Performance of steers supplemented and finished on pasture in the dry season and pasture evaluation

Daily gain and carcass traits of Nellore steers fed different levels of supplementation with high content of protein at finishing during the dry season and the availability of the components of the pasture were evaluated. The experiment was carried out on pasture of Brachiaria brizantha, cv. Marandu, in six paddocks of nine hectares. Forty-eight Nellore steers averaging 30-month old and 415+16kg were used. Each group was allocated in a paddock, being weighted in the beginning and every 21 days, during 84 days. The levels of supplements were: 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0kg/animal/day, in addition to a control (mineral mixture). The supplements, except the control, presented decreasing levels of crude protein (111 to 32% of the dry matter) and proportions of mineral mixture:urea:concentrate feeds of 25:25:50, 15:15:70, 10:10:80, 5:5:90, and 2.5:2.5:95, respectively. The statistical design was completely randomized and the treatments were evaluated by regression analysis. The proportion of stem and dead leaf increased in elapsing of the experimental periods characterizing water deficit in the dry season. There was increasing linear effect on the final live weight, average daily gain, carcass weight, fat thickness, and carcass yield as a function of supplement intake. The supplement conversion in kg/kg of weight gain, at 10:1, is typical of energetic supplementation, showing that the animals did not satisfactorily respond to protein supplementation, which would give better values of conversion.

beef cattle; Brachiaria; soybean meal; daily gain; supplement level; carcass yield

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