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Improved Finishing Performance
with Optaflexx® is Beneficial to Producers, Packers, and Consumers





Improves Gain While Maintaining Taste and Tenderness
The end goal of producing beef is to capture the protein portion of the dinner plate  -  the highest value in every meal. Consumers demand tender, juicy steaks and, as a result, production practices are now managed to bring not only the greatest value to beef operations, but also to retain value through the meat industry by delivering additional yield of closely trimmed boneless retail cuts while maintaining eating quality. At the same time, beef production management practices must meet strict government food safety requirements, while retaining the flavor and quality that consumers are willing to pay for at the meat case.

As the beef industry redefines itself to better meet consumer demands, a new technology has emerged, which greatly enhances this effort by improving production outcomes for all segments of the industry  -  producer, packer, and consumer. Optaflexx®* (ractopamine hydrochloride) is the first cattle feed additive proven to, when fed during the last 28 to 42 days of the finishing period, increase live weight gain, improve feed efficiency, and increase yield without affecting beef's natural taste, tenderness, and juiciness. Optaflexx increases lean muscle mass during the final phase of the finishing period by directing nutrients to increase protein synthesis with minimal effects on fat deposition (Figure 1).



Optaflexx is the first cattle product approved by the FDA that has been evaluated for meat and eating quality. The FDA has concluded that no differences in meat quality attributes of taste, tenderness, and juiciness would be detected by consumers when consuming beef from cattle fed Optaflexx. The firmness and texture of beef are also not impacted by Optaflexx usage.

Proven Performance
Optaflexx increases gain, which means more beef, while maintaining desired attributes of high-quality beef. The following performance benefits were obtained from steers fed Optaflexx at 200 mg/head/day for 28 days:

  • Increased live weight gain (17 lb)

  • Increased yield (14 lb)

  • Improved feed efficiency (16%)

Optaflexx is approved to be fed during the last 28 to 42 days of the finishing period. Table 1 and Figure 2 illustrate performance expectations when Optaflexx (200 mg/head/day) is fed to steers. Based on Elanco's trial results, it is recommended that Optaflexx be fed at 200 mg/head/day for 28 days, which gives producers a 14-day window to market cattle and remain within the FDA-approved 42-day maximum feeding period. Optaflexx is also approved for use in heifers. Regardless of how cattle are marketed (live, hot carcass, or grid basis), Optaflexx's benefits carry through the food chain.

Table 1
                  Performance Expectations for Steers Fed Optaflexx for 28 Days*


Optaflexx (mg/hd/d)

 Feed Intake

 Live Weight

Hot Carcass Weight

Dressing Percent


No change

+10 lb

+6 lb

No change


No change

+17 lb

+14 lb



No change

+21 lb

+18 lb



Optaflexx (mg/hd/d)


Rib Eye Area

Yield Grade


No change

+0.3 sq in

No change


No change

+0.4 sq in



No change

+0.5 sq in


*Data based upon a summary of Elanco Animal Health Core Data Set.

Figure 2

Additive Combination
The FDA has approved Optaflexx to be fed to beef cattle in combination with two other commonly used feed ingredients, Rumensin®* and Tylan®*. "With the combination approval of Optaflexx with Rumensin and Tylan, cattle feeders can now utilize all three ingredients within a ration and benefit from each product's positive effects," notes Andy Crook, Marketing Manager for Elanco Animal Health. "In addition to the advantages Optaflexx offers in beef cattle, Rumensin prevents and controls coccidiosis, while Tylan reduces the incidence of profit-limiting liver abscesses."

Maximize Return on Investment
Increased net return per head projected by feeding cattle Optaflexx during the final finishing period is shown in Tables 2 and 3.

Table 2
         Projected Net Return ($/head) for Steers Selling on a Hot Carcass Weight Basis*


Market Price ($/cwt)
























*Assumes 28-day Optaflexx feeding period and performance as noted in Table 1.
Net return per head = gross value of increased weight minus the retail price of Optaflexx.

Table 3
Projected Net Return ($/head) for Steers Selling on a Live Weight Basis*


Market Price ($/cwt)
























                       *Assumes 28-day Optaflexx feeding period and performance as noted in Table 1.
                        Net return per head = gross value of increased weight minus the retail price of Optaflexx.

Additional Benefits
All rations fed during Elanco's Optaflexx research trials were formulated with nutrient profiles typical of today's commercial cattle finishing rations. Producers don't have to make nutrient adjustments to cattle diets when using Optaflexx. Delivering Optaflexx via the feed makes it convenient and easy to use, and cattle are not subjected to handling stress. A key advantage is no withdrawal is required before marketing. For more information on Optaflexx, call Elanco customer service at 1-800-428-4441 or visit

* Optaflexx® is a trademark for Elanco's brand of ractopamine hydrochloride. Rumensin® is a trademark for Elanco's brand of monensin sodium. Tylan® is a trademark for Elanco's brand of tylosin. ? 2004 Elanco Animal Health




ADM Animal Nutrition, a division of Archer Daniels Midland Company