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Limited previous research has investigated feeding high levels of condensed distillers solubles (CDS) as an energy source for feedlot cattle. As an energy dense and relatively inexpensive by-product feed from ethanol production, CDS may provide another opportunity to replace high priced corn in finishing diets. Two feedlot studies and one metabolism study were conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding CDS in both corn-based diets, and in combination with other by-product feeds on cattle performance and carcass characteristics. Inclusion of up to 36% CDS, providing 9.4% dietary fat improved performance relative to a corn-based control, with the optimum level of CDS being approximately 27% of diet DM. Optimum inclusion of CDS in diets containing modified distillers grains plus solubles appears to be lower than in diets containing Synergy (a blend of wet corn gluten feed and modified distillers grains) and depends on the nutrient content of the basal diet. Feeding CDS in either a corn-based diet or in combination with wet distillers grains plus solubles (WDGS) had no effect on nutrient digestibility, but slightly decreased acetate to propionate ratio. Dietary fat and sulfur content must be monitored in these diets to avoid potential negative effects on animal performance. In an effort to further evaluate how alternative feeds interact with diets containing ethanol by-product feeds, a finishing trial was conducted to evaluate the addition of 20% field peas to diets with or without 30% WDGS. Both peas and WDGS improved feed efficiency relative to the corn-based control, however the combination of the two feeds interacted, with performance of those cattle being intermediate to those fed either peas or WDGS only. Condensed distillers solubles and field peas can replace a portion of the corn in finishing diets while maintaining or improving cattle performance.
Adviser: Galen E. Erickson