Improper implanting costs producers money. Research at Kansas State University indicates that abscessed implant sites result in average daily gains reduced by 8.9 percent and feed efficiency reduced by 8.5 percent. These performance losses translate to economic losses averaging $17.70 per head.

Fort Dodge Animal Health recommends a three-step method, called "scrape, brush and disinfect," for preventing abscesses.

To use this method, processing crews first evaluate the ear of the animal to be implanted. If it is clean and dry, no preparation is necessary before implanting. If the ear is soiled, crews first use a dull steak knife to scrape foreign material from the surface. Next, they use a scrub brush with brass bristles on one side and nylon bristles on the other. They brush the ear two or three times with the brass bristles, then dip the nylon bristles in a disinfectant solution and wipe the area with that side of the brush to disinfect the surface.

The process only takes three to five seconds, so some producers use it on every animal whether their ears appear clean or dirty.