Growth-promoting implants 101
Growth-promoting implants serve a very important purpose in the United States beef cattle industry. Despite being recognized as providing the greatest return-on-investment of any animal health technology in the feedlot segment, there is still much unknown about implants and where and when they should be applied. There are 27 FDA-approved growth-promoting implants marketed today. They all work, and they all serve a purpose. There are a few keys rules that can help narrow down the 27 available options to fit a specific situation: 1) match implant potency to the stage of cattle growth and nutrients available (in other words, don’t over-implant), 2) don’t run out of implant, particularly when cattle are near harvest, and 3) apply implants correctly. By understanding what implants are available, how they can best be administered, and what implants fit certain situations, producers and practitioners can take advantage of this valuable tool to optimize performance of cattle in the suckling, stocker, and feedlot segments.