Growth performance and meat quality of weaner steers adapted to starter diets containing potassium humate in the feedlot
Mokotedi, Nthabiseng Precilla
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Humates can be described as raw material used in animal husbandry and agriculture in the form of a humate drink or dry feed as a source of mineral and organic substances for growth stimulation. Most commercially available humic products are extracted from deposits of soft brown coal with an alkali solution. In this study, the effects of inclusion of potassium humate on growth performance, meat and carcass quality parameters were examined in weaner steers. To achieve this, 22 steers of age 6-7 months were randomly divided into control and treatment groups each containing 11 steers. The control group was fed basal diet composed of a total mixed ration for growing steers, whereas treatment group was fed basal diet containing potassium humate at a rate of 1.5g/kg feed. The experimental period lasted for 4 months. Growth performance parameters, including average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily gain (ADG), food conversion efficiency (FCE). At the end of the trial, all animals were slaughtered humanely for determination of meat quality parameters. All data were subjected to appropriate statistical analysis. Overall, steers fed diet with potassium humate had greater average daily than the steers in the control group during adaptation period. However, there was no significant difference in the ADG, FI and FCR of steers among the two treatment groups. At the end of the trial there were no significant effects of potassium humate inclusion on growth performance, meat quality parameters and carcass weights compared with control. Inclusion of PH in starter diets of weaner steers significantly (P < 0.05) improved meat tenderness and caused a greater in meat pH, two of the most important parameters affecting meat quality. From the study, although the inclusion of Potassium humate in diets did not affect total fat content, individual fatty acids and nutritional indices, it was evident that composition of fatty acids in meat is not fixed and can be changed by differences in dietary components. Overall, although the results form the study appeared to be inconclusive, it appears that inclusion of PH in diets can positively influence adaptability of weaners to feedlots diets with ultimate desirable effects on meat quality characteristics. PH inclusion in steer diets can therefore provide an alternative in the production of safe and healthier meat in the feedlot.