Producer Question from 2010
Q: I am looking for some research on banding bull calves at birth vs. knife castration later on. How much does it affect growth? (January 9, 2010)
A: Oregon data suggest the ADG difference between male calves banded at birth and male calves left intact to be between 0.1 to 0.2 lb. South Dakota data suggest that if males calves are castrated early in life and implanted with a calf-hood implant that there will not be a difference in weaning weight compared to males calves left intact. This makes sense as you would expect between 0.15 to 0.20 lb ADG due to the implant in male castrated calves. Calves castrated at weaning have a reduced intake and ADG. Whether they regain all their weight back depends on how long they are kept post-castration.
Limited data would suggest that stress is less due to castration when the calf the less sexually mature. There is some stress if banded at birth, but much less stress compared to if they were banded at weaning or later.
Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE