Rural insurer FMG says the largest cause of bull-related insurance claims is often not what farmers expect, with 40% of claims received related to injuries in the paddock.
FMG’s Rural Segment Manager Angela Hogg says paddock injury claims are higher than the number of those FMG receives for transport injuries, pizzle injury and fighting injuries.
“Our claims’ data tells us that in the paddock, the most common injuries occur to a bull’s back, hip, pelvis or hocks, and sadly these often lead to the bull being euthanised.
FMG has released these claims statistics during the bull sale season to help farmers minimise disruption to their business. Farmers can limit the risk of injury by avoiding rocky and hilly terrain when grazing and mating bulls.
Other insights are that 1 in 20 claims involve bull flighting, 30% of claims are related to pizzle injuries and lameness contributes to almost 1 in 10 bull claims.
“FMG has attended bull sales for the past five years and the team are looking forward to catching up with breeders and buyers around this country, especially after the uncertainty around sales last year with Covid-19,” says Ms Hogg.
FMG Client and Angus New Zealand Board Member, Andrew Stewart says FMG understand bulls and the sale process. “We really value having people onsite at a sale and FMG has both breeders and buyers’ best interests at heart, and they give us good advice”.
FMG’s bull claims’ insights
40% of claims relate to injuries in the paddock
Tararua Breeding Centre’s recommend using bulls of a similar size or larger than the heifer to reduce the potential for pelvis and/or pizzle injuriy. Avoid bulls grazing and mating on rocky or hilly terrain. FMG’s claims’ data shows that in the paddock, the most common injuries occur to a bull’s back, hip, pelvis or hocks often leading to the bull being euthanised.
1 in 20 claims involve bull fighting
These claims relate to bulls breaking their legs or backs during mating while other bulls are in the paddock or neighbouring livestock escape into the paddock. Less bulls in mating groups can not only reduce the chance of injuries but also increase the number of cows being served due to less bull fights. Keeping mating groups at least a paddock apart and/or separated by electrified fencing can reduce the change of fence to fence liaisons.
30% of claims involved injury to pizzles
Common trends show high frequency of broken pizzles during mating seasons. Other claims are often surrounding deformities of the animal. All bulls should be checked/tested prior to purchase and during mating to decrease the chance of penis damage, genital warts or other genetic issues. Checking the bulls in the first days of mating is crucial to ensure they are performing correctly, penetration of the cows is seen, and no injuries have occurred.
Lameness contributes to almost 1 in 10 bull claims
Lameness claims often occur in the paddock or during mating especially on rocky ground or when the bull is in a laneway frequently. When buying bulls always check the feet and legs, if possible, on concrete, so any defects, old injuries and cracks can be assessed. Bull’s semen quality will deteriorate when bull is lame, so it is important to remove the bull from the mating group and treat if needed.