A 2 × 2 factorial experiment was conducted to study the effects of the beta-adrenergic agonisi L-644,969 (BAA, supplied at 0.28 vs. 0 mg kg-0.75d-1) on growth performance, carcass traits and nitrogen balance of lambs at two environmental temperatures (0°C vs. 20°C). Sixteen Suffolk-Cross wether lambs (30.2 ± 2.06 kg BW) were randomly divided into four groups and exposed to each of four experimental treatments (20°C with control diet; 20°C with BAA-supplemented diet; 20°C with control diet; and 0°C with BAA-supplemented diet) for 5 wk. The collection period for nitrogen balance was 4 d during the 4th week of treatment. The low temperature decreased efficiency of feed utilization and increased backfat thickness by 20.8% (P < 0.01) and 35.1% (P < 0.05), respectively. L-644,969, on the other hand, increased daily gain, feed efficiency and hot carcass weight by 22.5% (P < 0.05), 17.2% (P < 0.05) and 9.6% (P < 0.05,) respectively. Dressing percentage (P < 0.01), biceps femoris weight (P < 0.01) and rib eye area (P < 0.01) were also increased, but abdominal fat expressed as a percentage of liveweight (P < 0.05) was significantly decreased by BAA treatment. The improved weight gain, muscle weight and ribeye area in response to BAA, and in the absence of an increase in total nitrogen retention, indicate that the responses are due to nutrient repartitioning. Temperature did not impair the nutrient repartitioning effect of BAA, but feed efficiency may be more improved by BAA for the animals in the cold environment.
- Carcass traits