The influence of supplemental zinc and dietary fiber concentration on mineral retention of beef steers

Remy N. Carmichael, Olivia N. Genther-Schroeder, Erin L. Deters, Trey D. Jackson, Elizabeth M. Messersmith, Katherine R. VanValin, Stephanie L. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The objective was to determine if zinc (Zn) retention improved with supplemental Zn above recommended concentrations with increasing dietary fiber concentration. Angus steers (n = 32; 309 ± 4.2 kg body weight [BW]) with GeneMax gain scores of 3, 4, or 5 were utilized in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement (8 steers per treatment). Steers were stagger started (four blocks of eight steers) and stratified by BW within growing diets to one of two Zn strategies (ZNTRT), no supplemental Zn (analyzed 36 mg Zn/kg dry matter [DM]; CON) or supranutritional Zn (CON + 60 mg Zn/kg DM as ZnSO4 + 60 mg Zn/kg DM as Zn–amino acid complex; SUPZN). Dietary fiber strategies (FIBER) were formulated to target two fiber supplementation rates representing high fiber (HF; ~35% neutral detergent fiber [NDF]) or low fiber (LF; ~25% NDF). Within block, steers received HF for 60 d; then pens were randomly assigned to LF or HF for finishing. Steers fed LF were transitioned for 15 d; on day 75, steers were moved to metabolism crates and adapted for 10 d, followed by 5 d of total fecal and urine collection. Retention of Zn, Mn, Fe, Cu, and N were calculated. The model for analysis of metabolism data included the fixed effects of ZNTRT, FIBER, block, and the interaction of ZNTRT × FIBER, with the three-way interaction of ZNTRT × FIBER × block as random. Steer was the experimental unit (n = 8 per treatment combination). Zinc did not affect initial 60-d performance (P ≥ 0.62). DM and organic matter digestibility were lesser (P = 0.02) and N digestibility tended to be lesser (P = 0.07) in CON vs. SUPZN. Intake and digestibility of NDF and acid detergent fiber were greater (P ≤ 0.01) in HF vs. LF. Digestibility and retention of N as a percentage of intake were greater (P ≤ 0.04) whereas N retention as grams per day tended to be greater in HF vs. LF (P = 0.06). Apparent absorption of Zn tended to be greater (P = 0.06) in CON vs. SUPZN. A ZNTRT × FIBER effect was identified for Zn retention (milligrams per day; P = 0.01) where within SUPZN Zn retention was greater in HF vs. LF (P < 0.01). Apparent absorption and retention of Zn were greater (% of intake; P ≤ 0.02) in HF vs. LF. Apparent absorption of Cu, Fe, and Mn was unaffected by ZNTRT or FIBER (P ≥ 0.24). Increasing dietary Zn increased Zn retained regardless of changes in coefficient of absorption. In addition, dietary fiber content may impact trace mineral and N metabolism by steers, potentially due to increased release of these nutrients from feed as fiber digestibility increases. It appears dietary Zn concentrations and diet composition influence trace mineral absorption in beef steers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-795
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 26 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science.


  • Beef cattle
  • Fiber
  • Nitrogen
  • Trace mineral
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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