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Comparison of wheat or corn dried distillers grains with solubles on rumen fermentation and nutrient digestibility by feedlot heifers

Walter, L.J., McAllister, T.A., Yang, W.Z., Beauchemin, K.A., He, M., McKinnon, J.J. (2012). Comparison of wheat or corn dried distillers grains with solubles on rumen fermentation and nutrient digestibility by feedlot heifers, 90(4), 1291-1300.


A 5 × 5 Latin square design trial was conducted to evaluate rumen fermentation and apparent nutrient digestibility in 5 rumen-cannulated heifers (420 ± 6 kg) fed a barley-based finishing diet supplemented with 20 or 40% wheat or corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). The composition of the control diet was 88.7% rolled barley grain, 5.5% supplement, and 5.8% barley silage (DM basis). Increasing the quantity of corn DDGS in the ration resulted in a quadratic decrease in DMI (P = 0.04) and OM intake (P = 0.05). Rumen pH, pH duration, and area under rumen pH thresholds of 5.8 or 5.5 were not affected (P > 0.05) by treatment. Inclusion of wheat DDGS resulted in a quadratic increase (P = 0.05) in pH area below the cutoff value of 5.2, with the most pronounced effect at 20% inclusion. Wheat DDGS linearly increased (P = 0.01) rumen NH3-N concentrations. Increasing the inclusion rate of wheat and corn DDGS resulted in quadratic (P = 0.05) and linear (P = 0.04) decreases in rumen propionate, whereas butyrate increased quadratically (P < 0.01) and linearly (P < 0.01), respectively. Feeding wheat DDGS linearly decreased (P < 0.01) DM and OM digestibility values. Inclusion of corn DDGS increased the digestibility values of ether extract (P = 0.05; quadratic response) and CP (P < 0.01; linear response). Neutral detergent fiber digestibility increased in a linear fashion (P = 0.01) as both wheat and corn DDGS inclusion increased, whereas ADF digestibility increased linearly (P = 0.03) for wheat and quadratically (P = 0.02) for corn DDGS. Increased inclusion of wheat DDGS resulted in a linear decrease in GE digestibility (P = 0.01), whereas increasing corn DDGS inclusion linearly increased (P < 0.01) the DE content of the diet. Feeding both wheat and corn DDGS linearly increased (P = 0.01) the excretion of N and P. In summary, replacement of barley grain with up to 40% wheat or corn DDGS did not mitigate rumen pH conditions associated with mild to moderate acidosis in heifers fed a barley-based finishing diet. Supplementing corn DDGS increased nutrient digestibility of all nutrients and, as a result, led to greater DE content. Supplementation of wheat DDGS reduced DM and OM digestibility values, with no effect on DE content. Increased N and P excretion by heifers fed DDGS at 20 or 40% of dietary DM presents a challenge for cattle feeders with respect to nutrient management. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

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