Fat source and calcium level effects on finishing steer performance, digestion, and metabolism.

B. J. Bock, D. L. Harmon, R. T. Brandt, J. E. Schneider

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76 Scopus citations


A 111-d finishing study evaluated animal growth and carcass characteristics using 138 steers (366 kg) in a randomized complete block design with a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement of treatments. The dietary treatments consisted of no supplemental fat or 3.5% tallow or soybean oil soapstock (SS) fed with .6% and .9% dietary Ca. Fat increased DMI (P less than .05) but interacted with Ca level (P less than .05) for gain/feed and ADG. All diets containing fat or .9% Ca were converted more efficiently to gain than the .6% Ca, no supplemental fat diet (P less than .05). The .9% Ca interacted with fat source to decrease gain (P less than .05) and tended to decrease efficiency in the tallow diet but improved efficiency (P less than .05) and tended to improve gain in the no-fat diet. In the SS diet, .9% Ca had no effect on ADG, DMI, or efficiency of gain. Fat addition increased backfat (P less than .10) and interacted with Ca on hot carcass weight, final weight, and dressing percentage (P less than .05). Feeding fat increased the proportion of 18:0 (P less than .02) and decreased the proportion of 16:1 fatty acids (P less than .06) in intermuscular fat. A replicated 3 x 3 Latin square design, using six Holstein steers (349 kg) fed three diets, with no supplemental fat or 3.5% SS or tallow with 1.0% Ca, was used to explore the effects of fat sources when fed with high Ca on digestion and metabolism. Ruminal fluid pH was higher (P less than .10) when steers were fed fat. Adding fat did not affect (P greater than .10) duodenal or ileal pH, VFA proportions or total concentration, or ruminal liquid volume or flow rate. Liquid retention time was shorter and liquid rate of passage was higher (P less than .05) with dietary fat addition. Adding fat did not affect site or extent of starch or DM digestion. There was net synthesis of 16:0, 18:0, and 18:1 fatty acids in the rumen. When steers were fed tallow, synthesis of 16:0 and 18:0 fatty acids in the rumen was lower (P less than .10) than when steers were fed SS. Feeding fat tended to decrease (P = .11) bacterial N flowing at the duodenum but did not affect nonbacterial N or total N. Fat addition seems to affect ruminal kinetics, and the effects may vary with fat source, particularly relative to fatty acid synthesis and digestion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2211-2224
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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