It’s no secret, implants don’t improve marbling, but there are strategies that make sure they do the least amount of damage:
Delay implanting until they’re on full feed. South Dakota State University research divided 650-pound (lb.) steers into non-implanted, estradiol-trenbolone acetate (TBA) implant at the start or TBA implant at 850 lb.
Implanting increased hot carcass weight under both strategies, but the delay resulted in a 15% increase in cattle reaching the premium Choice or higher. SDSU now waits until final diet before implanting calves, and that increases average gains by 20%.You want performance.
The consumer wants
quality. With a little
planning, you can have
it both ways.
Feed managers who do this also report reduced bullers, health problems and stress.
- Pay attention to dosage. Don’t use aggressive implants. Low or moderate potency implants can provide performance kicks with the marbling cuts.
- Match implants to nutrition. Cattle must be getting more calories than just what’s needed for maintenance in order to lay down marbling. If they’re not, an implant will hurt the quality even more.
- Consider cattle type. Smaller-framed cattle may need implants more than their larger-framed counterparts, to add weight. The latter might group become too large and overweights cause significant penalties.
- Don’t overdo it! Over-implanted cattle gain less than their lean gain potential and do no favors for the beef industry as a whole. Be judicious.
The key is keeping it balance. You want performance. The consumer wants quality. With a little planning, you can have it both ways.