SDSU Advise Producers on Calf Implants

US - Implanting suckling and growing beef calves can improve gain and provide an excellent return on investment. But without appropriate management, implants can make calves less efficient.
calendar icon 2 June 2008
clock icon 1 minute read
University of South Dakota

“The appropriate implant strategy will depend on how the calves will be managed and sold,” says Cody Wright, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension beef specialist. Since many calves are implanted at branding and turnout, now’s the time to consider your options, he says.

Once the implant has reached its maximum payout window, cattle performance will begin to converge with non-implanted calves unless another implant is administered.

“Also, the implanted calves will have had higher energy requirements during the time the implant is functional. That means that if the calves are not administered a subsequent implant, their gains may be similar and their energy requirements greater than non-implanted calves. Calves not administered a subsequent implant will ultimately be less efficient than non-implanted calves,” he says.

If calves will be sold at weaning, a single implant in the spring is sufficient, Wright says. If calves will be backgrounded at a low rate of gain – less than 1.75 lbs./day – no implant is needed. For calves backgrounded at a high gain – more than 1.75 lbs./day – cattlemen should use two implants, one in spring and one at weaning. If replacement heifers can be selected early, the recommendation is to not implant them, Wright says.

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