The use of active dried yeast (ADY) in the diets of feedlot steers may improve feed efficiency, growth performance, and reduce days on feed. Strategic timing of ADY inclusion in the diet may increase feed conversion or aid in the dietary transition from growing to finishing diets. One hundred twenty steers, blocked by weight, were fed four diets for 164 d: grower (70 d), first transition diet (7 d), second transition diet for (7 d), and finisher (80 d) in a GrowSafe System. Four treatment sequences of ADY inclusion were evaluated in a Balaam's design where steers were fed a control diet before and after the grower phase (CC), control before and ADY after the grower phase (CY), ADY before and control after the grower phase (YC), and ADY before and after the grower phase (YY). A random coefficients model was used to evaluate the following variables of interest: feeding performance and growth traits, including biometric measurements and carcass ultrasound measurements, and carcass characteristics. Treatment was a fixed effect and block was a random effect. Treatment did not affect feeding performance or behavior (P ≥ 0.14). The rate of change of biometric measurements were not different (P ≥ 0.16) across treatment groups except for rib girth circumference, which was greater for the YY and CY groups intermediate for the CC group and least for the YC group (0.828 and 0.809 vs. 0.751 vs. 0.666 cm/d, respectively; P < 0.01). Faster growth rates of rib girth circumference resulted in larger final measurements for steers that were finished on ADY (P < 0.01). Ultrasound measurements (backfat, LM area, intra-muscular fat, and rump fat) were not different across treatments (P ≥ 0.15). However, there was a tendency for the YC group to have a slower rate of back fat deposition than other treatment groups (P = 0.09). Steers' final shrunk BWs did not differ (P = 0.61), but shrink percentage was greater for CC than for YY groups (3.7% vs. 2.7%, respectively; P = 0.05). Carcass characteristics were not different across treatments (P ≥ 0.20). Crude fat, CP, ash and moisture analyses of the 9th to 11th rib section were not different across treatments, and there was no difference in adjusted final shrunk BW (P ≥ 0.45). Feeding the ADY strain used in this study to growing and finishing feedlot steers increased rib girth circumference development rate and reduced shrink loss without affecting feeding behavior, feeding performance, or carcass characteristics.
- beef cattle
- feed additives