Meta-analysis of the immunocastration technique (anti-GnRH) for male bovines in the finishing phase

Abstract: The objective of this work was to analyze the effects of immunocastration on the performance and carcass quality of steers in the finishing phase, compared with non-castration and surgical castration. Data from ten studies with records of 1,261 male bovines were analyzed. The studies included in the meta-analysis necessarily contained treatments with immunocastration specifically against the gonadotropin-releasing hormone. Each study was considered as a random effect in the statistical model used. The data were tested for homogeneity of variances and residue normality, and then subjected to the analysis of variance. Means were compared by Student’s t-test. Non-castrated steers showed greater daily weight gain, feed efficiency, slaughter and hot carcass weights, and loin eye area, besides lower fat thickness than surgically-castrated animals and the lowest a* and b* meat coloration values. Overall, immunocastrated steers were inferior to the non-castrated ones, but superior to those surgically-castrated. Immunocastrated steers present performance and carcass traits superior to those of surgically-castrated animals, but similar meat quality.