Implications of Castration on Cattle Performance Efficiency



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ABSTRACT Castration of male beef cattle is a common management practice in the United States. Recent anecdotal evidence suggests improved outcomes from a modified castration procedure where an incision is made in the scrotum immediately following application of a band to the scrotum. Thus, we compared the effect of various castration methods on performance using crossbred steers and bulls purchased from Producers Livestock Auction Company, in San Angelo, TX (n = 262; initial BW = 304 ± 47 kg). Calves were blocked by arrival date and stratified by body weight. (n = 7 total pens per treatment). Bulls were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 treatments: 1) band plus incision using Callicrate Bander (BAND+; n = 67); 2) band only (BAND; n = 67); 3) surgical castration (SURG; n = 66). Steers castrated prior to arrival at the feedlot served as a control: 4) Control (CON; n = 62). Cattle were weighed on d 0, 33, and 61. Dry matter intake, ADG, G:F were recorded and calculated over the 61 d period. Steers castrated upon arrival had lesser (P < 0.01) ADG from d 0 to 33 compared to the control group. From d 34 to d 61, ADG did not differ(P = 0.69) among. From d 0 to 61 all castration groups had lower ADG (P < 0.01) than control. Dry matter intake did not differ (P ≥ 0.21) among treatment groups d 0 to 33, 34 to 61, and 0 to 61. Gain to feed was greater for control from d 0 to 33 (P <0.01) and d 0 to 61 (P < 0.01) then cattle castrated upon arrival. From d 34 to 61 BAND cattle tended (P = 0.08) to have greater G:F than BAND+
and CON treatment. Under conditions of this experiment, modifying the band method of castration by making an incision in the scrotum after band placement did not affect performance of male beef cattle castrated upon feedlot arrival. Regardless of method used castration following feedlot arrival reduced growth performance of male beef calves.





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