- Three experiments compared ruminal, physiological, and performance responses of beef steers consuming hay ad libitum and receiving grain-based supplements with (CAM) or without (CO) inclusion of camelina meal. In Exp. 1, 9 steers fitted with ruminal cannulas received CAM (2.04 kg of DM/d) or CO (2.20 kg of DM/d). Steers receiving CAM had reduced (P = 0.01) total DMI and tended to have reduced (P = 0.10) forage DMI compared to CO. No treatment effects were detected (P ≥ 0.35) for ruminal hay degradability parameters. In Exp. 2, 14 steers receiving CAM (1.52 kg of DM/d) or CO (1.65 kg of DM/d) were assigned to corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH; 0.1 μg/kg of BW) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH; 0.33 μg/kg of BW) challenges. Steers receiving CAM had greater (P < 0.05) serum concentrations of PUFA compared to CO prior to challenges. Upon CRH infusion, mean plasma ceruloplasmin concentrations increased at a lesser rate in CAM compared with CO (P < 0.01). Upon TRH infusion, no treatment effects were detected (P ≥ 0.55) for serum TSH, T₃, and T₄. In Exp. 3, 60 steers were allocated to 20 drylot pens. Pens were randomly assigned to receive CAM (2.04 kg of DM/steer daily) or CO (2.20 kg of DM/steer daily) during preconditioning
(PC; d -28 to 0). On the morning of d 0, steers were transported for 24 h. Upon arrival from transport on d 1, pens were randomly assigned to receive, in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement, CAM or CO during feedlot receiving (FR; d 1 to 29). During PC, CAM had reduced (P < 0.01) forage and total DMI, and tended to have reduced (P = 0.10) ADG compared to CO. Plasma linolenic acid concentrations increased during PC for CAM, but not for CO (P = 0.02). Steers that received CAM during FR had greater (P < 0.05) mean plasma concentrations of PUFA, and reduced mean rectal temperature and concentrations of haptoglobin and ceruloplasmin during FR compared to CO. Therefore, camelina supplementation reduced forage and total DMI, did not alter thyroid gland function, increased PUFA concentrations in blood, and attenuated the acute-phase protein reaction elicited by neuroendocrine stress responses. In conclusion, camelina meal is a feasible ingredient to reduce stress-induced inflammatory reactions and potentially promote cattle welfare and productivity in beef operations.