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Implants boost pounds in calves and stockersImplants boost pounds in calves and stockers

Choosing the correct implant for your herd can result in profit throughout every stage of production.

Industry Voice by Elanco

October 31, 2017

5 Min Read
Implants boost pounds in calves and stockers

Implants Boost Pounds in Calves and Stockers

Pounds pay the bills when the calf crop is sold and when stocker cattle leave pastures for the feedlot. However, over 50 percent of cow/calf and stocker producers could be leaving pounds in the pasture and cash on the table simply by not taking advantage of one of the safest and most profitable management tools available in the beef industry.

“Implanting has been used in the beef industry since the 1950s, so it’s one of the most widely researched and time-tested technologies we have available. Implants are used in more than 90 percent of feedlot cattle in the U.S. today,1,2 yet fewer than 50 percent of cow/calf and stocker operations are using this highly effective tool,” says Doug Hufstedler, Ph.D., PAS and Elanco technical consultant. 

In each phase of beef production, implants have been shown to increase rate of gain, live weight and value.3 Grazing-phase implants continue to be one of the most profitable management tools available to beef producers, consistently adding 15 to 40 more pounds of weight gain to cattle, compared to non-implanted controls.1 With these improvements in production, implants increase value by an average of $15 to $41 per head when used in calves and stocker cattle, respectively.4,5*

Most people would never consider walking past a $20 bill laying on the ground, so why leave them lying all over your pasture?

Misconceptions are often barriers to implanting

According to Hufstedler, there are several common misconceptions related to implant use in grazing cattle. First, producers may believe that consumer demand for non-implanted or non-hormone treated cattle (NHTC) has created substantially higher premiums.

“A few programs may advertise premiums for non-implanted cattle, however, the available premium has to make up for the pounds given up by not implanting,” Hufstedler says. “If you’re paid a premium, make sure the premium per head makes up for the value of the additional pounds you are giving up by not implanting.”

Data collected by Superior Livestock from 2011 to 2013 shows the premium was only $1.13/cwt for non-hormone treated calves — not statistically different than the price received for implanted calves.7 “Giving up $40 per head from the additional weight gain on a 700 pound implanted steer to get a non-implanted premium worth only $8 per head doesn’t make much sense,” says Hufstedler.

Cow/calf producers also may not be implanting because they believe implants negatively impact reproduction or feedlot performance, they have concerns about choosing the right product, or they’re not sure how to properly administer the implant.

“By working with their veterinarian, producers can understand the true value of implanting and how these objections may be hamstringing the pounds of beef they generate per acre,” says Hufstedler.

Implants fit every phase of production

Cow/calf producers who retain heifers often have the greatest concerns about implanting. Because implant formulations have been extensively researched, we know implanting heifers at birth detrimentally effects reproduction. However, a summary of implant research studies reports there was little or no negative impact on reproductive performance when heifers were implanted at approximately 2 months of age. 

“Typically, cow/calf operators who retain heifers for the herd know which heifer calves may become replacements, and they should simply skip implanting those heifers,” says Hufstedler. “For producers who aren’t sure if a heifer will become a replacement female or be sold as a feeder, one ‘calf’ implant is recommended after she is 2 months old.” 

Although many producers have been misled to believe there is a negative impact of implanting suckling and/or grazing cattle on subsequent production phases and quality, multiple studies have demonstrated that implanting steers with Component® TE-G with Tylan® significantly improved grazing phase gains without negatively impacting feedlot performance or carcass quality.8-10

Choosing the right implant is simple

Four things to remember:

  • Cow/calf producers should use a calf implant, Component E-C with Tylan, “C” for calf

  • Stocker/backgrounder operators should use a grazing implant —Component TE-G with Tylan, “G” for grazing

  • Duration of payout is critical to maximizing production. Component with Tylan implants last 20 to 50 days longer than Ralgro11,12

  • Only Component implants with the Tylan advantage — a localized antibacterial — can protect your investment in the technology that delivers one of the greatest ROIs in the industry

For more detailed implant protocols fit for your operation, work with your Elanco

The label contains complete use information, including cautions and warnings.

Always read, understand and follow label and use directions.

Important Safety Information:

A withdrawal period has not been established for this product in pre-ruminating calves. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal.


Component with Tylan

Administer one dose in the ear subcutaneously according to label directions.

*Based on grazing implant data presented by Kuhl5 and the calculated value of gain described by Peel6 using current economic data means.

1Lalman, D. L., et al. 2015. “Cow/calf and stocker implant update.”

2Botts, Robert. 1996. Synovex Plus technical manual.

32013. “The use of growth-promoting implants in U.S. feedlots.” United States Department of Agriculture. Fort Collins, CO.

4Duckett, S. K. and J. G. Andrae. 2001. “Implant strategies in an integrated beef production system.” J. Anim. Sci. 79:E110.

5Kuhl, G. L. 1997. “Abstract: stocker cattle responses to Implants.” Oklahoma State University Symposium: Impact of Implants on Performance and Carcass Value of Beef Cattle, 51-62.

6Peel, D. Plains Nutrition Council 2012.

7Superior livestock auction data: 2010 to 2013. Data on file.

8Sharman, E.D., P.A. Lancaster, G. W. Horn, and G. D. Hufstedler. “Effects of energy supplements and a combination grazing implant to performance and carcass characteristics of growing cattle on wheat pasture.” Plains Nutrition Council 2011.

9Sharman et al. (2012) J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 90 (Suppl. 3): 669.

10McMurphy et al. (2013) Prof. Anim. Sci. 29:27

11Tatum, J. 2006. “Pre-harvest cattle management practices for enhancing beef tenderness.” Executive summary: Prepared for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 1–22. 8

12McCollum, F. “Implanting beef calves and stocker cattle.” AgriLife Extension Texas A&M System. L-2291: 4–98.

Elanco®, Component®, Tylan® and the diagonal bar are all trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates. ©2016 Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates.

NCFD 37054-1


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