Zoetis nutritionist Gary Sides, PhD, outlines steps for getting the most from an implant program.
Zoetis nutritionist Gary Sides, PhD, outlines steps for getting the most from an implant program.

While it’s a challenging time in the cattle industry, as a progressive cattle producer you still have opportunities to add value to your final product. Using growth implants is one of the most profitable tools available to help you achieve this goal — returning far more in weight gain and feed efficiency than the cost of the implant itself.1

There’s a common misconception that implants only benefit cattle in a stocker or feedlot setting. But the truth is, any cattle producer who wants to improve weight gain can benefit from SYNOVEX® implants — cow/calf producers included.

In fact, studies demonstrate that calves implanted with SYNOVEX C gained an average of 19 pounds more than non-implanted calves at weaning — at $1.77 per pound for weaned calves, that’s an extra $33 per head at sale time and a 30-to-1 return on investment.

So, whether you’re reading this from a cow/calf, stocker or feedlot perspective, make sure you’re not forfeiting gain and profit.

To optimize implant results and profit for every dollar invested in your implanting program, work with your processing crew to implement best-practice implanting techniques.

Here are seven steps to help you make the most from an implant program:

1.       Before implanting, work with your nutritionist, veterinarian or Zoetis representative to match the correct implant dosage with desired cattle performance targets.

2.       Follow low-stress cattle handling procedures to avoid exciting and overcrowding cattle. Overcrowding causes additional manure contamination of cattle’s heads and ears. 

3.       Use good head restraint for the animal’s safety and yours. Never sacrifice safety and proper technique for speed.

4.       Always implant a clean and dry ear. If the ear is wet or dirty, clean the ear with a brush soaked in a proper concentration of Nolvasan Solution or other disinfectant before implanting. Refresh the water and disinfectant when it becomes dirty.

5.       Before implanting, tag ears in a location that will not be used for implants, or tag the ear not being implanted. Place the implant at least one finger width from new or previous incisions (ear tags, implants, etc.).

6.       When ready, insert the needle subcutaneously starting at the outer one-third of the ear, which places the implant in the middle one-third of the ear.

7.       Make sure your processing crew is familiar with the SX-10 Precision Applicator or Revolver implanting device. Clean the implant needle immediately if it slips or skips across the surface of ear before the injection is made to avoid contamination and infection.

Implanting aligns well with key cattle preconditioning processes, such as immunizing and deworming, and will likely not require an extra trip through the chute (and even if so, the performance response more than outweighs the extra processing expense). Long-duration implant options, like SYNOVEX ONE, allow cattlemen to increase operational flexibility and decrease labor costs by extending the window for weight gain up to 200 days.

For additional resources and information, I encourage you to please contact your Zoetis representative or visit GrowWithSYNOVEX.com.

Do not use SYNOVEX products in veal calves. Refer to label for complete directions for use, precautions, and warnings.

About the author: Gary Sides, PhD, joined Zoetis in 2003. Before putting his nutritional expertise to work for beef producers, the New Mexico native spent two years as a livestock extension specialist with Texas A&M University, located in College Station, Texas. Additionally, he was a research scientist with Utah State University. Dr. Sides earned his doctorate in ruminant physiology and nutrition from the University of Wyoming and both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from New Mexico State University-Las Cruces.