Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Translational Animal Science, 2022, 6, 1–9



This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License


Two studies were conducted to determine interactions of urea inclusion to a dried distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS; 29.4% crude protein, 5.48% ether extract) supplement fed at two amounts and two frequencies to steers on a high forage diet. In Exp. 1, 120 (247 kg; SD = 20) steers were fed individually for 84 d. Steers received ad libitum grass hay (6.8% crude protein) and one of eight treatments. Treatment design was a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial. Supplement was fed daily or three times per week, amount of supplement fed was 6.36 kg dry matter (DM)/week [0.37% body weight (BW); LO] or 12.73 kg DM/week (0.74% BW; HI) and contained either no urea or 1.3% urea on a DM basis. Steer BW was measured at the start and end of the trial and hay DM intake (DMI) was measured weekly. In Exp. 2, ruminally cannulated steers (310 kg; SD = 25) were used in a row-column design with eight steers and six 14-d periods. Treatments assigned were the same as Exp. 1, except that supplement was fed at 0.4% of BW (LO) or 0.8% of BW (HI) and supplement was fed either daily (DY) or every other day (ALT). Hay DMI, rumen ammonia-N, rumen pH, in situ neutral detergent fiber (NDF) disappearance, and rumination were measured. In Exp. 1, average daily gain (ADG) was affected by amount of supplement with steers on HI gaining 0.30 kg/d more (P < 0.01) than LO. Hay DMI was reduced by increased amount of supplement (0.39 kg/d; P < 0.01) and by decreased frequency of supplementation (0.54 kg/d; P < 0.01). In Exp. 2, hay DMI was also reduced due to increased amount of supplement and decreased frequency of supplementation (P < 0.01). Rumen pH was decreased on the day of supplement feeding for steers on ALT (P < 0.01) and reduced for steers fed HI vs. LO. There was no difference in NDF digestibility between DY and ALT (P > 0.05). For ALT steers, there was reduction (P < 0.01) in in situ NDF disappearance for the HI compared to LO amount of supplementation on the day of supplementation. Infrequent supplementation of DDGS results in no difference in ADG but decreased hay DMI compared to daily supplementation. Urea had no effect on digestion or ADG, suggesting rumen degradable protein was not deficient when supplementing DDGS. There is little change in rumen fermentation parameters between frequency of supplement feeding, indicating that forage digestion is not impacted by supplementation frequency. Dried distillers grains can be supplemented infrequently without a reduction in animal performance.