Scrotal Circumference

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Scrotal circumference is collected between 320 to 440 days of age. Scrotal circumference is measured using a scrotal tape around the widest part of the scrotum when the testicles are fully extended. The tape should be pulled firmly around the scrotum. It is recommended to record the measure a few times to ensure accurate results. The circumference of the scrotum is recorded in centimeters. Describe ways the phenotype is collected

Adjusted Value

The Beef Improvement Federation recommends age adjustment factors specific to breed for bulls less than 12 months old[1]. The recommendations are presented in the table below. The age adjustment factor should be used in the following equation:

365-day SC=actual SC + [(365-age in days) x breed specific age adjustment factor]

Age Adjustment Factors for Scrotal Circumference
Breed Adjustment
Angus 0.0374
Charolais 0.0505
Gelbvieh 0.0505
Hereford 0.0425
Limousin 0.0590
Red Angus 0.0324
Simmental 0.0543

Most breed associations record scrotal circumference and therefore have developed their own adjustment factor for scrotal circumference. Age adjustment factors based on data they have collected have been suggested by the breed associations. Certain associations also have an age of dam adjustment factor for yearling scrotal circumference. It is recommended to use the breed association adjustments when possible in order to increase the accuracy of the adjusted measure.

Contemporary Group

Scrotal circumference is generally measured with other yearling bull measurements including weight and height, so use of the same contemporary grouping strategies as those for yearling bulls would likely apply.

Genetic Evaluation

Scrotal circumference should be run in a multiple-trait model with another completely recorded trait such as yearling weight.


Scrotal circumference is measured to estimate the potential number of sperm cells that could be produced. It has been shown bulls with larger scrotal circumference reached puberty and produced higher quality sperm at a younger age. Furthermore, larger scrotal circumference has been associated with an increased percentage of progressively motile sperm and less abnormal sperm production [2][3].

Moreover, it has become increasingly popular for beef producers to market yearling bulls, which generally have not reached sexual maturity. Studies have shown bulls less than 15 months of age were more likely to be classified as deferred when evaluated for a BSE. Scrotal circumference can provide a more accurate predictor of onset of puberty when compared to other measurements such as height or weight[4]. Due to the relationship between scrotal circumference and these economically relevant traits, producers may wish to utilize scrotal circumference as a culling factor and place selection emphasis on scrotal circumference EPDs if selling bulls.

  1. Geske, J. M., R. R. Schalles, and K. O. Zoellner. 1995. Yearling scrotal circumference prediction equation and age adjustment factors for various breeds of beef bulls. Ag. Exp. Sta., Kansas State Univ. Rep. of Progress 727:99.
  2. Christmas R. A., D.W. Moser, M.F. Spire, J.M. Sargeant, and S.K. Tucker. Genetic relationships among breeding soundness traits in yearling bulls. In: Cattlemen’s Day. 2001. Manhattan, KS. Pp. 1-3.
  3. Garmyn, A.J., D. W. Moser, R.A Christmas, J.M. Bormann. 2011. Estimate of genetic parameters and effects of cytoplasmic line on scrotal circumference and semen quality traits in Angus bulls. J. Anim. Sci. 89: 693-698.
  4. Carson, R.L. and J.G. Wenzel. 1997. Observations using the new bull-breeding soundness evaluation forms in adult and young bulls. Vet Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice. 13:305-311.