B12 is known to have many positive health effects on humans, but research at the University of Tennessee Department of Animal Science is examining its effects on cattle health.

Dr. Justin Rhinehart, UT Extension beef cattle specialist, is examining whether supplementing beef cattle diets with vitamin B12 and phosphorus can positively impact feedlot cattle health. “Shipping stress can negatively impact the health and productivity of calves sent from the Southeast to Midwest feedlots,” he said. “And while supplementation with phosphorus and vitamin B12 has been shown to reduce the negative effects of stress on cattle, no research exists on the effect of this supplementation on feedlot performance and carcass quality at harvest.” Rhinehart is testing the ability of commercially available phosphorus and vitamin B12 supplements to reduce shipping stress and improve feedlot performance.

Among other characteristics, the researcher is measuring weight loss during shipping and feedlot performance and post-harvest quality.

In a separate study related to stress reduction in cows and heifers, Rhinehart is examining the effects of B12 and phosphorus supplementation on pregnancy rates associated with artificial insemination and estrous synchronization. He hopes to have supplementation recommendations available to producers as early as next spring.

For more information on cattle production contact your local county UT Extension office. You may also go online to https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications to access educational publications. Most are free of charge to download. Additional information may also be available at the national extension website: www.extension.org.


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