Date of this Version
Corn residue is an abundant feed source in Nebraska that can be utilized as an alternative winter feed. Calves were backgrounded on corn residue in order to determine gain and estimate forage intake when supplemented with distillers grains (DGS). Calves grazing the non-irrigated field gained more (1.03 kg/calf daily) when compared to those grazing the irrigated field (0.90 kg/calf daily; P < 0.01). In year 1, a quadratic effect for intake of DGS was present (P < 0.01) while year 2 observed a linear effect for increasing level of DGS (P < 0.01). The nutritional quality of corn residue was evaluated over time in order to determine changes in blade/sheath, cob, husk/shank and stem. Minimal changes in DM of the forage components occurred was grain reached 15.5% moisture. Digestibility of the blade/sheath declined linearly over time (P < 0.01) while the husk remained constant (P = 0.40). Cob digestibility decreased quadratically (P < 0.01) throughout the sampling period with few changes once grain reached 15.5% moisture. Differences observed in the digestibility of the blade/sheath were attributed to the effects of weathering. A third set of trials was conducted to evaluate the effects of by-product supplementation of calves grazing irrigated corn residue and supplemented with DGS or continuous access to lick tubs. The DGS treatment gained more (0.62 kg/calf daily) than the lick tub treatment (0.38 kg/calf daily; P < 0.01). Calves offered DGS consumed more supplement as a percentage of BW (0.52%) when compared with calves offered lick tubs (0.36%; P < 0.01) on a DM basis. Calves supplemented with DGS had a higher supplement efficiency (46.3% to 42.9%, DM basis) although no differences were present between treatments (P = 0.49). When analyzed on an OM basis, however, calves offered lick tubs had a numerically higher supplement efficiency (50.4%) in comparison to calves supplemented with DGS at 48.1% (P = 0.64). The greater supplement efficiency for the lick tubs on an OM basis was attributed to the higher mineral content of the lick tubs.
Advisor: James C. MacDonald