Implant strategies for cow/calf producers | TSLN.com

Implant strategies for cow/calf producers

Amanda Nolz

Photo by Amanda NolzRobbi Pritchard, Ph.D., Department of Animal and Range Sciences, SDSU, offers tips for producers in selecting the best implant strategy to match the potential of any group of calves.

Sit in the sale barn one afternoon, and a beef producer could observe cattle marketed a dozen different ways. A load of 600 pound, non-implanted calves moves through the ring, followed by a set of 600 pound implanted calves. Both loads are the same color, same frame score, same weight. A buyer purchases the non-implanted calves for a higher price than the next guy buying the implanted calves. Although the buyer may have selected the non-implanted calves to fit into a natural beef program, he might not understand that he has also purchased the genetically superior group, as well. Why? Because his 600 pound calves reached that weight, without the help of an implant. So, which is better: gaining a premium for non-implanted calves or losing 20 pounds at sale time if implants aren’t administered?

It’s all in understanding the calves’ genetic potential and understanding the best management practices for that group of calves. The right implant at the right time will add value to a set of calves, assures Robbi Pritchard, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at South Dakota State University. He offers tips for producers in selecting the best implant strategy to match the potential of any group of calves.

“I frequently hear people discussing whether it’s wrong or right to use implants,” Pritchard admits. “Even though implants are safe, the consumer is concerned about implants, but if we refer to implants as ‘replacement hormone therapy,’ they seem to grasp that concept. However, for beef producers, the bigger concern is understanding when implants can work against you and when they can be incredibly useful. Producers need to figure out which system they want to work in, and where their genetics fit. There are implant strategies, that, if done well, can result in great returns on the investment.”

Sit in the sale barn one afternoon, and a beef producer could observe cattle marketed a dozen different ways. A load of 600 pound, non-implanted calves moves through the ring, followed by a set of 600 pound implanted calves. Both loads are the same color, same frame score, same weight. A buyer purchases the non-implanted calves for a higher price than the next guy buying the implanted calves. Although the buyer may have selected the non-implanted calves to fit into a natural beef program, he might not understand that he has also purchased the genetically superior group, as well. Why? Because his 600 pound calves reached that weight, without the help of an implant. So, which is better: gaining a premium for non-implanted calves or losing 20 pounds at sale time if implants aren’t administered?

It’s all in understanding the calves’ genetic potential and understanding the best management practices for that group of calves. The right implant at the right time will add value to a set of calves, assures Robbi Pritchard, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at South Dakota State University. He offers tips for producers in selecting the best implant strategy to match the potential of any group of calves.

“I frequently hear people discussing whether it’s wrong or right to use implants,” Pritchard admits. “Even though implants are safe, the consumer is concerned about implants, but if we refer to implants as ‘replacement hormone therapy,’ they seem to grasp that concept. However, for beef producers, the bigger concern is understanding when implants can work against you and when they can be incredibly useful. Producers need to figure out which system they want to work in, and where their genetics fit. There are implant strategies, that, if done well, can result in great returns on the investment.”

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Sit in the sale barn one afternoon, and a beef producer could observe cattle marketed a dozen different ways. A load of 600 pound, non-implanted calves moves through the ring, followed by a set of 600 pound implanted calves. Both loads are the same color, same frame score, same weight. A buyer purchases the non-implanted calves for a higher price than the next guy buying the implanted calves. Although the buyer may have selected the non-implanted calves to fit into a natural beef program, he might not understand that he has also purchased the genetically superior group, as well. Why? Because his 600 pound calves reached that weight, without the help of an implant. So, which is better: gaining a premium for non-implanted calves or losing 20 pounds at sale time if implants aren’t administered?

It’s all in understanding the calves’ genetic potential and understanding the best management practices for that group of calves. The right implant at the right time will add value to a set of calves, assures Robbi Pritchard, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at South Dakota State University. He offers tips for producers in selecting the best implant strategy to match the potential of any group of calves.

“I frequently hear people discussing whether it’s wrong or right to use implants,” Pritchard admits. “Even though implants are safe, the consumer is concerned about implants, but if we refer to implants as ‘replacement hormone therapy,’ they seem to grasp that concept. However, for beef producers, the bigger concern is understanding when implants can work against you and when they can be incredibly useful. Producers need to figure out which system they want to work in, and where their genetics fit. There are implant strategies, that, if done well, can result in great returns on the investment.”