Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2003. 81:2869–2879. Copyright © 2003 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Two commercial feedlot experiments and a metabolism study were conducted to evaluate the effects of monensin concentrations and bunk management strategies on performance, feed intake, and ruminal metabolism. In the feedlot experiments, 1,793 and 1,615 steers were used in Exp. 1 and 2, respectively, in 18 pens for each experiment (six pens/treatment). Three treatments were evaluated: 1) ad libitum bunk management with 28.6 mg/kg monensin and clean bunk management strategies with either 2) 28.6 or 3) 36.3 mg/ kg monensin. In both experiments, 54 to 59% of the clean bunk pens were clean at targeted clean time, or 2200, compared with 24 to 28% of the ad libitum pens. However, only 13% of the pens were clean by 2000 in Exp. 1 (summer), whereas 44% of the pens in Exp. 2 (winter) were clean by 2000. In Exp. 1, bunk management and monensin concentration did not affect carcass- adjusted performance. In Exp. 2, steers fed ad libitum had greater DMI (P < 0.01) and carcass-adjusted ADG (P < 0.01) but feed efficiency (P > 0.13) similar to that of clean bunk-fed steers. Monensin concentration had no effect on carcass-adjusted performance (P > 0.20) in either experiment. A metabolism experiment was conducted with eight fistulated steers in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square acidosis challenge experiment. An acidosis challenge was imposed by feeding 125% of the previous day’s DMI, 4 h later than normal. Treatments consisted of monensin concentrations (mg/kg) of 0, 36.7, 48.9, or 36.7 until challenged and switched to 48.9 on the challenge day and 4 d following. Each replicate of the Latin square was managed with separate bunk management strategies (clean bunk or ad libitum). Feeding any concentration of monensin increased number of meals and decreased DMI rate (%/h) (P < 0.12) for the 4 d following the acidosis challenge. Meal size, pH change, and pH variance were lower (P < 0.10) for steers fed monensin with clean bunk management. However, no monensin effect was observed for steers fed ad libitum. Bunk management strategy has the potential to decrease DMI and ADG when steers managed on a clean bunk program are restricted relative to traditional, ad libitum bunk programs. Monensin helps control intake patterns for individuals, but increasing concentration above currently approved levels in this study seemed to have little effect.