Effects of Supplementing Cows with Vitamin A on Calf Performance

Project Title

Effects of Maternal Supplementation of Vitamin A During Late Gestation on Intramuscular Fat Deposition in the Offspring


Marcio Duarte (University of Guelph) mduarte@uoguelph.ca

Katie Wood (University of Guelph); Ira Mandell (University of Guelph); Mike Steele (University of Guelph); Nick Serão (Iowa State University); Min Du (Washington State University); Mateus Gionbelli (Universidade Federal de Lavras); Fabyano Silva (Universidade Federal de Viçosa)

Status Project Code
In progress. Results expected in June, 2023 POC.14.20


Fetal programing has been extensively researched in previous years. Studies have shown that maternal nutrition during gestation impacts calf development, growth, and even meat quality. Meaning it is possible to supplement the cows and alter eventual meat quality of calves.


  • Investigate the effect of maternal vitamin A supplementation during late gestation on intramuscular adipogenesis and marbling deposition in the offspring.

What they will do

These researchers want to see if supplementing the cow with vitamin A during pregnancy will result in increased marbling in the calf. At 190 days of gestation 30 cows will be divided into 2 groups, one receiving additional vitamin A supplementation in feed and the other a control diet. Feed intake, cow weights and blood samples will be monitored.  After calving all calves will receive the same treatment until slaughter where weights and meat quality will be measured.


This project would help advance our understanding of fetal programing. Understanding effects of maternal supplementation on calf performance will help producers decide if additional supplementation would be cost effective.