Feeding a high-energy finishing diet upon arrival to high-risk feedlot calves: effects on health, performance, ruminal pH, rumination, serum metabolites, and carcass traits

Crawford, D.M.; Richeson, J.T.; Perkins, T.L.; Samuelson, K.L.

Journal of Animal Science 100(9)


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3163
PMID: 35639878
Accession: 079986900

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This study evaluated the impacts of feeding a high energy finishing diet during both the receiving and finishing period compared to a lower energy receiving diet with adaptation to the finishing diet on health, performance, serum chemistry, ruminal pH, rumination, and carcass characteristics of high-risk feedlot cattle. Five truck-load blocks of steers (n = 101) and bulls (n = 299) were used in a generalized complete block design and randomly assigned to receive: 1) finishing diet for the entire feeding period (FIN) or 2) receiving diet for the first 56 d, followed by transition to the finishing diet (REC). All cattle were fed ad libitum and consumed the same diet by d 74. A subset of cattle (n = 48) were randomly selected to quantify ruminal pH, temperature, and rumination time. Ultrasound images were collected on d 0, 74, and 146 to determine fat thickness over the 12 th rib and rump, and carcass characteristics were determined after slaughter. Cattle fed FIN had less (P < 0.01) dry matter intake (DMI) from d 0 to 74, but DMI did not differ (P = 0.80) after d 74. From d 0 to final, DMI was 0.26 kg less for FIN compared to REC (P = 0.01). However, calculated metabolizable energy intake was not different from d 0 to 74 (P = 0.19), d 74 to final (P = 0.80), or overall (P = 0.78). Body weight (BW) on d 74 was greater (P < 0.01) and final BW tended to be greater (P = 0.10) for FIN compared to REC. Cattle consuming FIN had greater (P < 0.01) average daily gain and increased (P < 0.01) gain:feed from d 0 to 74. There were no differences (P ≥ 0.31) in health outcomes. On d 74, FIN had greater (P = 0.04) fat thickness over the rump and rib, but did not differ (P ≥ 0.52) at d 146. Carcasses of FIN had greater (P = 0.04) hot carcass weight with no difference (P ≥ 0.11) in ribeye area, 12 th rib fat thickness, yield grade, or quality grade. There was no difference (P = 0.18) in liver abscess rate. There was a diet × day interaction for blood urea nitrogen (P = 0.02) such that concentration decreased from d 0 to d 28 in both treatments, but was less on d 28 for FIN. Ruminal pH was greater on d 2 and 61 and rumination time was less from d 0 to 28 for FIN (diet × day interaction; P < 0.01). Overall, these results suggest that providing a finishing diet fed ad libitum to high-risk calves upon arrival may be a viable alternative to a lower energy receiving diet.