There has been on‐going research conducted by South Dakota State University in the area of the consumption of high‐sulfur (S) water by steers grazing rangeland. During the summer of 2009 a trial was conducted in cooperation with the University of Wyoming on the effects of copper supplementation of grazing pasture steers supplemented with molybdenum (Mo), while drinking high‐sulfur water. The main purpose of this experiment was to gather data that may aide in the formulation of a method to counteract the negative effects of high‐S water consumed by ruminant livestock species in areas where sulfur concentrations in water sources causes risk to animal health and performance. Yearling steers (n=120) were assigned randomly to 9 replicate groups, 3 replicates of 3 treatments for a 52 d experiment. All groups were provided with high‐S water containing on average 2,201 mg•kg‐1 of sulfate. Additionally, all treatment groups received 100 mg•kg‐1 of supplemental Mo as an antagonist that would bind excess S. Unfortunately, Mo also binds copper (Cu), indicating that supplemental Cu may be necessary. Therefore treatments differed in level of supplemental copper: treatments 1 through 3 received 0, 75, or 150 mg•kg‐1 of supplemental Cu, respectively. Prior to the trial, mid‐trial and at the conclusion of the trial, ruminal H2S gas cap levels were collected. Animal weights were recorded d ‐2, ‐1, 28, 52 and 53. Over the entire course of the experiment there was a significant difference in ADG due to treatment (P< 0.001). There were no differences in water consumption as a result of treatment (P= 0.618). No differences were observed in ruminal H2S due to treatment. No animal losses occurred due to the consumption of high‐S water in this trial.
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Kessler, K.L.; Olson, K.C.; Wright, C.L.; Austin, K.J.; Johnson, P.S.; and Cammack, K.M., "Copper Supplementation of Grazing Yearling Steers Supplemented withMolybdenum While Consuming High‐sulfur Water" (2010). South Dakota Beef Report, 2010. 8.