Effects of source of supplemental zinc on performance and humoral immunity in beef heifers

G. A. Nunnery, J. T. Vasconcelos, C. H. Parsons, G. B. Salyer, P. J. Defoor, F. R. Valdez, M. L. Galyean

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31 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate receiving-period performance, morbidity, and humoral immune response, as well as finishing performance and carcass characteristics of heifers fed different sources of supplemental Zn. In Exp. 1, 97 crossbred beef heifers (initial BW = 223.4 kg) were fed a 65% concentrate diet with no supplemental Zn (control) or 75 mg of supplemental Zn/kg of DM from Zn sulfate, Zn methionine, or Zn propionate. During a 35-d receiving period, heifers were monitored daily for signs of bovine respiratory disease. Serum samples were collected for Zn analysis on d 0, 14, and 28. After the receiving period, heifers were adapted to and fed a high-concentrate diet with no supplemental Zn for 42 d. Heifers were then assigned to finishing diet treatments, with the same concentrations and sources of supplemental Zn as during the receiving period and fed for an average of 168 d. Serum samples also were obtained on d 0 and 56 of the finishing period and at the end of the study. During the receiving period, control heifers had a greater (P ≤ 0.05) BW and G:F on d 35 than heifers in the other treatments, but no differences were observed among treatments for morbidity or serum Zn concentrations (P ≥ 0.50). For the finishing period, DMI and ADG did not differ among treatments; however, overall G:F tended (P = 0.06) to be less for control heifers than for heifers in the 3 supplemental Zn treatments. On d 56 of the finishing period, control heifers tended (P = 0.06) to have a lower serum Zn concentration than heifers in the 3 supplemental Zn treatments. In Exp. 2, 24 crossbred beef heifers (initial BW = 291.1 kg) were fed the same 4 treatments as in Exp. 1 for a 21-d period. The humoral immune response to treatments was determined by measuring specific antibody titers after s.c. injection of ovalbumin on d 0 and 14. Body weights and blood samples for serum Zn concentration and ovalbumin IgG titers were collected on d 0, 7, 14, and 21. Serum Zn concentration and specific ovalbumin IgG titers did not differ (P > 0.10) among the 4 treatments on any sampling day. Results from these 2 studies showed no major differences among the sources of supplemental Zn for receiving period morbidity, ADG, DMI, and humoral immune response of beef heifers; however, a lack of supplemental Zn during an extended finishing period tended to negatively affect G:F.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2304-2313
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Beef cattle
  • Humoral immune response
  • Morbidity
  • Performance
  • Zinc


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