Effects of two beta-adrenergic agonists on finishing performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality of feedlot steers

Avendaño-Reyes, L.; Torres-Rodríguez, V.; Meraz-Murillo, F.J.; Pérez-Linares, C.; Figueroa-Saavedra, F.; Robinson, P.H.

Journal of Animal Science 84(12): 3259-3265


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812
PMID: 17093218
DOI: 10.2527/jas.2006-173
Accession: 012967836

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The impact of using 2 beta-adrenergic agonists in feedlot cattle fed finishing diets was evaluated using 54 steers (45 crossbred Charolais and 9 Brangus) initially weighing 424 +/- 26.6 kg in a randomized complete block design with 3 treatments and 6 blocks (i.e., 18 pens with 3 steers per pen). Response variables were feedlot performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality. Treatments were 1) control (no supplement added); 2) zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH; 60 mg-steer (1)center dot d(-1)); and 3) ractopamine hydrochloride (RH; 300 mg center dot steer(-1)center dot d(-1)). The beta-agonists were added to the diets during the final 33 d of the experiment. The groups of steers fed ZH or RH improved (P < 0.01) ADG by 26 or 24%, respectively, compared with control steers. Steers supplemented with RH consumed less (P = 0.03) DM (8.37 kg) than control steers (8.51 kg), whereas intake was similar (P = 0.37) for ZH and control steers. Addition of either beta-agonist to the diet considerably improved (P < 0.01) the G:F (ZH, 0.253 and RH, 0.248 vs. control, 0.185). Hot carcass weight and carcass yield were enhanced (P < 0.05) with both beta-agonists. The LM area was increased (P = 0.026) by ZH (75.2 cm(2)), but that of RH (72.2 cm(2)) was similar (P = 0.132) to the control steers (66.8 cm(2)). Meat from the ZH- (P = 0.0007) and RH- (P = 0.0267) supplemented steers had greater shear force values than control steers (ZH = 5.11; RH = 4.83; control = 4.39 kg/cm(2)). Variables related to meat color indicated that both beta-agonists led to a similar redness of the LM area related to the control group. In general, feedlot performance was greatly enhanced by beta-adrenergic agonists, and meat tenderness from treated animals was classified as intermediate. Furthermore, meat color was not altered by beta-agonist supplementation.