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Angus and Angus x Limousin steers from one ranch were used to evaluate the effect of castration time and method on production and carcass traits. At 2 mo of age, calves were randomly assigned to one of two treatments (TRT); surgical castration at 2 mo age (SC) or castrated at 9 mo age (828 lb) by banding (BAND). Calves assigned to SC received a Synovex-C implant at castration. All calves were weaned at 5 mo of age with no difference in weaning weight. Calves were blocked into heavy and light groups with a 45 Mcal NEG/lb diet fed for 91 d (heavy group) and 119 d (light group). A Magnum implant was administered to SC only, 29 d post weaning to steers. No differences were observed between treatments for BW, DMI, ADG, or F/G during backgrounding. At the time of banding, BW was 828 lb for both treatments, SC and BAND. During the 29 d post-banding period, BAND caused reduced (P < 0.05) ADG by 46% with a 47.8% change in F/G (15.7 vs 8.2) while DMI was unaffected. At the start of the finishing phase (30 d post-banding) a Revalor-S was administered to all steers. From this point until harvest, cumulative performance (117 d) did not differ between treatment for ADG, DMI, or F/G; however, an advantage in body weight was maintained at harvest for SC vs BAND (1297 vs 1272 lb; P < 0.05). Banded bulls tended to have less 12th rib fat and had lower Yield Grade. Quality Grade and Warner Bratzler Shear Force were not affected by treatment. These results indicate that similar performance can be achieved during the suckling and background phases between steers and bulls when an appropriate implant strategy is used on the steer calves. Banding as a method of castration reduced gain 29 d post-banding, resulting in surgically castrated calves at 2 mo of age maintaining a weight advantage throughout the finishing period.

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