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Improve Gain Potential for Suckling Calves

December 12, 2011

Before calving season starts, you should have a plan ready to maximize weight gains for suckling calves and increase dollars on sale day, says Gary Sides, Pfizer Animal Health cattle nutritionist.


"For calves at just 45 days old, multiple technologies are available to help increase the productivity of your calf crop," he says. "Along with early vaccinations, you can help increase pounds of gain by collaborating with your veterinarian to select a low-dose implant best suited for your herd."

Research indicates that when properly used, implants can help to wean an extra 19 pounds,  giving you at least $25 more per implanted calf when sold.

"The long-standing philosophy behind using implants is to match the dose to the cattle based on their nutritional status. For instance, suckling calves on the cow are going to have a lower rate of gain potential and reduced feed intake compared with a heavier animal. In any case, this is an excellent time to utilize a low-dose implant. As the calves grow larger and feed continues to get more expensive, looking to a higher-dose implant will be the most practical option, " he says.

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