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Posted: 06/01/2023
Feedlot of beef cattle

Navigating the Recent Labeling Change for Beef Cattle Implants: What Producers Need to Know

You already know about the OTC to Rx changes starting this month, but did you know the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also announced changes with beef cattle implants? Unlike the change in prescription requirements for antibiotics, the implant changes won’t affect producers’ ability to buy products directly from PBS Animal Health. But there are a few key updates you’ll want to be aware of. We break it all down for you here with an explanation of the changes, the kinds of implants that exist and available purchasing options.


Changes with Reimplantation

Steroid-based implants have been used in beef cattle production for over 5 decades. According to Feedlot Magazine, implants improve average daily gain (ADG) and feed efficiency (FE) as cattle that are implanted have a 10 to 15% increase in ADG when compared with cattle that are not implanted and an 8 to 12% increase in FE. The upcoming changes won’t undermine this value, but they are important to understand.

After June 2023, the FDA says only implants that are expressly labeled for reimplantation will be able to be placed in cattle more than once per production phase. Producers who wish to implant in different production phases can still do so, and cattle may also receive multiple implants in one production phase, but those implants must be specifically labeled for reimplantation within that production phase.


What are the Different Types of Cattle Implants?

Think of cattle implants in terms of three categories. While some implant labels specifically restrict implantation and others green-light it, there’s a good number of implants between these two ends of the spectrum that carry no label claims regarding reimplantation at all. The FDA’s change eliminates the guessing game and declares that only those products with instructions for reimplantation can be used again in the same production phase.

In other words, animals might receive implants as a calf, as a steer/heifer on pasture, and while fed for slaughter. But they can’t receive a repeat implant in one of these three phases unless that product is specifically labeled for reimplantation. There’s also a new phase for growing beef steers and heifers in a dry lot, though no implants are approved for use in this phase.

Depending on the product cattle implants may contain estrogens, androgens or progestins. These compounds replicate the natural hormones estrogen and testosterone at safe levels while promoting growth. Many national and international organizations have reiterated the safety of implants for beef production, but proper labeling and use directed by labels further increases that safety.



What are the Different Types of Cattle Implants?

Think of cattle implants in terms of three categories. While some implant labels specifically restrict implantation and others green-light it, there’s a good number of implants between these two ends of the spectrum that carry no label claims regarding reimplantation at all. The FDA’s change eliminates the guessing game and declares that only those products with instructions for reimplantation can be used again in the same production phase.

In other words, animals might receive implants as a calf, as a steer/heifer on pasture, and while fed for slaughter. But they can’t receive a repeat implant in one of these three phases unless that product is specifically labeled for reimplantation. There’s also a new phase for growing beef steers and heifers in a dry lot, though no implants are approved for use in this phase.

Depending on the product cattle implants may contain estrogens, androgens or progestins. These compounds replicate the natural hormones estrogen and testosterone at safe levels while promoting growth. Many national and international organizations have reiterated the safety of implants for beef production, but proper labeling and use directed by labels further increases that safety.


Implant Purchasing Options

We want to reassure producers that you can still buy implants as you did before these changes, and you’ll find many products available on our website. We also created a Cattle Implants Chart for quick and easy product comparison, so feel free to reference that as much as you like.

Best-Selling Cattle Implants

Whether you’re looking for a new implant product, or want to revisit some of the top brands, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few of the bestsellers according to PBS Animal Health customers just like you.

  • Ralgro Cattle Implants can increase weaning weight by as much as 20-35 pounds in calves, and it’s also effective for heifers and steers. Using a 24-dose cartridge of Ralgro is like selling an extra calf!
  • Encore Implants for Cattle are ideal for extended grazing periods, and one dose lasts the entire feeding period (up to 400 days).
  • Synovex S Implants for Steers offer additional improvement in rate of weight gain in 400+ pound steers fed in confinement for slaughter.
  • Synovex H Implants for Heifers can increase the rate of weight gain and improve feed efficiency for heifers weighing 400 pounds or more.
  • Compudose Implants for Cattle deliver an increased rate of weight gain in suckling and pastured growing steers for 170-200 days.
As a reminder, these products serve different production phases. Please read labels carefully, and don’t forget to purchase the implant gun that matches the brand of implants you choose.


Get Options and Insights from PBS Animal Health

Even when industry changes prompt producer questions, PBS Animal Health is here to help get you the answers you need … and the products you want. Make the most of your operation with cattle implants, implant guns and other items all from one trusted source – we’re here to serve you!


DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article, and all other articles by pbsanimalhealth is for informational purposes only. This article may have been prepared from multiple sources at the time it was written and is not intended to be used as a sole source of information in making any purchase or specific product use decision. We recommend you always consult with your attending veterinarian to properly diagnose any health-related condition before initiating any prevention or treatment program. Always read and follow each product’s current label instructions and Warnings before use.



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