Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science


This research project was conducted to study the effects of nitrate, added to the rations as sodium nitrate, on feedlot performance and vitamin A status of fattening cattle. Two levels of protein were used to determine if protein level influenced the effects of nitrate or the need for supplemental vitamin A. In addition, the experiment was designed to determine the value of vitamin A and protein supplement when fed with a high concentrate ration consisting of ground shelled corn and alfalfa hay. Yearling steers were fed a high grain ration composed of 80% ground shelled corn and 20% alfalfa hay for 153 and 160 days. Weight gains of about 2.9 pounds per head daily were obtained with this ration, which contained 10.6% protein and about 1.8mg of carotene per pound. Feedlot performance was not improved by increasing the protein content to 11.8% or by supplementing the rations with about 12,500 I.U. of vitamin A palmitate per head daily. These data indicate that the intake of carotene plus body reserves of vitamin A were meeting the vitamin A requirement during the experiment. Since initial body reserves of vitamin were not determined, it is not known what contribution the reserves were making to the requirement. Results also indicated that it is doubtful that nitrate content of feeds is an important factor in lowering carotene or vitamin A utilization by ruminants.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Beef cattle


Includes bibliographical references




South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only