IMPLANTING BEEF and DAIRY BEEF CATTLE

John Bonner Ph. D. PAS

Land O Lakes Beef Feed

 

SUCKLING CALVES

 Implanting is one of the most profitable and most confusing areas of beef production.  During the past three decades the number of implants and implant combinations has increased at a phenomenal rate.  The number of approved implants as of June 2004 is twenty-seven.  According to Benchmark records of VetLife the number of combinations that have been used on steers is 161 and 234 on heifers.  This would indicate that there should be a process for making the right implant decisions that will yield optimum gain and feed efficiency in addition to top carcass yield and value.  There are many factors that come into the decision making process when an implanting program is designed (or just happens).  The timing of implanting and the product choices need to be looked at from the harvest date (or the last date of ownership for calves or yearlings) back to the starting date of ownership or birth.  Dates of implanting need to be determined by active effective life of the implant and days to the end of the period of ownership or feeding. Implants are placed under the skin on the posterior aspect of the ear by means of special implant application devices.  Regardless of product and program chosen, the proper implant procedure and the cleanliness of the implant process are critical.

The response to implanting suckling calves is variable, based on genetics, quantity and quality of milk and feedstuffs, animal health, level of internal parasitism, and year.  On the average, implanting suckling calves will increase weaning weight by 10 to 20 pounds.  Caution must be used in implanting animals intended for future breeding.  There are no approved implants for use in bulls intended for future breeding; Synovex-C and Ralgro have been approved for one-time use in heifers intended for future breeding, after 45 days of age/less than 400 lbs. body weight.  Re-implanting suckling calves intended for feed-out after 70-120 days (depending on the implant used) may improve average daily gain over a single implant.  The use of implants on suckling calves may affect (reduce) the response to subsequent implants and even carcass parameters, if the nutrition and implant program are not planned correctly.

 

PASTURE / STOCKER CALVES

Scientific studies indicate that growth promoting implants will usually increase weight gain significantly over non-implanted animals, in some cases up to 30 lbs.  Genetics, nutrition, and implant program planning are key factors.  If the animals are not gaining at least 1.25 lbs/day or the consumption of feedstuffs does not exceed 1.5 times maintenance requirement, the response to implanting will be negligible.  The producer should match nutrition and the selection of the appropriate implant to the length of the grazing period, or plan to re-implant, in order to achieve maximum growth promotion.

 

FEEDLOT STEERS and HEIFERS

 Of all purchased inputs used by the feedlot, implants give the greatest return on investment.  The proper use of growth promoting implants in feedlot steers have resulted in improvements in rates of gain up to 30% and feed conversion up to 17% compared to non-implanted controls, returning up to $40.00 over implant cost per implant period.  An understanding of the implant’s ingredients, levels, payout period and impact on performance must be attained and strategies for appropriate use developed.  The first objective is to determine days on feed (DOF).  Including projections of DOF in implant consideration requires a paradigm shift or change in rational thinking.  Producers have administered estrogen implants at 70 to 100 day intervals following arrival, disregarding the relationship to slaughter date.  By projecting DOF, the finished animal is the end product and becomes the focus of the program.  The implants and implant strategy become tools to influence performance and carcass quality.

 Because implants influence rate of gain and feed conversion by increasing protein accretion (muscle), without affecting the actual amount of marbling (fat) deposited, the producer must set goals for maximum performance, maximum quality grade, or a combination of improved performance/best quality grade achievable when planning the implant program.  The current USDA grading system is a “visual” system, in which the grader is comparing the ratio of muscle to fat.  Increases in muscle tissue deposition may change the ratio enough to drop the quality grade. Proper implant program design, along with the right nutrition, management and marketing programs will result in economic benefit. The producer should match nutrition and the selection of the appropriate implant(s) to the length of the feeding period, performance goals, and desired carcass parameters.

 

CULL COWS

 Research indicates that implanting cull cows can be profitable, if market prospects for this class of animal are favorable.  Implanting cull cows on feed for periods of 56 to 100 days has improved rate of gain from 0 to 31%, depending on the implant used.  There is no growth promotant implant that carries approval from the F.D.A. for specific use in cull cows. However, the F.D.A. has generally held the view that implants approved for feedlot heifers may be used in cull cows, once they enter the confinement feeding period.  Research would indicate that implanting with androgen based implants (testosterone or trenbolone acetate) will improve performance over estrogen based implants, potentially because of ovarian sources of estrogen in these mature animals and level of feed consumption.

 

FACTORS AFFECTING IMPLANT STRATEGIES 

        People (time & ability)

        Performance Goals

        Facilities

        Carcass Quality Goals

        Sex

        Breed

        Age/Weight

        Proper sanitation and technique

        Nutrition

        Health

 

IMPLANT INFLUENCE ON PERFORMANCE

 ·         Previous implants may influence (reduce or enhance) the impact of subsequent implants, depending on the design of the implant program.  In general, the next implant should be more potent than the previous implant.

·         The implant for a given time period must match the animal’s weight, nutrition, rate and composition of carcass gain.

·         The greater the age/weight, consumption of high quality feedstuffs, faster the gain, the higher the level of growth promotant hormone the animal can respond to.

·         Each implant has a maximum, intermediate, and minimal effective time period following implanting.  The times listed in the following chart are the approximate number of days post-implant, beyond which little or no growth promotant effect should be expected.

 

GUIDELINES FOR PLANNING IMPLANT STRATEGIES

 Estimate date of slaughter:

 ·         Set performance and quality grade goals for the terminal feeding period and slaughter.

·         Select and time the terminal implant to correspond to the goals (plan the last implant first, working backward from slaughter date to determine the days away from slaughter to implant).

·         Time the initial implant(s) to enhance performance (plan the initial implant(s) last, after the terminal program has been determined).

·         Develop a system of Quality Control for genetics, nutrition, implanting technique, and achievement of performance goals and desired carcass parameters.

  

TYPES OF IMPLANTS

 

SYNOVEX®-C and COMPONENT® E-C

 These products contain estradiol benzoate (72% estradiol) and progesterone.  The products are recommended for use in suckling beef calves weighing up to approximately 400 lbs.  They may be used in both steer and heifer calves, including one time on beef heifers intended for breeding later. 

  

RALGRO® and RALGRO® MAGNUM

 Zeranol, the active drug in Ralgro, is a chemical derivative of a resorcylic acid lactone fermentation product, having estrogenic properties.  Ralgro is used to increase the rate of weight gain and improve feed conservation in growing cattle, feedlot heifers, feedlot steers, weaned calves and suckling calves.  Ralgro has been approved for use in beef heifers intended for breeding later.  Magnum is a feedlot implant with the same active ingredient at double the dosage and it uses an implant gun that is similar to the gun for Ralgro

 

COMPUDOSE® and ENCORE®

 Compudose is a silicone rubber implant containing estradiol and is coated with not less than 0.5 mg of oxytetracycline powder as a local antibacterial.  Compudose is intended for increased rate of weight gain in suckling and pastured growing steers; for improved feed efficiency and increased rate of weight gain in confined steers and heifers only.  Encore is a higher potency & longer lasting implant with the same active ingredient, the same carrier, and it uses the same implant gun as the Compudose.

 

SYNOVEX®-S and COMPONENT® E-S

 These products contain estradiol benzoate (72% estradiol) and progesterone.  They are recommended for use in steers weighing 400 lbs. or more.  When properly administered, these implants can help increase rate of weight gain and improve feed efficiency. 

 

SYNOVEX®-H and COMPONENT® E-H

These products contain estradiol benzoate (72% estradiol) and testosterone propionate.  They are recommended for use in heifers weighing 400 lbs. or more.  When properly administered, these implants can help increase rate of weight gain and improve feed efficiency. 

 

DURALEASE™

Each dose of this product contains 20 mg of estradiol benzoate (72% estradiol), microencapsulated by a patented THERAPHASE™ process.  This is the first suspension implant, and the only implant to combine the benefits of a sustained-release estradiol benzoate implant with the consistency of advanced microencapsulation technology.  This product is recommended for use in steers and heifers fed in confinement.   When properly administered, this product will help increase weight gain and improve feed efficiency.

 

COMPONENT® T-S

 Component T-S contains 140 mg of trenbolone acetate. Trenbolone acetate (TBA) appears to have a different mode of action than estrogen in promoting muscle deposition and this response is additive when used with an estrogenic implant. 

 

COMPONENT® T-H and FINAPLIX® H

 Finaplix-H and Component T-H contain 200 mg of trenbolone acetate.  Trenbolone acetate (TBA) appears to have a different mode of action than estrogen in promoting muscle deposition and this response is additive when used with an estrogenic implant. 

 

COMPONENT® TE-S and REVALOR®-S

 Revalor-S and Component TE-S are implants that contain a combination both estradiol and trenbolone acetate.  It increases rate of weight gain and improves feed efficiency in a slow-release delivery system.  .

 

COMPONENT® TE-H and REVALOR®-H

Revalor-H and Component TE-H contain both estradiol & trenbolone acetate in a ratio that is beneficial to feedlot heifers.  This product was approved 1994 and the response is very similar to the Revalor-S on steers.

 

SYNOVEX® - PLUS

Synovex - Plus contains higher levels of TBA than Revalor - S.  This makes it a more potent implant, but as a result of its potency it can also be a more difficult implant to manage.

 

SYNOVEX® - CHOICE

 Synovex - Choice is approved for use in steers and contains both estradiol benzoate and trenbolone acetate at half the levels of Synovex Plus

 

COMPONENT® TE-G and REVALOR® - G

Component TE-G and Revalor - G contain lower levels of estradiol and trenbolone acetate than the Revalor - S implants and are intended for use in weaned pasture cattle.  They are not to be used in animals intended for subsequent breeding.  Component TE-G and Revalor®-G contain 40mg of trenbolone acetate and 8mg estradiol.

 

COMPONENT® TE-200 and REVALOR®-200

These products contain trenbolone acetate and estradiol in a slow-release delivery system which increases rate of weight gain and improves feed efficiency in steers and heifers fed in confinement for slaughter.  Revalor®-200 is an implant containing 200mg of trenbolone acetate and 20mg estradiol.

 COMPONENT® TE-IS and REVALOR – IS

.These implants contain trenbolone acetate and estradiol. Component TE-IS and Revalor -IS increase rate of weight gain and improves feed efficiency in steers fed in confinement for slaughter.

 COMPONENT® TE-IH and REVALOR - IH

 Component TE-IH and Revalor IH increase rate of weight gain in heifers fed in confinement for slaughter.  These implants contain trenbolone acetate and estradiol.  Each implant consists of 4 small yellow pellets

 

Currently Approved Cattle Implants

Cattle fed 130 days or more will benefit from a re-implant program,

cattle fed 240 days or more will benefit from a three dose implant program.

Implant programs should be re-evaluated periodically as feeding and marketing conditions change.

Implant Company Zeranol Estradiol Benzoate Estrogenic Effect Progesterone Testosterone Propionate Trenbolone Acetate Approximate Effective Days**** Approved Animals
Duralease Merial   20 mg 14 mg       175 Feedlot Steers & Heifers
RALGRO Schering 36 mg   11-13 mg*       70 Calves, Stockers, Feedlot
RALGRO MAGNUM Schering 72 mg   22-26 mg*       90 Feedlot Steers
Compudose VetLife     25.7 mg       175 Steers, Feedlot Heifers
Encore VetLife     43.9 mg       350 All Steers
Component E-C *** VetLife   10 mg 7 mg** 100 mg     Suckling Period Calves <400#
Component E-S *** VetLife   20 mg 14 mg** 200 mg     120 Steers >400#
Component E_H *** VetLife   20 mg 14 mg**   200 mg   120 Heifers >400#
Component T-S *** VetLife           140 mg 105 Feedlot  Steers
Componenet T-H *** VetLife           200 mg 105 Feedlot Heifers
Component TE-S *** VetLife     24 mg     120 gm 120 Feedlot  Steers
Component TE-H *** VetLife     14 mg     140 mg 120 Feedlot Heifers
Component TE-IS *** VetLife     16 mg     80 mg 110 Feedlot  Steers
Component TE-IH *** VetLife     8 mg     80 mg 110 Feedlot Heifers
Component TE-200 VetLife     20 mg     200 mg 130 Feedlot  Steers
Component TE-G VetLife     8 mg     40 mg 100 Stockers
Synovex C Fort Dodge   10 mg 7 mg** 100 mg     Suckling Period Steers, Heifers
Synovex S Fort Dodge   20 mg 14 mg** 200 mg     120 Steers    >400#
Synovex H Fort Dodge   20 mg 14 mg**   200 mg   120 Heifers >400#
Synovex Choice Fort Dodge   14 mg 10 mg**     100 mg 120 Feedlot  Steers
Synovex Plus Fort Dodge   28 mg 20 mg**     200 mg 130 Feedlot Steers & Heifers
Finaplex-H Intervet           200 mg 105 Feedlot Heifers
Revalor-S Intervet     24 mg     120 mg 120 Feedlot  Steers
Revalor-H Intervet     14 mg     140 mg 120 Feedlot Heifers
Revalor200 Intervet     20 mg     200 mg 130 Feedlot Steers & Heifers
Revalor-IS Intervet     16 mg     80 mg 110 Feedlot  Steers
Revalor-IH Intervet     8 mg     80 mg 110 Feedlot Heifers
Revalor G Intervet     8 mg     40 mg 100 Stockers
* Zeronal is about 31-36% active Estrogen
** Estradiol Benzoate contains 72.34% Estradiol 17b
*** Available with 29 mg tylosin tartrate added as a local antibacterial (Component with Tylan)
**** Note that the number of effective days varies with conditions of use and does not indicate the most effective use of any product
 
Source: Dr. Court Campbell of Fort Dodge AH, Dr. Pete Anderson of VetLife, and Dr. Kevin DeHaan of Merial