Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2006. 84:1205–1214. Copyright © 2006 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


One-hundred ninety-two crossbred steers (initial BW= 351 ± 11 kg) were used to determine the effects of removing alfalfa hay (AH) from dry-rolled corn-based diets containing wet corn gluten feed (WCGF) on animal performance and nutrient (N and OM) mass balance in open feedlot pens. Steers were stratified by weight and assigned randomly to 24 pens (2 × 3 factorial) and fed for 132 d from June to October 2002. Experimental diets contained either 0 or 35% WCGF and 0, 3.75, or 7.5% AH, and were formulated to be isonitrogenous. For efficiency of gain, an interaction occurred (P = 0.09) between AH and WCGF. Feed efficiencies of cattle fed 35% WCGF were improved 4.4% (P = 0.10) compared with efficiencies of cattle fed no WCGF at 0% AH; there was a marked improvement in ADG for cattle fed WCGF compared with no WCGF in diets with 0% AH. Within 35% WCGF diets, efficiency decreased as AH inclusion increased (P = 0.06). Efficiency was equal across AH levels when 0% WCGF was fed; however, ADG was decreased when AH was removed. Interactions between AH and WCGF were not detected for other performance or carcass criteria; therefore, main effects of AH and WCGF are discussed. Daily intake, ADG, and HCW increased linearly (P < 0.05) as dietary AH level increased. Feeding 35%WCGF also resulted in greater DMI (P < 0.01) and a tendency for greater ADG and HCW (P ≤ 0.10) compared with steers fed no WCGF. Interactions between AH and WCGF were not observed for feedlot N mass balance. As level of AH increased across diets, N intake, N retention, and N excretion increased (P < 0.05). Steers fed 35% WCGF consumed and excreted more N (P < 0.01) than those fed no WCGF. More manure DM (P = 0.11), OM, and N (P < 0.01) were removed from pens housing steers fed 35% WCGF as well as greater OM and N recovery in finished compost. More N (kilogram/steer) was also lost to volatilization as a result of greater N excretion when WCGF was fed. Expressed as a percentage of N excretion, loss of N from pens housing steers fed 0 and 35% WCGF was not different, averaging nearly 80%. These data suggest that AH has less value when dry-rolled corn-based diets contain 35% WCGF and can be decreased from conventional levels. Furthermore, loss of N from open feedlot pens is high during the summer months, and feeding WCGF may not reduce N losses during these times of year.