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The objective of this trial was to determine the effects of supplementing active dried yeast (ADY) in the diets of finishing steers on energy and nitrogen metabolism and ruminal pH characteristics under thermoneutral (TN) or heat-stressed (HS) conditions. Eight British cross steers received 1 of 2 treatments (TRT) [either a control finishing diet (CON) or supplemented with 3 g/d of ADY] under 1 of 2 temperatures [TEMP: TN = 18 ± 0.55 °C and 20 ± 1.2% relative humidity (RH) or HS = 35 ± 0.55 °C and 42 ± 6.1% RH]. Steers were orally administered an indwelling rumen pH and temperature recording bolus. Data collection occurred for 48 consecutive hours inside 2 calorimetry chambers. Data were analyzed as a 4 × 8 Latin rectangle design with fixed effects of TRT and TEMP and random effects of steer and period. There were no TRT × TEMP interactions for metabolism or calorimetric measurements (P ≥ 0.1510). In vivo DM digestibility (DMD) was greater for ADY-fed steers than for CON-fed steers (77.1% vs. 75.3%, respectively; P = 0.0311). No TRT (P = 0.3032) or TEMP (P = 0.1833) effect was observed for nitrogen retention. Energy partitioning suggested DE and ME (Mcal/kg) were greater for ADY-fed steers than for CON-fed steers (P = 0.0097 and P = 0.0377, respectively). Steers under HS had reduced DMI but greater DMD than TN steers (77.1% vs. 75.3%, respectively; P = 0.0316) and greater CH4 per unit of DM (8.53 vs. 6.47 g/kg, respectively; P = 0.0145). Although DE was greater for HS than TN (3.16 vs. 3.06 Mcal/kg, respectively; P = 0.0123), heat production energy (HE) tended to be greater for HS than TN (18.1 vs. 17.0 Mcal/d, respectively; P = 0.0743), resulting in a less retained energy (0.412 vs. 0.100 Mcal/kg; P = 0.0147). There was a tendency for an interaction of mean ruminal pH (P = 0.1279) where pH of ADY-fed steers was greater than pH of CON-fed steers under TN conditions (5.81 vs. 5.57, respectively), but not under HS conditions (5.37 vs. 5.41, respectively). Duration (DUR) and area under the curve (AUC) for pH > 5.6 had similar tendencies; under TN conditions, the DUR and AUC for pH > 5.6 in ADY-fed steers were greater than in CON-fed steers (P = 0.0726 and P = 0.0954, respectively), but under HS conditions, there was no difference between ADY and CON. We conclude that supplementing ADY in the diets of finishing steers improved DMD, DE, ME, and mean ruminal pH under TN conditions, but not in extreme HS conditions likely due to reduced DMI and greater HE requirements.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Active YeastImproved Digestibility of Dry MatterBeneficial
Active YeastImproved Mean Ruminal pHBeneficial
Active YeastIncreased Digestible EnergyBeneficial
Active YeastIncreased Metabolizable EnergyBeneficial

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