Effects of wet corn distiller's grains with solubles and nonprotein nitrogen on feeding efficiency, growth performance, carcass characteristics, and nutrient losses of yearling steers | Academic Article individual record

Wet distiller's grains with solubles (WDGS) are a common by-product feedstuff generated by the grain-ethanol industry, and it is used extensively by the cattle feeding industry. Distillers grains are typically high in protein; however, the protein in WDGS has a low ruminal degradability, and thus may result in a deficiency of RDP in the diet even when dietary CP concentrations are high. Assessment of the RDP needs in diets containing WDGS is needed to aid the cattle feeding industry in managing feed costs and potential environmental issues. To that end, we conducted 2 feeding studies to evaluate the supplemental RDP requirements of beef cattle fed steam-flaked corn-based finishing diets. In Exp. 1, 525 yearling steers (initial body weight = 373 ± 13 kg) received treatments in a 2 × 3 + 1 factorial. Dietary factors included WDGS (15 or 30% of DM) and nonprotein N (NPN; 0, 1.5, or 3.0% of DM) from urea (0, 0.52, and 1.06%). The control diet without WDGS contained 3.0% NPN (1.06% urea) and cottonseed meal. Diets were formulated to have equal crude fat concentrations. Overall gain efficiency among steers fed 15% WDGS was greatest for 1.5% NPN and least for 0% NPN (P = 0.07, quadratic), whereas gain efficiency decreased linearly (P < 0.09) as NPN increased in the 30% WDGS diets. Dressing percent was greater (P < 0.01) for the Control diet than for 15 or 30% WDGS. In Exp. 2, 296 steer calves (initial BW = 344 ± 12 kg) were fed 1 of 4 experimental diets that included a Control diet without WDGS (contained 3% NPN from urea, and cottonseed meal) and 15% WDGS diets with either 1.50, 2.25, or 3.00% NPN (0.52, 0.78, and 1.04% urea, respectively, on a DM basis). Overall gain efficiency on either a live or carcass-adjusted basis was not different among treatments (P > 0.15). Dietary NPN concentration did not influence growth performance (P > 0.21). Increasing dietary WDGS concentration resulted in decreasing (P < 0.05) diet digestibility (determined with an internal marker) and increasing (P < 0.05) N volatilization losses (determined by diet and manure N:P ratio); however, the effects of NPN level on digestibility and N losses were somewhat inconsistent across experiments. Results suggest that optimum performance for cattle fed 15% WDGS occurred when the diet contained between 1.5 and 2.25% NPN. However, no supplemental NPN was needed to support optimum performance in diets containing 30% WDGS.

author list (cited authors)
Ponce, C. H., Cole, N. A., Sawyer, J., da Silva, J., Smith, D. R., Maxwell, C., & Brown, M. S.
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  • Distiller’s Grains
  • Distiller's Grains
  • Npn
  • N Losses
  • Growth
  • Urea
  • Beef Cattle
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