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Ciência Rural

Print version ISSN 0103-8478On-line version ISSN 1678-4596


ORTOLANI, Enrico Lippi. The mineral consumption and weight gain of grazing steers fed mineral supplements with different sodium contents and physical forms. Cienc. Rural [online]. 1999, vol.29, n.4, pp.711-716. ISSN 1678-4596.

Thirty crossbred two-year-old steers, kept on pasture of Braquiaria decumbens, were used in two different experiments of 90 days each. In the first experiment, the steers were randomly assigned in five groups of six steers each to verify the influence of different percentages of sodium chloride (SC) in mineral mix (MM) containing essential macro and microelements (A - 100% SC; B - 80% SC/20% MM; C - 60% SC/40% MM; D - 40% SC/ 60 MM and E - 20% SCl/80 MM) on the consumption of the mineral supplement and the weight gain. In the second experiment, the same steers were reassigned to three groups of 10 animals each to study the effect of mineral salt (40% SC/60% MM) offered loose, partially blocked or as a hard block on the mineral consumption and weight gain. Steers fed supplement D had the highest intake followed by groups B and C; lowest intake was verified in group E. All mineral supplements but E were fed adequately to meet the Na requirement (6.3g/head/d) for a 350kg growing steer. Higher average daily gain was verified in steers of groups D and C than those of group E. The highest mineral intake was observed in steers fed loose mineral (60g/head/d) followed by partially block (45g/d); the lowest consumption occurred in the steers fed hard block mineral (27g/d). The coefficient of variation of supplement intake increased as mineral hardness increased. The higher the mineral intake, in the second experiment, the greater the average daily gain. Grazing steers should be offered mineral supplements with 40% and 60% of NaCl changed weekly in order to avoid the hardening of its contents.

Keywords : mineral supplement; cattle; sodium; intake; physical form; weight gain; pasture.

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