Effects of duration of zilpaterol hydrochloride feeding and days on the finishing diet on feedlot cattle performance and carcass traits

J. T. Vasconcelos, R. J. Rathmann, R. R. Reuter, J. Leibovich, J. P. McMeniman, K. E. Hales, T. L. Covey, M. F. Miller, W. T. Nichols, M. L. Galyean

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British and British x Continental steers (n = 560; initial BW = 339.4 ± 1.76 kg) were used in a serial slaughter study with a completely random design to evaluate effects of zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH; 8.33 mg/kg of dietary DM basis) on performance and carcass characteristics. Treatments were arranged in a 4 × 4 factorial (112 pens; 7 pens/treatment; 5 steers/ pen) and included duration of ZH feeding (0, 20, 30, or 40 d before slaughter plus a 3-d ZH withdrawal period) and days on feed (DOF) before slaughter (136, 157, 177, and 198 d). No duration of ZH feeding x slaughter group interactions were detected for the performance measurements (P > 0.10). Final BW did not differ (P = 0.15) between the 0-d group and the average of the 3 ZH groups, but ADG was greater for the average of the 3 ZH groups during the period in which ZH diets were fed (P < 0.01) and for the overall feeding period (P = 0.05). As duration of ZH feeding increased, DMI decreased (P = 0.01) and G:F increased linearly (P < 0.01). With the exception of KPH (P = 0.022), no duration of ZH feeding x slaughter group interactions (P > 0.10) were detected for carcass characteristics. Regardless of the duration of ZH feeding, cattle fed ZH had greater HCW (P < 0.01), greater dressing percent (P < 0.01), less 12th-rib fat (P < 0.01), larger LM area (P < 0.01), less KPH (P = 0.03), and lower yield grade (P < 0.01) than the 0-d cattle. The 0-d group had greater marbling scores (P < 0.01) than cattle fed ZH diets, with a tendency for a linear decrease in marbling score (P = 0.10) as duration of ZH feeding was extended. A greater percentage of carcasses in the 0-d group graded USDA Choice or greater (P < 0.01) than in the 3 ZH groups, whereas the percentage of Select carcasses was greater (P = 0.01) for the 3 ZH groups. From d 0 to end (P = 0.04) and during the last 43 d on feed (P < 0.01), ADG responded quadratically to DOF before slaughter. No differences were detected among slaughter groups for DMI for the entire trial period; however, a quadratic response (P = 0.02) was observed for the final 43 d before slaughter. A quadratic response was also detected for the final 43 d before slaughter (P < 0.01) and from d 0 to end (P = 0.02) for G:F. Final BW, HCW, dressing percent, and 12th-rib fat increased linearly (P < 0.01) as DOF before slaughter increased. Our results indicate that no substantial effects on performance and carcass measurements were observed when ZH was fed for 30 or 40 d as opposed to 20 d, and that effects of ZH generally did not interact with DOF before slaughter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2005-2015
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Cattle
  • Feedlot
  • Performance
  • Zilpaterol
  • β-Adrenergic receptor agonist


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