Sustainable Beef Systems Research Group
Dr. Colin Palmer
Saskatoon, Canada S7N 5A8
Research Areas and Associated Publications
Albert Barth, and most recently I, having been working on alternatives to conventional electroejaculation in bulls. Albert's projects went a long way towards quantifying the pain associated with electroejaculation and I have been able to show that transrectal massage directed at the ampulla likely results in the release of oxytocin which stimulates semen emission and can reduce the duration of electroejaculation. I have also demonstrated that transrectal massage, using our technique, is a viable alternative to electroejaculation, although semen sample quality tends to be compromised. Electroejaculation has been banned in several European countries (e.g. Sweden) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association reviews this procedure periodically. From an animal welfare point of view, it is important for us to evaluate electroejaculation and explore alternatives.
What about bull fertility? Why should we care? To optimize performance the majority of the cow herd should be bred during the first two heat cycles after the bull is placed in the breeding pature. To accomplish this goal, we need fertile bulls capable of breeding. For every million beef cows there are approximately 40,000 bulls. Approximately 30% of this population undergoes an annual breeding soundness evaluation each year. Bull fertility is big business!
Several aspects of this research are conducted on actual ranches. A stock trailer is adapted into a "field lab" on such occasions. He is pictured here with Dr. Lennart Soderquist and his graduate student Ylva Persson who visited here from the Swedish University of Agricultural in Uppsala, Sweden to conduct collaborative research.
Dr. Palmer is also doing research on postpartum endometritis in cows.
Colin Palmer's Department Webpage
This webpage was last updated on March 12, 2010. The linked pages in this series may have been updated more recently however.
back to Sustainable Beef Systems Research Group Homepage