Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Journal of Animal Science, 2023, 101, 1–11


Open access.


Calf-fed Holstein steers (n = 115; 449 ± 20 kg) were utilized in a serial harvest experiment. A baseline group of five steers was harvested after 226 d on feed (DOF), which was designated day 0. The remaining cattle were assigned randomly to 11 harvest groups, with slaughter every 28 d. Cattle were either not (CON) or were fed zilpaterol hydrochloride for 20 d followed by a 3 d withdrawal (ZH). There were five steers per treatment in each slaughter group ranging from days 28 to 308. Whole carcasses were divided into lean, bone, internal cavity, hide, and fat trim components. Apparent mineral retention (Ca, P, Mg, K, and S) within the body was calculated as the difference between mineral concentration at slaughter and day 0. Mineral concentration at day 0 was determined from body composition of steers harvested at day 0 multiplied by individual live body weight (BW) at day 0. All data were analyzed as a 2 × 11 factorial arrangement with individual animal as the experimental unit. Orthogonal contrasts were used to analyze linear and quadratic contrasts over time (11 slaughter dates). There were no differences in concentration of Ca, P, and Mg in bone tissue as feeding duration increased (P ≥ 0.89); concentration of K, Mg, and S in lean tissue did fluctuate across DOF (P < 0.01). Averaged across treatment and DOF, 99% of Ca, 92% of P, 78% of Mg, and 23% of S present in the body were in bone tissue; 67% of K and 49% of S were in lean tissue. Expressed as gram per day, apparent retention of all minerals decreased linearly across DOF (P < 0.01). Expressed relative to empty body weight (EBW) gain, apparent Ca, P, and K retention decreased linearly as BW increased (P < 0.01) whereas Mg and S increased linearly (P < 0.01). Apparent retention of Ca was greater for CON cattle (greater bone fraction) and apparent retention of K was greater for ZH cattle (greater muscle fraction) when expressed relative to EBW gain (P ≤ 0.02), demonstrating the increase in lean gain by ZH cattle. There were no differences in apparent retention of Ca, P, Mg, K, or S due to treatment (P ≥ 0.14) or time (P ≥ 0.11) when expressed relative to protein gain. Apparent retention averaged 14.4 g Ca, 7.5 g P, 0.45 g Mg, 1.3 g K, and 1.0 g S/100 g protein gain. Expressing apparent mineral retention on a protein gain basis minimized effects of rate and type of gain, allowing for better comparison across treatments and time. Feeding zilpaterol hydrochloride did not affect apparent mineral retention when expressed relative to protein gain.