Effect of distal splitting the scrotum when banding feedlot bulls on performance outcomes and healing time
Castration of bulls using high tension banding techniques is a common practice in commercial feedlots. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether splitting the scrotum at time of banding would impact performance and healing times in feedlot bulls. A total of 32 bulls from a single breeding operation were blocked by initial body weight and then randomly assigned to intact (n = 16) or split (n = 16) treatment groups. A Newberry knife was used to make a 3-inch (7.6 cm) side-to-side incision through the distal scrotum immediately after banding bulls in the split treatment group. Bulls in the intact group were banded, but no incision was made in the scrotum. Individual weights were collected on days 14, 28, and 56, and the scrotum was visually assessed at each weigh point. More (37.5%) scrotums were absent on day 28 (P=0.03), and ADG was improved at day 56 (P=0.06) in the split treatment group compared to intact treatment group. Follow up studies evaluating the inflammatory response, health, and performance outcomes are warranted to further evaluate the process of splitting the scrotum at the time of band castration.