Original Research

Bone mineral response to ammonium sulphate offered as a lick supplement in beef calves

L.E. Motsei, D.E. Beighle
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 77, No 1 | a334 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v77i1.334 | © 2006 L.E. Motsei, D.E. Beighle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 June 2006 | Published: 06 June 2006

About the author(s)

L.E. Motsei,
D.E. Beighle,

Full Text:

PDF (198KB)

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


Sixteen Bonsmara calves (4 males, 12 females) between 10 and 18 months of age were blocked according to age and sex and randomly assigned to 2 groups. They were offered licks containing bone meal and salt (50:50 ratio) (control) and bone meal and ammonium sulphate (NH4SO4) at 1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 18 % (treatment) to evaluate the effects of dietary anions on bone phosphate (P) concentration. Bone P concentration was significantly (P<0.05) higher in the NH4SO4 group compared with the control group, indicating that NH4SO4 was able to increase the P content of bone at each of the 6 concentrations used in the lick relative to the control animals, thereby improving the P status of the animals. Ammonium sulphate at 15% and 18% in the lick also significantly (P <0.05) increased bone P compared with the lower concentrations of NH4SO4. Bone calcium (Ca) fluctuated as a result of the acidogenic lick. There was absorption of Ca when P was being resorbed and resorption of Ca when P was being absorbed into and out of bone. Bone Ca:P ratio ranged from 3.2 to 6.4 among the control group and 1.6 to 4.3 among the treatment group. Animals receiving the acidogenic lick had a higher percentage ash compared to the control group for most of the experimental period. Bone magnesium (Mg) fluctuated in response to the acidogenic lick, and it was difficult to show a relationship between bone Mg and Ca or P. The overall mean cortical bone thickness was significantly (P < 0.05) greater in treatment (1.60 mm) compared with control (1.43 mm) calves and this was also true at sampling periods 2, 4, 5 and 6. Bone thickness followed bone P and not bone Ca. Results from this research indicate that the addition of ammonium sulphate to a lick had a beneficial effect in improving the P status by increasing bone P and improving the mineral status of bone by increasing the thickness of cortical bone and percentage ash.


Ammonium Sulphate; Anions; Bone; Bone Meal Licks; Calcium; Magnesium; Phosphorus


Total abstract views: 1830
Total article views: 2339


Crossref Citations

1. ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Physiological values and factors affecting the metacarpal bone density of healthy feedlot beef cattle as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
A. Zotti, M. Gianesella, C. Ceccato, M. Morgante
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition  vol: 94  issue: 5  first page: 615  year: 2010  
doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2009.00946.x