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The effects of sulfate fertilization and high levels of sulfate and salt drinking water on the growth and mineral status of ruminants
Three experiments were conducted to determine the effects of sulfate (SO₄²⁻) in forage and drinking water on the performance and mineral status of cattle and sheep. In Experiment 1, forty-eight late gestation crossbred cows were grazed on twelve 10-acre oat pastures for 112 days (Jan 6 to Apr 28) to determine the effects of oat forage fertilized with ammonium sulfate ((NH₄)₂SO₄) on serum Ca, Mg and P status of cows. Pastures were assigned to either an (NH₄)₂SO₄ (400 kg/ha) or ammonium nitrate (NH₄NO₃, 247 kg\ha) fertilizer treatment. The forage sulfur (S) concentrations were higher (P < .01) in the (NH₄)₂SO₄ fertilized pastures than those fertilized with NH₄NO₃ from Feb 3 through Mar 3 sampling dates. Serum Ca was greater for cows grazing (NH₄)₂SO₄ fertilized pastures on Mar 3 (P < .05). Serum inorganic P was greater in the cows grazing (NH₄)₂SO₄ fertilized pastures on March 30 (P < .01). These data suggest that S fertilization can increase the S concentrations of forage and may alter the serum mineral concentrations of cows grazing oat pastures. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine the effects of high levels of calcium sulfate (CaSO₄²⁻) and sodium chloride (NaCl) in drinking water on the performance and mineral status of growing cattle. Twelve crossbred growing cattle were grazed on twelve 1.4-hectare native pastures for 56 d (from Jun 16 to Aug 11). The cattle were given a single source of water: tap water (n=4), SO₄²⁻ water (1139 mg SO₄²⁻/L, n=4) and SO₄²⁻/NaCl water (1546mg SO₄²⁻/L and 3489 mg Na/L, n=4). The average daily gain (ADG) of cattle provided with tap water and SO₄²⁻ water was greater than that of cattle drinking SO₄²⁻/NaCl water (P<.05). There was no difference for the digestibility of organic matter (OM), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and degradable NDF (DNDF) in cattle provided the different water sources (P>.05). There was no difference in serum Ca, P, Mg, K and Cu of the cattle due to source of water (P> .05). ne water intake of cattle with different treatments was associated with climatic factors differently. In Experiment 3, nine growing wethers were randomly assigned to an individual pen in the metallic laboratory to determine mineral balance in sheep provided with tap water, SO₄²⁻ watwe or SO₄²⁻/NaCl water. The periods of the feeding and metabolic trial were 28 d and 12 d, respectively. There were no significant differences for ADG and feed efficiency of animals provided the treatments (P>.05). There was no difference for serum Na, Ca, P, Mg and Zn in sheep among the treatments (P> .05). But serum Cu of the sheep drinking tap water was Feater than that of the sheep drinking SO₄²⁻/NaCl water (P< .05). The SO₄²⁻ water and SO₄²⁻/NaCl water did not affect the OM intake, digestibility of OM and NDF, and ADG of sheep during the trial (P>.05).
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 90-101).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Xie, Kehe (1999). The effects of sulfate fertilization and high levels of sulfate and salt drinking water on the growth and mineral status of ruminants. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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