How to Properly Implant Cattle

FBN Network

Jan 26, 2024

Cattle implants have revolutionized the beef industry, offering a safe and effective method to enhance performance and profitability in cattle operations. With a high return on investment (ROI), enhanced growth rates and improved feed efficiency, implants have become an indispensable tool for producers. 

To properly implant cattle, producers need to understand the:

  • Economic benefits of using implants 

  • Equipment needed

  • Proper administration techniques

  • Ways in which implants benefit cattle

What Are Implants? 

Implants are small hormone pellets that are placed under the skin of the cattle’s ear. The hormones in the implant help to increase weight gain and improve feed efficiency in cattle.

How to Properly Implant Cattle

This short video will give you a brief overview of how to properly implant cattle.

Economic Benefits of Cattle Implants

Implementing an implant program can yield an impressive ROI for beef producers. On average, a producer can expect around a 20 to 1 ROI1, making it a highly cost-effective strategy. Implants enable cattle to convert feed into weight gain more efficiently, resulting in improved profitability.

[READ MORE: Why Cattle Implants Pay]

What Equipment is Needed?

To properly implant cattle, you’ll need the following equipment:


The better the restraint, the easier it is to insert the implant.

Implant Gun

A specialized device used to administer the implant, the implant gun will either use a self retracting needle or pull out to lay the implant in. Be familiar with your device and be sure to keep it clean using Chlorhexidine 2%. 

Sponge or Roller

Use the sponge or roller to remove debris from the needle, ensuring a clean insertion. Slide the needle through the sponge or roller after every implant.


Use a tray to hold the disinfectant and sponges/roller. 


Have a brush available nearby to clean dirty ears before implantation.

Having these tools readily available will facilitate a smooth and efficient implantation process.

Administration Techniques

Administering the cattle implant properly is crucial for success. Follow these guidelines for an accurate and safe placement: 

Implant Site Selection

Choose a clean and unobstructed area of the ear for implant placement. The primary site is the middle third on the back side of the ear, staying one inch away from any tag hole or defect. The secondary site is the top shelf of the ear, avoiding arteries and veins.


Dip the implant needle into the chlorhexidine disinfectant to ensure sterilization and prevent infection. FBN Direct® carries a number of different needles and other supplies to help maintain a sterile environment. 


Use a sponge or roller to remove debris from the needle, maintaining a clear pathway for implant insertion.


Gently insert the implant needle into the selected site, applying steady pressure until it reaches the desired depth. Depress the implant gun plunger slowly to release the implant substance.

Needle Withdrawal

Carefully withdraw the needle, ensuring it remains sterile by avoiding contact with any surfaces. Dispose of used needles safely and responsibly.

Benefits of Using Cattle Implants

Implants can increase weight gain by up to 20%, improve feed efficiency and reduce the amount of feed needed to produce a pound of beef. 

Implants can also help to improve carcass quality by increasing the amount of lean meat and reducing the amount of fat. Cattle generally respond well to implants, with no negative effects on health or behavior. However, it is important to follow label directions, handle and administer implants with care to ensure operator safety and animal well-being, and avoid using implants with pregnant cows or calves under three months of age.

Shop For Implants on FBN Direct

Once you’re confident in your ability to administer implants, FBN Direct has a number of implants to help you get started along with vaccines, antibiotics and other supplies. With seamless online ordering and most deliveries made within three days or less, FBN Direct has the products you need for your livestock operation.



The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your animals. 

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The purpose of the following material is to promote awareness of risk management concepts and to highlight risk management products, features, benefits and availability. This presentation does not provide full details of policy provisions or approved procedures. Producers should consult with a local agent for specific details and program requirements.

FBN Network

Jan 26, 2024

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