Restriction of vitamin A and D in beef cattle finishing diets on feedlot performance and adipose accretion

C. L. Pickworth, S. C. Loerch, F. L. Fluharty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Feedlot producers often exceed NRC recommendations for vitamin A and D supplementation; however, increased concentrations of these vitamins have been shown to limit adipocyte differentiation in vitro. A feedlot trial was conducted using 168 Angus crossbred steers (BW = 284 ± 0.4 kg) allotted to 24 pens. The experiment had a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments: no supplemental vitamin A or D (NAND), 3,750 IU vitamin A/kg dietary DM with no supplemental vitamin D (SAND), no supplemental vitamin A and 1,860 IU vitamin D/kg dietary DM (NASD), and 3,750 IU and 1,860 IU vitamin A and D/ kg dietary DM (SASD), respectively. Serum, liver, and intramuscular and subcutaneous adipose tissue retinol concentrations were decreased in (P < 0.001) in cattle fed the no supplemental vitamin A diets (NAND and NASD combined) compared with those consuming supplemental vitamin A (SAND and SASD combined) diets. In addition, intramuscular retinol concentration was 38% less than in the subcutaneous depot. Serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations were reduced (P < 0.001) during the first 70 d when cattle were fed no supplemental vitamin D diets (NAND and SAND combined); however, liver 25(OH)D3 concentrations remained unchanged (P > 0.10) through d 184. Serum and liver 25(OH)D3 concentrations increased (P < 0.001) with vitamin D supplementation (NASD and SASD combined). The DMI, ADG, G:F, and morbidity were not affected (P > 0.10) by dietary concentration of vitamin A or D. There were vitamin A and D interactions (P < 0.03) for backfat thickness and USDA Yield grade. Cattle fed the NAND diet had greater (P < 0.03) Yield grades than other treatments because of greater (P < 0.005) 12th rib backfat thickness in NAND steers than the NASD and SAND steers. Vitamin D concentrations were attenuated and minimal carcass adiposity responses to vitamin D supplementation were observed. Feeding a diet without supplemental vitamin A increased (P < 0.05) Quality grades and marbling scores and tended (P = 0.06) to increase ether extractable lipid of the LM. As retinol and 25(OH)D3 concentrations in feedlot cattle declined as a result of a lack of dietary supplementation, adipose accretion increased, resulting in elevated Quality and Yield grades. Withdrawal of supplemental vitamin A, D, or both from the finishing diet of feedlot beef cattle had minimal impact carcass composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1866-1878
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adiposity
  • Bovine
  • Feedlot performance
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Restriction of vitamin A and D in beef cattle finishing diets on feedlot performance and adipose accretion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this