Effects of chromium supplementation to feedlot steers on growth performance, insulin sensitivity, and carcass characteristics

S. G. Kneeskern, A. C. Dilger, S. C. Loerch, D. W. Shike, T. L. Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives were to determine the effects of chromium propionate supplementation on growth performance, insulin and glucose metabolism, and carcass characteristics of beef cattle. Steers (n = 34) were stratified by BW and assigned to 1 of 2 treatments: 1) no supplemental Cr (Cont) or 2) 3 mg supplemental Cr·steer−1·d−1 (CrP). Both supplements, Cont and CrP, were delivered via 0.454 kg ground corn top-dressed on the basal diet. There was no effect (P ≥ 0.45) of CrP on ADG, DMI, G:F, or final BW. However, steers fed CrP needed more (P = 0.10) days on feed (DOF) to achieve the same carcass back fat (BF) as steers fed Cont. There were no effects (P ≥ 0.41) of CrP on HCW, BF, or KPH. Steers fed CrP had increased (P = 0.01) dressing percentage (DP) and tended to have a 4.21 cm2 greater LM area (P = 0.15), decreased marbling scores (P = 0.11), and decreased intramuscular fat (P = 0.11) compared to steers fed Cont. There were no differences (P ≥ 0.25) in quality or yield grade distributions. A glucose tolerance test was conducted early (21 DOF) and late (98 DOF) in the finishing phase. There was a feedlot treatment (FT) × time × DOF interaction (P = 0.08) for glucose concentrations, but no other interactions (P ≥ 0.21) for glucose or insulin concentrations. There were no FT × DOF interactions (P ≥ 0.21) for insulin area under the curve (iAUC), insulin:glucose ratio, insulin or glucose baseline, or peak insulin or glucose concentrations. At 21 DOF, steers fed CrP had decreased glucose area under the curve (gAUC; P = 0.01), decreased glucose clearance rate (k; P = 0.02), and increased glucose half-life (T1/2; P = 0.07) compared to steers fed Cont; however, by 98 DOF, no differences were observed between treatments. At 98 DOF, all steers, regardless of treatment, had increased (P < 0.01) peak glucose and insulin, k, iAUC, insulin:glucose ratio, and baseline insulin when compared to values at 21 DOF, but gAUC and T1/2 decreased (P < 0.01). Although steers fed CrP tended (P = 0.11) to have increased baseline glucose concentrations compared to steers fed Cont, CrP supplementation did not affect (P ≥ 0.17) other measures of glucose or insulin. Results of this study indicate that CrP increased DP and tended to increase LM area but tended to decrease intramuscular fat, with no effect on growth performance. With increased DOF, all steers became more insulin resistant, using more insulin to clear less glucose, and these effects were not mitigated by CrP supplementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2016


  • Beef
  • Carcass characteristics
  • Chromium
  • Glucose
  • Insulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of chromium supplementation to feedlot steers on growth performance, insulin sensitivity, and carcass characteristics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this