Effect of monensin on gain and forage utilization by calves grazing bermudagrass.
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Two trials were conducted to determine the influence of monensin on live weight gain and efficiency of forage utilization of calves grazing Bermudagrass. In trial 1, 32 calves, weaned at an average age of 238 days and 250 kg, were grazed on "Coastcross I" Bermudagrass from July 20 to October 13. Eight steers and eight heifers were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: 200 mg monensin/head/day or 0 mg monensin/head/day fed in a .01 kg/head/day diet of pelletized 14% protein feed. Both groups were stocked at 15.3 head/ha. Monensin-fed calves gained .52 kg/head/day, while the control-fed calves gained .42 kg/head/day (P < .10). Average daily gains (ADG) of steers (.54 kg) were greater (P < .05) than those of heifers (.40 kg). Forage to gain ratio estimates were 15:1 and 19:1 for calves on monensin and control paddocks, respectively. In trial 2, 48 steer calves, averaging 265 days of age and 260 kg, were randomly assigned to each of two replicates of the following grazing treatments: common Bermudagrass only (P), Bermudagrass + .91 kg/head/day 14% protein feed (PF) or Bermudagrass + .91 kg/head/day feed + 200 mg monensin/head/day (PFM). ADG were .45, .47 and .68 kg for steers fed P, PF and PFM, respectively. The monensin-fed calves showed a 45% improvement in ADG (P < .05). Estimated forage to gain ratios for calves fed P, PF and PFM were 20:5:1, 19:1 and 13:1, respectively. The use of 200 mg monensin/head/day improved calf gains by 23 to 45% and increased estimated feed efficiencies by 21 to 36% on Bermudagrass pastures. The improvement in gain for heifers fed monensin was 28.6%, while steers gained 18.4% more when fed monensin.