Producers who use proper implanting techniques can reap the benefits of implanting—increased average daily gain and feed efficiency—while those who put sanitation to the side may not be so fortunate. A recent Kansas State University study shows that average daily gain and feed efficiency of feeder heifers were reduced 8.9 percent and 8.3 percent respectively, over a 91-day feeding period for cattle with abscessed implants compared to cattle with normal implants.

According to Mark Spire, researcher at Kansas State University, abscessed implants reduce economic return by $17.70 per head for a 650-pound heifer valued at $74 per hundredweight.

Feedlot implant audits conducted by Fort Dodge Animal Health for 1996 and 1997 found that 6 percent of cattle implanted encounter problems such as abscess formation following implant placement, missing implants or improperly placed implants. Specific groups of cattle can have problem implants exceeding 30 percent with abscesses accounting for more than half of the problems.

“The difference in average daily gain can be erased by implementing quality assurance,” says Dr. Spire. “This covers sanitation of equipment and the ear, using the right equipment and placing the implant. All are simple steps and easy to accomplish—when you know the protocol.”