Research shows promise for DDGS
Beef cows need less supplemental protein than dairy cows, but in many
production systems they are fed poor-quality, low-protein forages. In these
situations distillers grains fit well as a supplemental protein
Little research has been conducted to specifically evaluate distillers grains
in beef-cow rations. However, extensive research with growing-finishing cattle
as well as lactating dairy cows gives some insight into when and where
distillers grains may fit for beef cows.
These situations include
feeding as a protein source, particularly for low-quality forages (replace CGF
or soybean meal), as a low starch-high fibre energy source (replace CGF or soy
hulls), and as a source of supplemental fat (soybean
Distillers grains can be fed as an excellent source of
supplemental un-degraded or "bypass" protein for high producing dairy cows. Up
to 20% of the ration dry matter can be fed in these situations. When corn gluten
feed or distillers dried grain were compared by Illinois researchers as
supplements to ground alfalfa hay for lactating Simmental cows, distillers dried
grain fed cows gained more weight per day, but corn gluten feed fed cows
produced more milk. Calf weights and rebreeding performance were similar.
In subsequent feeding trials, Illinois workers compared supplementing
ground cornstalks with either dried distillers grains with solubles or corn
gluten feed in lactating beef cows. Both 114 Simmental and 88 Angus cows nursing
calves were used in the two experiments where limit- fed, total mixed rations
There was no significant difference due to type of
co-product used, as both products resulted in similar milk production and calf
weight gain. Distillers grains, like corn gluten feed, are low in starch and may
be more effective as an energy supplement with poor quality forages.
From several trials it could be concluded that:
For average cows in
good condition for the last 1/3 of gestation, 1.4 - 2.3 kg of distillers dried
grain or 3.6 - 6.8 kg of wet distillers grain per day will meet their protein
and energy requirements when fed as a supplement to corn stalks.
average cows in good condition for early lactation, 2.7 - 3.6 kg of distillers
dried grain or 9 - 10.4 kg of wet distillers grain will meet their protein and
energy requirements when fed as a supplement for corn stalks.
rations should be fine-tuned for the specific cow size, stage of production,
condition score and weight gain requirements, environmental conditions, feed
analyses and operational goals. Additionally, vitamin and mineral ration
concentrations need to be evaluated.
Source: Ethanol co-products for cattle (Iowa State Ag
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