Effects of feeding corn modified wet distillers grain plus solubles co-ensiled with direct-cut forage on feedlot performance, carcass characteristics, and diet digestibility of finishing steers.J Anim Sci 2012; 90(10):3574-83JA
Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding corn modified wet distillers grain plus solubles (MWDGS) co-ensiled with direct-cut forage (DC) to beef steers, on feedlot performance and total tract digestibility. In Exp. 1, sixty-four crossbred Angus steers (n = 64; 329 ± 43 kg) were blocked by BW and randomly assigned to 1 of 4 dietary treatments: 1) corn-silage and soybean meal (CON), 2) DC co-ensiled with MWDGS (CO-EN), 3) haylage mixed with MWDGS at feeding (H+WDG), and 4) haylage mixed with dry distillers grains plus solubles at feeding (H+DDG). Steers were harvested when they reached an endpoint of 1.1 cm of 12th-rib back fat. In Exp. 2, four ruminally cannulated beef steers (initial BW = 556 ± 31 kg) were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square to evaluate digestibility of diets used in Exp. 1. Experimental periods were 14 d in length with 10 d for diet adaptation and 4 d for sample collection. Three linear orthogonal contrasts were used to compare effects of 1) CON vs. diets containing distillers grains (DGD), 2) CO-EN vs. diets where distillers grains were mixed at feeding (MIX), and 3) H+WDG vs. H+DDG. In Exp. 1, DMI was less (P < 0.001) for steers fed CON compared with those fed DGD and greatest (P < 0.001) for steers fed CO-EN compared with MIX. Corn-silage- and soybean-meal-fed steers had more days on feed than those fed DGD (P = 0.001). Body weight gain (P = 0.02) was greater for CO-EN compared with MIX. Fat thickness at the 12th and 13th ribs was greater (P = 0.03) for DGD steers compared with CON steers. Hot carcass weight was greater (P = 0.03) for steers fed CO-EN compared with those fed MIX. Steers fed CON resulted in greater marbling scores (P = 0.01) compared DGD-fed steers. Longissimus muscle area was greater (P = 0.01) for CON-fed steers compared with all other treatments. In Exp. 2, no differences (P > 0.10) in DM, OM, or N intakes were observed. Apparent total tract DM (P = 0.01) and N (P = 0.02) digestibility were greatest in steers fed CON compared with all others. Steers fed DGD had less (P = 0.02) rumen NH(3) concentrations compared with CON. The CON diet resulted in greater molar concentrations of VFA (P = 0.03) and decreased acetate to propionate ratio (P = 0.03) compared with all DGD. These data suggest that feeding MWDGS co-ensiled with direct-cut forage results in reduced diet digestibility but equal or greater feedlot performance and similar carcass and characteristics when compared with a corn diet supplemented with soybean meal and diets where MWDGS and DDGS were added at the mixer.