August 24, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Bismuth Subsalicylate and Encapsulated Calcium-Ammonium Nitrate in Beef Cattle

Interpretive Summary: Effects of bismuth subsalicylate and encapsulated calcium-ammonium nitrate on enteric methane production, nutrient digestibility, and liver mineral concentration of beef cattle

By Anne Zinn

As the desire to reduce the environmental impacts of beef production grows, various strategies have been tested as possible solutions. One strategy explored has been the addition of nitrate to the diets of cattle in place of traditional urea, but little is known about the effects of bismuth subsalicylate (BSS). Bismuth compounds may have a place in beef production by mitigating the negative effects of sulfur on trace mineral absorption. A recent study published in the Journal of Animal Science investigated the impacts of nitrate and BSS on beef cattle production and methane emissions through two experiments.

The objective of the first experiment was to evaluate the effects of BSS and encapsulated
calcium-ammonium nitrate (eCAN) on apparent total tract digestibility of nutrients and enteric methane production. It was hypothesized that the addition of eCAN to a bahiagrass diet supplemented with molasses would reduce enteric methane production. The objective of the second experiment was to evaluate live mineral concentration and performance of heifers provided eCAN and BSS. It was hypothesized that BSS would increase trace mineral concentration in beef cattle consuming bahiagrass hay and molasses and that performance would not be negatively impacted by eCAN or BSS.

The results of the study showed that the addition of BSS did not negatively affect apparent total tract digestibility, nor did BSS appear to mitigate enteric methane emissions, and BSS alone did not hinder growth of heifers consuming bahiagrass hay and molasses. Researchers concluded that it may be possible to provide BSS to finishing cattle consuming bi-products to mitigate the negative effects associated with high sulfur diets and that the inclusion of eCAN in the diets of ruminants forage may reduce daily emissions of methane. Further research is needed to evaluate the effects of BSS on differing dietary compositions in regards to digestibility and should focus on the effects of nitrate on grazing cattle and cattle consuming different forage types.

This paper will soon be available on the JAS website