Endpoint Management with Optaflexx

May 16, 2022

By Kent Feeds, reprinted with permission.

If I gave you $45 every time you handed me $15, would you do it? As we start to think about marketing these spring born calves, don’t leave money on the table! Optaflexx (Ractopamine) is a beta-agonist marketed by Elanco Animal Health and has been proven safe for humans, animals and the environment, while putting more money in the feeder’s pocket.

Optaflexx is a beta-1 agonist that acts on the beta-1 receptors on the cell membrane of the muscle and fat tissue. When activated, the beta-1 receptors increase protein synthesis. Therefore, it increases muscle tissue with minimal impact on the breakdown of older muscle protein and has little, if any, effect on fat breakdown or synthesis. Consequently, it has minimal impact on the tenderness and quality of meat.

Optaflexx is fed for the last 28 – 42 days of the feeding period and has a zero day withdrawal. Therefore, feeding Optaflexx offers some flexibility. If you are sorting on a pen, I would target the majority for 28-35 days. Never feed beyond 42 days, as not only is it off label, but cost may start to exceed return. Based on current economics and research, Elanco recommends feeding Optaflexx at 300 mg/hd/d.

With current ration and cattle prices, targeting 28 days yields the greatest return. As cattle prices climb, we see more return to feeding it longer. The greatest advantage comes when marketing steers on a carcass basis, but all return a profit. If Optaflexx costs roughly $0.55/hd/d to feed at the 300 mg/hd/d level and live cattle are at $1.42/lb, profit over 28 days would be $16.55 and $9.88 for steers and heifers, respectively. If we consider dressed cattle at $2.25/lb, we would expect a profit of $30.28 for steers and $16.33 for heifers. Work with Smith Fertilizer & Grain to implement Optaflexx into your endpoint management strategy.