Journal of animal science

Meta-analysis of the effects of monensin in beef cattle on feed efficiency, body weight gain, and dry matter intake.

PMID 22859759


A meta-analysis of the impact of monensin on growing and finishing beef cattle was conducted after a search of the literature. A total of 40 peer-reviewed articles and 24 additional trial reports with monensin feeding in beef cattle were selected, after meeting apriori quality criteria. Data for each trial were extracted and analyzed using meta-analysis software in STATA. Estimated effect size of monensin was calculated for feed efficiency (FE), ADG, and DMI. Monensin use in growing and finishing beef cattle reduced DMI (P < 0.001) and improved both ADG (P < 0.001) and FE (P < 0.001). The average concentration of monensin in feed across studies was 28.1 mg/kg feed (100% DM) and this resulted in approximately a 6.4% (but only 2.5 to 3.5% in the last 2 decades) increase in FE, 3% decrease in DMI, and 2.5% increase in ADG. All 3 outcomes displayed moderate and significant heterogeneity of monensin response (I(2), which is a measure of variation beyond chance, = 29% for FE, 42% for DMI, and 23% for ADG); therefore, random effects models were used for those outcomes. There were no single influential studies that overweighted the findings for any outcome. Meta-regression analysis of the effect sizes obtained from these data showed that dietary factors, dose, and study design were influential in modifying effect size of monensin treatment. Use of corn silage in the diet influenced the effect size of monensin for DMI and FE, with diets containing corn silage resulting in a greater improvement in FE and a larger effect on reducing DMI. Studies conducted to assess multiple doses of monensin showed similar effects to the use of corn silage in the diet. Studies conducted in the United States or with higher ADG in control animals (>1.17 kg/d) showed less effect of monensin on ADG. Pen-level studies showed a greater monensin increase on ADG than did those conducted on individual animals. Linear effect of monensin dose was observed for FE, DMI, and ADG outcomes, with greater effects on improving FE and reducing DMI with larger doses of monensin but lesser improvement in ADG with increasing dose. These findings confirm that monensin improves FE in growing and finishing beef cattle, and that this effect is linear with dose.

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