Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Animal Science, Under the Supervision of Professors Galen E. Erickson and Terry J. Klopfenstein. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Joshua R. Benton


During ethanol production, starch is the primary nutrient fermented and the remaining byproducts are excellent sources of fiber and protein. In addition, inclusion of byproducts in finishing diets may reduce the incidence of acidosis. As a result, roughage level and quality could potentially be reduced in finishing diets containing byproducts. Three experiments were conducted to examine the effects of roughage and wet corn gluten feed (WCGF) in finishing cattle diets containing corn distillers grains plus solubles. Cattle fed finishing diets containing wet distillers grains plus solubles (WDGS) with no roughage had decreased DMI and ADG compared to cattle fed roughage. Within roughage level, ADG was similar for cattle fed alfalfa hay, corn silage or corn stalks when included on an equal NDF basis. Apparent total tract digestibility of OM, NDF, and CP linearly decreased and ruminal pH variables increased linearly due to increasing roughage levels. Roughage sources can be exchanged on an equal NDF basis in beef finishing diets containing 30% WDGS (DM basis). In finishing diets containing modified distillers grains plus solubles (MDGS), DMI linearly increased due to increasing roughage levels but ADG responded quadratically and was lowest for cattle fed diets without roughage. There was also a quadratic response for DMI and ADG due to WCGF inclusion level. Gain:feed decreased linearly with increasing roughage and WCGF inclusion levels. Feeding 15% WCGF resulted in similar cattle performance and carcass traits to cattle fed no WCGF in diets containing 30% MDGS, but cattle fed diets with 60% total byproduct inclusion made up of 30% WCGF and 30% MDGS had reduced performance (DM basis). Additionally, reducing corn silage inclusion level to 7.5% resulted in similar finishing cattle performance and carcass traits to cattle fed 15% corn silage in diets containing 30% MDGS with or without inclusion of WCGF. Elimination of roughage in diets containing either WDGS or MDGS resulted in negative impacts on finishing cattle performance, ruminal metabolism, and carcass traits.