Implanting calves?

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Dumb Old Farmer
Jan 2, 2004
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How many of you use implants? Are they worth the money for the gain? How hard is it to put in? I went to a local meeting tonight and the Ralgro guy was pushing his stuff saying it cost a $1 a head with a $20 return. Any side effects? Thanks for the input.
We used to implant every spring at branding, but this year we decided to forego them (yeah, cutting costs that might or might not come back to haunt us at sale time, but at the time we were really strapped for cash, and it was something we could turn-out calves on grass without doing, but couldn't sacrifice the blackleg shot). I guess if we owned a set of scales it would be easier to keep track of gain... just seems that the calves look great again even without them.

It's kind of tricky keeping track of calves' gains from year to year, as there are a minimum of six bulls exposed to my cow herd, so having a consistent base to work from is challenging, as the sires differ from year to year. Other factors that affect our calf gains are grass condition, health of cow and calf, stress (those that have been harassed alot by the wolves always come in thinner in the fall), etc. With all these variables to take into account we don't know how to evaluate implant performance or lack thereof. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Take care.
My brother used Ralgro a few years ago on some heifers that were to be marketed with their steer counterparts. The heifers ended up bigger than the steers. If you don't have the grass to support it don't waste your time but if you have the grass it works.

You should ONLY implant heifers that are going to market. You DO NOT want to implant heifer that you plan on keeping for breeding.
txshowmom":nrep9eso said:
You should ONLY implant heifers that are going to market. You DO NOT want to implant heifer that you plan on keeping for breeding.

personally, i wouldn't implant any heifers either, but some implants are approved for heifers. read the labels.
txshowmom wrote:
You should ONLY implant heifers that are going to market. You DO NOT want to implant heifer that you plan on keeping for breeding.

personally, i wouldn't implant any heifers either, but some implants are approved for heifers. read the labels.

Yes they are but they can effect the fertility of some heifers. Not always but its not worth the risk for me.
I implant (Ralgro) bulls when I make them steers, anywhere from a few days to a month old. Both steers and heifers that are sold to the order buyer get implanted again at weaning. It is pretty easy to implant as long as they are properly restrained so they cannot move their head at all. The 1st year I used them I implanted some and not others and weighed them at the end of the feed out period and the implanted ones all weighed more then the non-implanted ones anywhere from 5 to 25 lbs difference.
The feeder buyers in my area do not want implanted cattle since most are destined for natural beef if they have received no anitbiotics. Cattle are source to the farm of birth. Large portion of our steers in up in the Wolfes Neck Natural beef program. How do you plan on marketing your cattle and what does the buyer want?
Craig-TX":3ha8ci1o said:
We don't implant anything.


We don't either, ours are raised on grass only. Our cows get grass, hay, minerals and ivoemic(sp) thats it. They had bettter stay fat and healthy on that.
We used to implant all the steers that were going to feedlots, but haven't now for 5-6 years. Actually the barns prefer that you don't implant... then the buyers can do so if they want.
TheBullLady":3hs24qmt said:
then the buyers can do so if they want.

so why give the buyers that extra gain when you could implant & get it yourself?
Implanted cattle gain more than non implanted cattle thats a proven fact. More wieght at the sale barn means more money in your pocket. Someone said earlier that their implanted cattle weighted anywhere from 5-25 puond more than their non implanted cattle. Based on the market where we are that could mean he made anywhere from 5.50 - 27.50 more per head. If you are just selling a couple it dosen't really matter much but if you are selling 100 head say now you are looking at 550 - 2750 more, now it adds up.
At the risk of making enemies, I'm going to open my mouth here.

Doesn't anybody think about the consumer? What about the consumer who doesn't want implants used in the beef they eat, who can't afford to buy organic, and doesn't have the means to raise their own?

There's a lot of people out there who eat beef who don't want implants used, and when they ask their local grocer he tells them that none of the meat in his store came from implanted animals, it's just not labeled that way.
Same thing with milk. rBHT has been proven time and again to be harmful to humans, but it's still right there in every jug of milk you buy that's not labeled "organic". And the grocer says it's not in the milk on his shelves, and even it it were, it's safe. If it's so safe, why is it banned everywhere else? And why do we have skyrocketing rates of the problems that it's linked to (Juvenile Diabetes, Prostate Cancer)?

Ever wonder why the American public is getting so fat? Could it be that enough hormone comes through in the meat to fatten the people who eat it?

Can't anybody see that the FDA is running a giant experiment on the American public? Nobody knows what the long-term results of using these products will be. Are those few extra $$$ worth risking the health of your children and grandchildren?

Ann B

I don't really notice the difference in masculinity in heifers that I have implanted. If they haven't been implanted very long then you can still feel it in their ear. I don't implant heifers until weaning so that I can pick out the ones I plan on keeping or selling as replacements and don't implant them. It says on the information for ralgro that you can implant heifers once when they are young and it will not affect their reproductiveness. I believe it is basically a mix of testosterone and estrigen so if a heifer has been implanted hard and heavy she may show masculinity traits and not look as feminine.


Please don't take this personal, it is just my opinion. I see your point - but - the use of implants are going to happen regardless of what anyone thinks, until implants are taken off of the market and are not produced anymore. I just don't see that happening. There are products used in every single market; beef, dairy, poulty, swine, fruit, vegetable (short of any organics) that do or at least have the potential to cause health problems, cancer, stroke, obesity and death in humans. Look at how many people out there light up thoses cigaretes multiple times a day knowing full well that they are going to get cancer from them. How many people drive through fast food restaurants EVERY DAY knowing full well that they are going to get FAT from it. Do they stop? No! They may think about it then super size their meals and then just do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. People are getting fat in America because of the abundance of easy to get food that is high in calories and fat and their lack of self control, not the implants some producers are putting in calves.

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