Ionophore strategy affects growth performance and carcass characteristics in feedlot steers

A. J. Thompson, Z. K.F. Smith, M. J. Corbin, L. B. Harper, B. J. Johnson

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7 Scopus citations


One hundred ninety-two steers (BW = 354 ± 23.5 kg) were used in a randomized block design to evaluate the effects of ionophore and ractopamine hydrochloride (RH) supplementation strategies on performance and carcass characteristics. Twelve pens of 4 steers were assigned to each of the following treatments: unsupplemented control (CON), laidlomycin propionate (12.1 mg/kg DM) with or without RH (LPRH and LP, respectively), and monensin sodium (36.4 mg/kg DM) with RH (MSRH). Steers were fed for 151 d, of which respective treatments received RH (Actogain; Zoetis, Florham Park, NJ) at a rate of 300 mg/(animal · d) for the final 32 d. Laidlomycin was removed from the LPRH treatment during this period, as no combination feeding has been approved. Upon harvest, carcass data were collected by trained personnel, and subsequent analysis of the LM was conducted to estimate tenderness using Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF). Prior to RH supplementation, both LP and LPRH had greater ADG (P ≤ 0.02) and G:F (P < 0.01) than CON, whereas MSRH was intermediate. During the final 32 d, MSRH improved G:F (P ≤ 0.02) compared to all other treatments and tended to increase ADG over unsupplemented controls (P = 0.05). Cattle receiving LP without RH had significantly greater BW at d 151 than CON (P = 0.02), whereas both RH treatments tended to improve final BW (P ≤ 0.09). Ionophores improved ADG (P ≤ 0.03) and G:F (P < 0.01) for the entire feeding period, and although LP-supplemented cattle had greater DMI for the final 32 d than both RH treatments (P ≤ 0.01), intakes for the 151-d trial were similar among treatments. Carcass weights were greater (P = 0.04) in cattle fed LP with no RH than CON, where cattle yielded an average of 12 kg more HCW. Ractopamine increased LM area in MSRH-supplemented cattle (P = 0.03) and tended to increase LM area for steers receiving LPRH (P = 0.07). Longissimus steaks of MSRH-supplemented cattle had greater WBSF values than CON (P = 0.04) after 7 d of postmortem aging and greater WBSF values than LPRH steaks after 28 d (P = 0.03). All other carcass and WBSF measurements were similar among treatments. The results of this study indicate that LP supplementation without RH may yield a performance similar to and carcass responses associated with the administration of a β-agonist. These results also suggest that performance and carcass characteristics for cattle fed LP are similar to those of cattle fed monensin throughout the feeding period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5341-5349
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Beef cattle
  • Beta-agonist
  • Ionophore
  • Laidlomycin propionate
  • Monensin sodium


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