Balancing Quality and Gain

Producers can benefit from implants and market on a grid successfully

November 15, 2010 – For producers marketing on the grid, achieving quality with maximum weight gain is a balancing act. After years of research and evaluation, it’s been recognized that proper selection of implants can provide producers the best of both worlds – maximum weight gain and acceptable quality grade.
“Implant technology has been available to producers for many years, and the benefits to feed efficiency and average daily gain (ADG) are well documented,” says Gary Sides, Ph.D., nutritionist with Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Operations. “As an industry, we have continually evaluated the role and benefit of implants. No producer – not even one who is marketing on a grid – wants to leave significant gains on the table.” 
The weight gain benefits from implanting, seen as early as weaning time, continues all the way to harvest, Dr. Sides says.
Producers investing in genetics to produce “quality” expect to see a payoff that is enhanced by implanting, nutrition and management. Research has helped us identify implant protocols that will increase the gain and feed efficiency of cattle and allow us to produce to specific carcass quality targets. 
In one study, there was no effect on marbling scores in cattle that were implanted at branding, weaning or backgrounding as compared with non-implanted controls.1 However, the type of implant used, along with good nutrition, goes hand in hand with the quality results, Dr. Sides says.
“The specific implant and how it’s used does matter,” he notes. The different SYNOVEX implants were each developed to work best with a specific stage of production, gender and nutritional status. Choosing the right one for your cattle helps ensure you’re getting a product that has been developed to work at that exact stage where you’ll see the most benefit.” 
For example, in two studies, cattle implanted with SYNOVEX® C as suckling calves had practically identical quality grade, marbling, tenderness (shear force) and overall consumer taste panel satisfaction scores when compared with those not implanted as calves.1,2
Another illustration occurred in an Angus Carcass Quality contest in 2006 where the winning pen of cattle and seven of the top 21 pens of cattle fed utilized a SYNOVEX Choice implant program, and the cattle were competing against pens of cattle that in some cases received no implant at all.3
“No matter what stage cattle are in, to see the most benefit from an implant protocol, a good nutrition program has to be in place,” Dr. Sides says. “This is absolutely critical when marketing on a grid, but also for every producer that wants to get the most out of his or her investment.”
For more information, contact: 
Michelle Tollefson  
Pfizer Animal Health  

Jennifer Ryan
Bader Rutter
1 Platter WJ, Tatum JD, Belk KE, Engle TE, Scanga JA, Smith GC. Effects of repetitive use of growth-promoting implants on beef carcass quality and consumer ratings of beef palatability. Colorado State University Final Report to the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Board, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 2001.
2 Mader TL, Dahlquist JM, Sindt MH, Stock RA, Klopfenstein TJ. Impact of sequential implanting with SYNOVEX on steer and heifer performance. J Anim Sci 1994;72:1095.
3 Fort Dodge Animal Health. Beef Checks and Balances. Performance and Quality Grade. FDP#L0429B. September 2007.



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