Effects of copper and zinc source on performance and humoral immune response of newly received, lightweight beef heifers

G. B. Salyer, M. L. Galyean, P. J. Defoor, G. A. Nunnery, C. H. Parsons, J. D. Rivera

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33 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of Cu and Zn source on performance, morbidity, and humoral immune response in lightweight, newly received beef heifers. A 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was used in both experiments, with either a sulfate or a polysaccharide mineral complex (SQM) source of both Cu and Zn as the factors. Supplemental Cu and Zn were included in the receiving diet at concentrations designed to provide 10 mg of Cu/ kg and 75 mg of Zn/kg (DM basis). In Exp. 1, 219 newly received beef heifers (British x Continental, average initial BW = 208 kg) were given ad libitum access to a 65% concentrate diet for 35 d to determine treatment effects on DMI, ADG, G:F, and bovine respiratory disease (BRD) morbidity. In Exp. 2, 24 heifers (average initial BW = 272 kg) were fed a diet with no supplemental Cu or Zn for 35 d, followed by fasting-refeeding-fasting stress, after which the same treatment diets used in Exp. 1 were fed for 21 d to examine the effects on humoral immune response (plasma IgG titer determined by ELISA on d 7, 14, and 21) to an ovalbumin (OVA) vaccine given on d 0 and 14. Copper source x Zn source interactions were not detected in either experiment. In Exp. 1, neither Cu nor Zn source affected (P > 0.10) DMI, ADG, G:F, or BRD morbidity. In Exp. 2, d 14 (P = 0.02) and 21 (P = 0.06) OVA titers were greater for heifers that received SQM Zn compared with heifers receiving ZnSO4, but heifers receiving CuSO4 had greater OVA titers than did heifers on the SQM Cu treatment on d 14 (P = 0.01) and 21 (P = 0.001). In summary, neither supplemental Cu nor Zn source affected performance or morbidity of lightweight, newly received heifers; however, source of both Cu or Zn affected the humoral immune response to OVA, although source effects were not consistent for the two minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2467-2473
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Beef Cattle
  • Copper
  • Immune Response
  • Performance
  • Zinc


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