December 29, 2014

(Dan) Hey there folks, Dr. Dan from Doc Talk and I am glad that you joined us today. Today our show is gonna focus on steroid implant strategies for beef cattle. Whether it’s growing them on the suckling calves on the cows, moving them into that stock or backgrounder operation and then of course in the finishing phase. Stay tuned. Enjoy the show. And learn a lot about steroid implants.

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(Dan) Hey there folks, welcome to the show. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and I direct the Beef Cattle Institute. And today we’re gonna talk and take a little trip down the history of steroid implants. And I know that first of all- what are some of the steroids that are utilized in steroid implants? And we use estrogen and estrodiol, which is an analog of estrogen. We use progesterone and we use trenbolone acetate. And that’s called TBA. And TBA is an analog of testosterone. And when we implant steers, male castrated bovine, we’re gonna use estrogenic and androgen or the TBA combination implants. And a lot of the times when we use these products, we’re gonna be utilizing them to increase growth, improve feed efficiency and to increase muscle mass within the animal. Now, some of the things have been talked about as far as steroid implants and safety. And I just want to go through a few of the questions that I get commonly about steroid implants. First of all, we’ve used steroids such as estrogen and trenbolone acetate since 1954 in beef cattle production in the United States. And one of the things, one of the common myths that keeps coming up is that the reason why we see early puberty these days in adolescent girls is because of the hormones in beef. And that’s just not something that’s been substantiated in science and it’s not true. The thing that stimulates puberty in adolescents is fat content. Whether it’s humans or animals or whatever. The physiology and once we have a certain adipose tissue content within the body, the body then triggers the body to go into puberty. And with adolescent obesity and things that we have going on within this country I think those are where we need to focus. Now, how big a dose of a steroid implant do you think we give an 800 pound animal? Well usually the steroid implant that we’re giving to these animals subcutaneously, one time administration is about the size of an Advil, or 200 milligrams, over a 150 day period. Now I take two Advil every four hours or every six hours when I have a headache. So, when you start to think about that, and I don’t weigh 800 pounds. When we start to think about the small dose and the longevity of that dose, you know, and then what we see as far as the improvement in feed efficiency, it’s miraculous. And when we come back from the break, we’re gonna talk about that. But as far as safety and the content, let me leave you with this. If we take an eight ounce steak from an implanted steer, we’ll have about three nanograms of estrogenic activity in that eight ounce steak. If we take and measure the estrogenic activity from a non implanted steer, an eight ounce steak, we have two nanograms of estrogen. If you have eight ounces of tofu, we’re looking at over millions of nanograms of estrogenic activity. And when we look at things such as cabbage, peas, milk, we have lots more, 100 to a 1,000 times the estrogenic activity as what we have. And we’re talking about a difference between an implanted and non implanted cattle being a difference of one nanogram per eight ounces. How big is a nanogram? One nanogram per kilogram is equivalent to a blade of grass on a football field. So, that one blade of grass on that football field is what people are upset about and talking about when you talk about the activists against steroid implants. When we come back, we’re gonna talk about the efficiency and the improvement and sustainability that steroid implants provide us in the beef industry. Stay tuned and thanks for watching Doc Talk.

(Dan) Hey there folks. Welcome back to Doc Talk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. We’re talking about steroid implant. And first of all we talked about the history of them being developed in the 1950s. How they’ve been around and utilized within our beef industry. Probably 90 percent of the fed cattle in the United States receive a steroid implant at some point in time in their life. And we talked about the safety. One of the other questions I get commonly is, if they’re so efficacious in bovine, why don’t we use them in swine and in poultry. And you know, actually in England they tried utilizing steroid implants in poultry and swine. The difference is that they’re monogastric. And for some reason implanting a monogastric, which would be similar to you, me, a dog, a chicken, or a hog, doesn’t work like it does in a ruminant. And when we use steroid implants in cattle or in sheep or goats, they work quite effectively. And when we give estrogenic compounds to poultry or to swine in the early 1900s when they first attempted that, they just turned those animals to fat. And so, one of the things that we have to be careful of when we look at these, is that these products don’t work in monogastrics and they work quite well in ruminants. So, we utilize them in ruminant animals. And they way that these products work is that the end outcomes are these- when we use a steroid implant in a beef steer we’re going to improve average daily gain by about 10 percent, we’re gonna improve the dry matter intakes in these animals of four to five percent, and we’re gonna improve the feed efficiency or the efficiency in which that animal converts feed to body weight gain, by 10 to 15 to 20 percent depending on the potency of the implant. And so these are huge, when we look at the use of technology today in the beef industry, that being steroid implants, if we don’t have steroid implants and we try to raise the same amount of beef that we do and we lose the feed efficiency and have to increase the amount of feed per pound of gain to produce the same amount of beef that we do today in the United States, we would need another cornfield the size of the state of New York. These are huge in reducing our carbon foot print. The way that these products work in the body, is that they stimulate growth hormone. Growth hormone then goes to the liver and we get increased secretion of IGF-1 or insulin like growth factor, which goes to the target tissue of the meat, or the muscle. And we increase the protein accretion rates and we decrease protein degradation rates. Muscle is constantly increasing and muscle is constantly building protein up and having waste product or breakdown of protein. And steroid implants decrease both within the bovine carcass. So, that give us improved muscling, improved yield. When we come back, we’ll talk a little bit because what these steroid implants will also do, is they decrease quality grade, by increasing muscle mass and leaving fat depos alone. So when we come back, we’ll talk a little bit about the effects of steroid implants on carcass. And then we’ll talk about some of the strategies we utilize to maximize both within the beef industry. You’re watching Doc Talk and we’ll come back right after the break.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to Doc Talk, Dr. Dan Thomson. I want to talk a little bit about how steroid implants work. Specifically, we’re gonna give this implant to the calf. The calf is then going to secrete more growth hormone, which is then gonna cause us to have more IGF-1, or insulin growth factor secretion. Two things are happening, one, we get a shift in mature body size. So, if you know about frame score, we’re just gonna take a medium frame calf, and we’re just gonna increase the frame score on that animal or increase the hip height a little bit. That increase in hip height then give us more room on the carcass, makes that a longer carcass, a taller carcass and allows us to produce more lean muscle mass. That’s really the trick of steroid implants and how steroid implants work. From that point forward we have changed the amount of fat to muscle ratio for that animal to reach physiological maturity. So, as we shift the mature body size, we then increase the amount of lean carcass mass that can be deposited and then fat is what determines when the animal is finished. Steroid implants have no effect on fat deposition, whether you’re talking about back fat or inter muscular fat. Which seems a little bit counter intuitive because we know that when we use steroid implants, we will decrease the amount of fat within the muscle, right, decrease U.S. quality grade. When we decrease U.S. quality grade, we are decreasing the ratio of fat within that muscle between the 12th and 13th rib in that rib eye. So really the fat stays the same, but because we use the steroid implant we increase the amount of muscle mass, our quality grade goes down. Back fat is not affected, so the big thing is on steroid implants, increased average daily gain, improved feed efficiency, decreased quality grade, because we have increased muscling and they have no effect on fat. I think it’s something that a lot of producers try to understand and so we counter balance that when I use a steroid implant strategy with a producer, the first thing I want to ask you is- what is your goal? And if it is- I don’t care about performance, I don’t care about feed efficiency, I just want to produce the best quality carcass I can then I say- don’t implant. If you say that I don’t care about carcass quality and all I want is improved feed efficiency I want the best average daily gain I can, then we’re gonna use high potency implants to get this done. There are three types of implants we use, low potency, medium potency and high potency. When we look at the low potency implants, these are the Revalor G, the Synovex C the calf type, Ralgro. Those are the calf types steroid implants. Those are the ones we use on suckling calves. Then we have the intermediate class, the intermediate potency, medium potency implants. These would be like you Synovax IS, your Revalor IS, I’m sorry, your Synovax Choice, your Revalor IS, Revalor IH. Those are the intermediate types. And then the terminal implants are the final implant that we’re gonna utilize. And these are the implants that would Revalor S, Revalor XS, Synovex Plus and the component TES and those terminal implants as well. So, low, medium and high potency. When we come back we’re gonna ask you what your goals are, we’re gonna tell you how to implant those cattle and we’re gonna wrap up this show. Thanks for watching Doc Talk. Having improved cost of gain. This is a sustainability and profitable industry. And then if I say, hey what’s your goal and you tell me, I want the best possible gain and I don’t care about carcass quality, which is decreased quality grade, then I am gonna say we’re gonna use two terminal implants on a rival, when… or not at the same time, but we’re gonna use maximum steroid implant efficacy throughout the feeding period. But generally what we want in the beef industry, is we want our cake and to eat it too. We want improved feed efficiency improved average daily gain, and we want a good carcass. So, when we think about that we’re gonna use an intermediate… I break down first of all, what’s the end weight of these animals? So, if it’s steers and they weigh 750 pounds or less, if they’re…then I’m gonna use two steroid implants. If they have weigh 750 pounds or more, then I’m just gonna give ’em a terminal implant on arrival. So, what I will do is this. Let’s say we have a group of steers come in at 650 pounds I want to give those animals a Revalor IS or a Synovax Choice, or some sort of implant that’s the intermediate type implant. And then at 100 days prior to slaughter, I want to come back in and give those animals, re-implant them with a terminal implant which would be your Synovax Plus, your Component TES, your Revalor S. Some of those types of terminal type implants, 100 days prior to slaughter. This will give us maximum performance and it doesn’t affect quality grade. On heifers we just slide that number back. Instead of 750 being my break, it’s 650 pounds. And again, anything under 650 is gonna get two implants. Anything over 650, 650 or above, they’re gonna get the one terminal implant, Revalor S, Synovax Plus, Component TES, at the time of arrival. So, breaking it down by incoming weight, give the initial implant the terminal implant then is 100 days prior to slaughter. Those are the general rules of thumb for implant strategies that we use to simplify our implant strategy. As far as implant stacking or implants in the grower phase, if I have cattle on the stocker, I am gonna use an intermediate implant and I’m gonna make sure that I tell the cattle feeder when I sent those animals at 750 or 800 pounds coming off grass what implant they had prior to, and that way they’ll just give then a terminal implant. Work with your veterinarian. Work with your nutritionist and come up with a steroid implant strategy that’s just right for you. Thanks for watching Doc Talk today. I hope you enjoyed the show. I hope you learned something about steroid implant implants. It’ something I have a passion about and make sure you work with your local practitioner. If you want to know more about what I do here at Kansas State University, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Thanks for watching Doc Talk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson from Kansas State University. And I’ll see you down the road.

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