Effect of zeolite use in finishing beef cattle in confinement
Twenty-four Santa Gertrudis male calves of mean initial age 11 months and liveweight (LW) 280 kg were assigned to 12 pairs according to weight in a randomized block-design experiment. The two treatments compared were: maize silage + concentrate (1) without zeolite or (2) with 2,4% of zeolite. The proportion of roughage to concentrate was maintained at approximately 45:55. The animals were confined in individual pens during 127 days, including 15 days of adaptation. Mean results for treatments 1 and 2 were: dailyLWgain, 1.35 and 1.41 kg; daily dry matter (DM) intake relative to LW, 2.53 and 2.59%; feed conversion ratio, 6.03 and 5.93 kg DM/kg LW gain; and pH of feces, 5.36 and 5.51, respectively. Mean carcass evaluation data were: warm carcass yield, 54.22 and 55.56%; loin eye area, 26.72 and 26.92 cm 2/100 kg LW; proportion of renal plus pelvic fat, 2.4 and 2.55%, respectively. Inclusion of zeolite at the 2% level in the concentrate (1.1% in the dietary DM) did not significantly affect the various parameters studied, except fecal pH. The latter observation might be indicative of improved utilization of the dietary starch when zeolite was fed.