Animal Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in 2012 Beef Cattle Report (2012) p. 82-84. Copyright © 2012 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


A meta-analysis of University of Nebraska– Lincoln finishing trials was conducted to evaluate the effect of dietary sulfur on feedlot health. An interactionbetween level of dietary sulfur and forage NDF (P = 0.07) affected the incidence of polioencephalomalacia (PEM) cases. For a given level of dietarysulfur the relative risk for PEM decreasedas forage NDF increased. Rumen degradable sulfur (RDS) was estimated for feedstuffs fed to cattle includedin the analysis. As level of RDS increased in the diet, the incidence of PEM increased (P < 0.01). Rumen degradable sulfur is a better measure of PEM risk because it accounts for the dietarysulfur that contributes to hydrogen sulfide production.