February 9, 2016 – The Bill E. Kunkle Interdisciplinary Beef Symposium drew a good crowd yesterday at the 2016 ASAS Southern Section Meeting in San Antonio. Researchers from several institutions discussed mineral and vitamin nutrition of cattle fed forage-based diets and its influence on reproduction, immune function, health, carcass characteristics and meat quality.
Dr. Wayne Greene, professor and department head of the Department of Animal Sciences, Auburn University, focused on “Assessing the current mineral supplementation needs in pasture-based beef operations in the Southeastern United States.” Dr. Greene discussed the minerals required by grazing cattle, and factors to know when assessing mineral supplementation needs. He said there are several variables that can influence mineral supplementation needs, such as forage mineral supply and composition, and mineral interactions (i.e., calcium/phosphorus, potassium/magnesium).
Dr. John Arthington, professor and director of the University of Florida – IFAS (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences) Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, Fla., discussed “Mineral nutrition of forage-fed beef cattle – Impacts on reproduction.” He pointed out that the effects of mineral nutrition on reproduction are often secondary to other physiological functions.
Dr. Beth Kegley, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Arkansas, highlighted the “Impact of mineral and vitamin status on beef cattle immune function and health.” The immune system is complex, Dr. Kegley said. The bulk of her presentation focused on the importance of adequate macro and trace minerals to health, foot health, hair coat and immune function, including results of a 2011 study that examined the effect of an injectable trace mineral on bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
Dr. Ty Lawrence, professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, West Texas A&M, talked about “Assessing the influence of vitamin and mineral nutrition on carcass characteristics and meat quality.” Dr. Lawrence’s presentation primarily focused on vitamins and their impact on important carcass characteristics (carcass weight, quality grade, yield grade) and meat quality (color, eating experience – tenderness, flavor, juiciness). He said the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E) are where the bulk of the data lies in terms of the impact of vitamin nutrition on meat quality. Dr. Lawrence also cited research that looks at the impact of various minerals on beef quality.
The Bill E. Kunkle Interdisciplinary Beef Symposium is sponsored by Novus. The beef symposium began in 2009, and was later named in memory of Dr. Bill Kunkle.