Two experiments examined the effects of a saccharin-based artificial sweetener (Sucram) on health, performance, and dietary preference of feedlot cattle. In Exp. 1, 200 steer calves (initial BW = 190.4 ± 1.47 kg) were fed a 65% concentrate diet supplemented with or without 200 mg of Sucram/kg (DM basis) during a 56-d receiving-growing period. Feeding Sucram did not affect overall (P = 0.19) DMI; however, from d 29 to 56, there was a trend (P = 0.10) for increased DMI with Sucram (5.71 vs. 6.02 kg/d, respectively). From d 0 to 28 and d 0 to 56, there were trends (P = 0.11 and 0.12, respectively) for increased ADG and for increased d-56 BW (P = 0.07) for calves fed Sucram. No differences were detected (P = 0.82) for receiving (REC) period morbidity. During the finishing (FIN) period, 180 steers from the REC period were assigned (9 pens/treatment in a 2 × 2 factorial design) to the following treatments: 1) control REC/control FIN; 2) control REC/Sucram FIN; 3) Sucram REC/control FIN; and 4) Sucram REC/Sucram FIN. Over the FIN period, ADG tended (P = 0.12) to be greater for Sucram; however, carcass-adjusted ADG did not differ among treatments. Daily DMI was affected by a REC × FIN interaction (P = 0.08), which was the result of greater DMI by cattle in the Sucram REC/Sucram FIN treatment and decreased DMI by cattle in the Sucram REC/control FIN treatment. In general, changes in carcass characteristics were minor. In Exp. 2, 12 steers (initial BW = 395.6 ± 6.17 kg) were used in a simultaneously replicated 3 × 3 Latin square preference test. Each square consisted of 3 pens, with 2 steers/pen, and 3 time periods. Bunks had dividers at their midpoint, and equal quantities of diet (as-fed basis) were delivered randomly on either side of the divider daily. Treatments were: 1) control; 2) Sucram = basal diet supplemented with 200 mg of Sucram/kg of DM; and 3) choice = control and Sucram on separate sides of the divider. Dietary preference differed on d 1 (P = 0.01) and d 3 (P = 0.02) for control vs. choice and Sucram vs. choice, with the choice group consuming 0.49 and 1.72 kg of DM more of the Sucram diet than the control diet, respectively. This effect, however, was not consistent across days, and average DMI did not differ (P = 0.81) among treatments. Addition of Sucram to the diet of newly received cattle tended to increase receiving period ADG; however, its effects on morbidity, finishing performance, and dietary preference were limited.
- Feed intake