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Basal levels and responses to glucose infusion of plasma glucose and insulin in beef steer before and after the end of the growing phase on pasture

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We examined the effect of grazing during the growing phase on plasma glucose and insulin behavior at the end of the growing phase and at the early stage of the subsequent fattening phase in beef steers. From 13 to 45 weeks of age (growing phase), crossbred beef steers were grazed with minimal supplement (group G: n = 5) or housed while being fed on hay and concentrate (group H: n = 5). Following this phase, both groups were housed for finishing (fattening phase). At the end of the growing phase, group G showed faster plasma glucose disappearance after intravenous glucose infusion, with a smaller plasma insulin response, compared with group H. At the third week of the fattening phase, group G still showed higher glucose tolerance, although they experienced abrupt changes in nutritional and environmental factors. The results suggest that grazing during the growing phase probably improves the glucose tolerance and insulin response to glucose infusion in steers compared with animals that were housed during the corresponding period, and the improved properties may persist at least a few weeks after the commencement of fattening.
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Keywords: beef steer; glucose tolerance; grazing; insulin

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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