The University of Arizona

Influence of saline water on intake, digesta kinetics, and serum profiles of steers.

R.M. Kattnig, A.J. Pordomingo, A.G. Schneberger, G.C. Duff, J.D. Wallace


Nine yearling Holstein steers (avg weight 234 kg) were used to evaluate the influence of water salinity on feed and water intake, as well as several ruminal and serum characteristics. The ruminally cannulated steers were individually fed low-quality mixed hay simulating a range diet. Steers were assigned randomly to receive either control (C) water containing 350 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS) or a treated water (HS) containing 2,300 ppm TDS. The experiment included a 14-day adjustment period and a 15-day measurement period. High-saline water did not affect (P = 0.18) feed or water intake, although there was a tendency for greater consumption of both feed and water in HS steers. The HS steers had slower (P = 0.10) particulate passage rates and longer (P = 0.06) rumen retention times on day 1 of the measurement period, indicating possible differences in particle density and (or) particle size. On day 1, undigested dry matter (DM) fill was greater (P = 0.05) in HS steers compared with C (80.7 vs 61.5 g/kg BW); similar trends occurred on day 8. The HS steers also had greater (P = 0.02) rumen fluid volumes, but similar (P = 0.45) fluid dilution rates compared with C steers. No in situ DM disappearance differences were detected (P greater than or equal to 0.38) at incubation times ranging from 12 to 72 hours. No clinical or sub-clinical toxicological symptoms were observed in HS compared with C steers. This study suggests that cattle can ingest saline water containing 2,300 ppm TDS on a short-term basis with no adverse effects.


salinity;saline water;water intake;blood serum;steers;digesta;kinetics;cattle feeding;diets;rumen fermentation;water quality;beef cattle;dry matter;feed intake

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