Forty-eight Sussex male calves were allotted at birth to the following three treatments: (i) castrated within 24 h after birth with elastrator rings and (ii) and (iii) castrated at 3 and 6 months using a burdizzo. Bodymass was maintained through winter using supplementary Eragrostis curvula hay and during summer the animals had free access to veld. Following a finishing period on a moderate level of nutrition, half the animals from each group was slaughtered either at 2 or at 3 years of age. There was a linear decrease in height at withers as the age at castration was delayed. There was no significant difference in final live bodymass, carcassmass, slaughter percentage, marbling, and fat thickness on the eye muscle between the three castrated groups. However, it was obvious that the 3·month-old castrates had the poorest performance throughout the trial. Possible reasons for the poor performance of the 3-month castrates are discussed. An economic analysis revealed that R4,3 million more could be generated should all the producers either castrate their bull calves soon after birth or at 6 months of age.