Published in Journal of Animal Science, Volume 87, Issue 12, December 1, 2009, pages 4092-4100.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2009-1808.
Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) to enhance growth performance and carcass characteristics in calf-fed Holstein steers. In Exp. 1, Holstein steers (n = 2,311) were fed in a large-pen trial in 2 phases at a commercial feed yard in the desert Southwest. In Exp. 2, a total of 359 steers were fed in a small-pen university study. In Exp. 1 and 2, cattle were implanted with a combination trenbolone acetate-estradiol implant approximately 120 d before slaughter. Cattle were fed ZH for 0, 20, 30, or 40 d before slaughter at a rate of 8.3 mg/kg (DM basis). A 3-d withdrawal was maintained immediately before slaughter. Cattle within an experiment were fed to a common number of days on feed. During the last 120 d before slaughter, ADG was not enhanced by feeding ZH for 20 d (P = 0.33 in Exp. 1, and P = 0.79 in Exp. 2). Gain-to-feed conversion was increased by feeding ZH for all durations in Exp. 1 (P < 0.05). Feeding ZH increased HCW by 9.3 (Exp. 2) to 11.6 (Exp. 1) kg at 20 d compared with the control groups. Across both experiments, dressing percent was increased for all durations of feeding ZH (P < 0.05). Although skeletal maturity score, liver integrity, lean color, fat thickness, and KPH were not affected by feeding ZH for 20 d in either experiment (P ≥ 0.6), LM area was increased for all durations of feeding ZH (P < 0.05). The percentage of carcasses identified as USDA Choice was reduced (P < 0.01) for all durations of feeding ZH in Exp. 1. This effect was not observed in Exp. 2. Holstein steers clearly respond to the β-agonist ZH, and 20 d of feeding ZH with a 3-d withdrawal significantly increased carcass weights, muscling, and carcass leanness.