Effects of winter growing program on visceral organ mass, composition, and oxygen consumption of beef steers during growing and finishing
McCurdy, M.P.; Krehbiel, C.R.; Horn, G.W.; Lancaster, P.A.; Wagner, J.J.
Journal of Animal Science 88(4): 1554-1563
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 20081075 DOI: 10.2527/jas.2009-2415
The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the effects of winter growing program on organ mass, composition, and oxygen consumption in beef steers. A total of 46 steers were used for the experiment. Four steers were randomly selected as an initial slaughter group. Remaining steers were randomly allotted to 1 of 4 treatment groups: 1) fed a high-concentrate diet for ad libitum intake (CF); 2) grazed on wheat pasture (WP); 3) fed a sorghum silage-based growing diet (SF); or 4) program fed a high-concentrate diet (PF). Steers in the WP, SF, and PF groups were managed to achieve approximately equal rates of BW gain during the growing phase. After the growing phase (112 d), steers in the WP, SF, and PF treatments were adapted to a high-concentrate diet for finishing. Steers from all treatments were slaughtered at a fat thickness of 1.27 cm as estimated by ultrasound. In addition, 6 steers from each treatment were randomly selected for slaughter at the end of the growing phase. Weights of all individual organs were measured and tissue samples of duodenum and liver collected. At the end of the growing phase, WP steers had greater (P < 0.05) small intestine, liver, and kidney mass than SF and PF steers. In contrast, mesenteric fat mass and total visceral fat content were greatest (P < 0.01) for PF, intermediate for SF, and least for WP steers. Mass of total viscera and total splanchnic tissues (TST) did not differ (P > 0.10) among treatments. At final slaughter, mass of mesenteric fat, total viscera, and TST were similar among treatments, but liver weights remained greatest (g/kg of empty BW; P < 0.01) for WP steers. There were no differences in oxygen consumption of duodenum or liver tissue on an equal weight basis (microL.min(-1.)g(-1)) at the end of either period. Growing program affected mass of components of the TST at the end of the growing phase, which contributed to differences in rate of splanchnic organ growth during finishing. We conclude that program feeding a high-concentrate diet during the growing phase may result in greater ADG and G:F during the subsequent finishing period compared with forage-based diets due to less accretion of visceral organ mass resulting in reduced maintenance energy requirements during finishing.