Does supplemental Vitamin A impact quality grade?
By Troy Smith
Beef Quality Connection
What child hasn’t been told to eat his or her carrots, because they promote good eyesight? It’s true of foods containing carotenes and carotenoids which are precursors of Vitamin A. Students of animal science learn early that Vitamin A may be of most practical importance to ruminant nutrition for other reasons too. Vitamin A is essential to normal growth, reproduction and maintenance. It plays a big role in the utilization of other nutrients. But levels of Vitamin A in the diets of finishing cattle may also influence carcass quality grade.
Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s not about boosting dietary Vitamin A to enhance marbling and increase the percentage of carcasses that grade Choice or better. Rather, typical finishing diets may contain too much Vitamin A. That might actually inhibit marbling and, perhaps, prevent animals from achieving their genetic potential for quality grade.