Research Proven to Increase Fat-Free Lean Growth by 34%



We are sure by now you have heard about Paylean™. If not, it is time that you learn what your competition is feeding?  Paylean™ is the most talked about feed additive on the show circuit since L-Carnitine and Chromium Picolinate were introduced.  It is also one of the most misunderstood additives as well.  We hope the following information helps answer some of your questions on how and why Paylean™ increases Fat Free Lean Growth by 34%.


If you have additional questions about Paylean™ please give us a call at 806-481-2000 or email us at


What is Paylean™?

Paylean™ is a feed additive containing Ractopamine Hydrochloride. In the scientific world it is classified as a member of a class of compounds called Phenethanolamines or Beta-Agonists. It is also referred to as a repartitioning agent in that it takes nutrients away from fat deposition and puts or directs them toward lean tissue (muscle) accretion. Contrary to popular belief it is not a steroid, hormone, or antibiotic.


Does Paylean™ have any feeding restrictions?

We are sure you have heard of many different feeding restrictions with Paylean™. Just to set the story straight here they are directly from Elanco, the company that produces Paylean™:


  • Paylean™ can be fed from 4.5 to 18 grams/ton of complete feed
  • Paylean™ is labeled for use in pigs weighing from 150 to 240 lb
  • Paylean™ does not require a withdrawal prior to slaughter
  • Paylean™ should be fed in a diet containing at least 16% crude protein.
  • Elanco recommends feeding Paylean™ during the last six weeks (last 90 lb of gain) prior to slaughter
  • Currently, no feed grade medications are approved to be fed in combination with Paylean™. However, injectable or water soluble antibiotics may be administered to pigs being fed Paylean™.
  • Currently, Paylean™ is not cleared for use in breeding animals. In tests, gilts fed Paylean™ during the finishing period only, had similar results in a subsequent breeding, gestation, and lactation period as controls.


How does Paylean™ work in the animal’s body?

Sometimes people say a picture is worth a thousand words. Probably the best way to describe how Paylean™ works is shown in the picture below. Simply put, Phenethanolamines like Paylean™ speed up the rate fat is released or burned (from adipose or fat cells) and decrease the rate of fat deposited. What this does is makes nutrients more available to the nutrient pool which can be used for protein synthesis and muscle growth. Thus, pigs fed Paylean™ become heavier muscled and leaner at the same time.

                                               Taken from Anderson et al. (1991).

What are the typical responses we can expect by using Paylean™?

One thing is clear, Paylean™ works! Scientific studies have shown Paylean™ increases lean muscle and average daily gain, decreases the fat content of carcasses and improves feed efficiency. In addition, since Paylean™ makes pigs more efficient, pigs don’t consume as much feed. Typical results of feeding Paylean™ are shown below:


Summary of Paylean™ response.*


Percent Improvement

Increased fat-free lean growth


Increased protein accretion


Decreased feed intake


Increased Average daily gain


Improved F/G


Reduced backfat thickness


Increased dressing percentage


Values taken from Schinckel and Richert, 2000. *18.0 g/ton level for the last 90 lbs of live weight gain.


At what level and when is the best time to feed Paylean™?

If you don’t remember anything else from this page, please remember the following information. How one feeds Paylean™ and at what level is a decision that should not be taken lightly.  How much Paylean™ one offers a pig will depend upon the amount of muscle a pig already possesses.  Dose response research shows pigs offered 4.5 gram/ton have close to 70-80% of the response in loin eye area and up to 50% of the response in backfat depth compared to pigs fed the 18 g/ton level.  Pigs fed at 9.0 grams/ton level performed intermediate to pigs fed at 4.5 and 18 grams/ton (Schinckel and Richert 2000). If you already have an extremely muscled show pig, you might want to consider feeding the 4.5 gram/ton rate initially.  If one feeds the 18 grams/ton rate you may create such a heavy muscled pig that he will appear "freakish" to a judge.  You may create what some judges refer to as "this pig having too much muscle in relation to his frame size". If you have a heavy muscled pig and can only purchase complete feed with 18g/ton of Paylean™ you might want to reconsider your thinking.  Don’t worry, later we have a solution for both the heavy and light muscled pigs.



Ractopamine Level, g/ton







ADG, lbs/day





10th rib fat depth, in.





Loin Eye Area, sq. in.





Walkins et al., 1988, 6 trials, 888 pigs.

Another important point to remember is the lean growth response to Paylean™ is not constant over the entire 90 lb gain feeding period. The response increases, reaches a plateau, and then declines with the maximum response being achieved at 22-26 lbs of live weight gain or approximately 9-24 days on Paylean™ at the 18 grams/ton (Williams et al., 1994).

As you can see, pigs fed increasing levels of Paylean™ have a significant increase in lean growth rates and a general reduction in feed intake. These facts alone suggest pigs receiving Paylean™ will require more nutrients to optimize muscle growth. Next, let’s discuss what these key nutrients are.

Do you need to feed a higher level of crude protein and amino acids when feeding Paylean™?

Yes, Paylean™ must be fed in a diet with a minimal of 16% crude protein.  One of the reasons the FDA implemented this requirement is based upon recent research data showing Ractopamine does not work as effectively when an animal is fed a standard finishing ration (below 16% crude protein).  This is demonstrated in research by Adeola and Young, 1989.  They fed finishing pigs diets with either 13 or 17% crude protein and 0 or 18 grams/ton ractopamine (see table below).  Feeding ractopamine depressed growth and feed efficiency in pigs fed 13% protein diets, but improved growth and feed efficiency in those fed 17% crude protein.


Interaction of Paylean™ and protein content*.

Protein, %





Paylean™, 18 grams/ton





ADG, lb










*Adeola and Young, 1989.

Thus, to obtain the maximum protein deposition rates from Paylean™, pigs must be fed diets with protein (amino acid) concentrations higher than those presently recommended for finisher pigs during the last 90 lbs of weight gain. Later we will show you how to obtain these important amino acids for muscle growth.

Does the pig’s Lysine requirement increase?

Yes, Elanco recommends the total dietary lysine levels be increased by up to 25%.  This is dependent upon which phase of the finishing phase your animals are in and which level of Paylean™ you are feeding.


Does Paylean™ influence the energy needs of a pig?

We know that muscle development requires the proper amounts and balance of amino acids but as equally important requires adequate energy. Pigs depositing large amounts of muscle require a high level of energy in the diet. Therefore, the expectation might be that when pigs are treated with Paylean™, they would require increased energy to support the increase in muscle development. However, current data are somewhat inconclusive.


Does Paylean™ influence the vitamin requirements of a pig?

Based on current available data we cannot arrive at a clear answer. However, research in lean growth genotype pigs has shown better responses with higher levels of vitamin supplementation. Research in chickens using a compound similar to Ractopamine has demonstrated that added thiamin to diets helps to increase the response of phenethanolamines (Hamano et al., 1999).


Does Paylean™ influence the mineral requirements of a pig?

There is currently no data that address the calcium and phosphorus requirement of pigs offered Paylean™. However, ractopamine has been reported to lower the bone content of pigs, expressed as an individual bone weight and accretion rate per day. (Bark, 1990).


Efficacy of ractopamine in pigs of low and high genetic capacity for lean growth.

Lean growth genotype:




Ractopamine, g/ton:





Bone, kilograms





Bone, grams/day





Bark, 1990. Study involved 72 pigs from 140 to 230 lbs bodyweight.Effect of ractopamine (P<.04) for bone weights and (P<.11) for the accretion rate of bone (gram/day).

Based upon these data one might expect that pigs fed Paylean™ may have an increased requirement for calcium and phosphorus.

Are you Confused?

As you can see, Paylean™ is a technically advanced product. If all of this confuses or scares you, don’t worry, we have a solution. We pride ourselves in putting together supplement products that make feeding advanced technologies like Paylean™ easy, convenient, and cost effective.


We hope we have contributed to your knowledge of feeding Paylean™ to your livestock project. One thing is clear, Paylean™ should be viewed as a management tool to enhance the genetic potential of your animal. It is not a so-called "magic pill" and will never replace good genetics or proper management.  If you have additional questions about Paylean™ please give us a call at 806-481-2000 or email us at


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