves the possibilities to obtain performance tested beef sires in Sweden with the potential for achieving better fertility results.

Keywords:
Andrology; Cattle; Genetics; Testicles; Scrotal circumference; Beef bull