Effects of Previous Grazing Treatment and Consumption of Locoweed on Liver Mineral Concentrations in Beef Steers

M. L. Galyean, M. H. Ralphs, M. N. Reif, J. D. Graham, W. E. Braselton

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Twelve Hereford steers (average BW = 231 kg) that had previously grazed native rangeland (Range) or irrigated winter wheat pasture (Wheat) were allowed to graze locoweed-infested rangeland from April 1 to June 9, 1994 (six steers/previous grazing treatment). Relative consumption level of locoweed and other forage classes was measured as observed bites per steer. Liver biopsy and whole blood samples were obtained from each steer before and after grazing. Liver samples were analyzed for several minerals by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy, and whole blood samples were analyzed for Se. Liver concentrations of Ba (P < .001), Cd (P < .001), Ca (P < .01), Cr (P < .01), Ni (P < .001), Na (P < .01), and V (P < .001) were greater and concentrations of Mn (P <.09), P (P < .01), and K (P < .07) were less in Wheat than in Range steers. Liver concentrations of Fe, Mg, S, and Zn and whole blood Se concentrations did not differ (P > .10) between the two groups. Liver concentrations of Cr (P < .04) and Mn (P < .001) were less, and Fe concentrations were greater (P < .01), in samples taken after grazing than in samples taken before grazing of locoweed-infested range. Whole blood Se concentrations decreased (P < .01) from the beginning to the end of the grazing period, but this effect was not related (P > . 15) to loco weed consumption. Changes in liver concentrations of minerals were compared relative to consumption levels of all forage classes in the locoweed-infested range. Liver concentrations of Cu decreased (r2 = .45; P < .02) as the percentage of bites consumed as locoweed increased, but concentrations after grazing locoweed-infested range were still within normal ranges. Changes in liver concentrations of other minerals were not related (P > .15) to consumption of locoweed. These data indicate that previous grazing history can have significant effects on liver mineral stores and that, under our conditions, consumption of locoweed by grazing beef steers altered liver Cu concentrations. Toxic effects of locoweed consumption would likely occur before Cu deficiency would be induced by grazing locoweed-infested range; hence, supplementation of Cu would seem unlikely to alter the course of locoweed toxicosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-833
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Beef cattle
  • Copper
  • Locoweed
  • Minerals
  • Poisonous plants
  • Toxicity


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