Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2007. 85:2625–2630. Copyright © 2007 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Ten ruminally cannulated heifers (BW = 416 kg; SD = 24) were used to test the effect of the form and frequency of supplemental energy on forage DMI and digestibility. Five treatments were arranged in a replicated, 5 × 4 Latin rectangle (n = 8), and included no supplement (control), dry-rolled corn (DRC) fed daily, DRC fed on alternate days (DRC-A), dried distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS) fed daily, and DDGS fed on alternate days (DDGS-A). Supplements fed daily were fed at 0.40% of BW, whereas alternate day-fed supplements were fed at 0.80% of BW every other day. Chopped grass hay (8.2% CP) was fed to allow ad libitum DMI, and the intake pattern was measured. Control heifers had greater (P < 0.01) hay DMI than supplemented heifers (1.88 vs. 1.66% of BW daily, respectively), although total DMI was lower (P < 0.01) for control. Hay DMI did not differ (P = 0.45) between DRC and DDGS, and tended to be lower (P = 0.08) by heifers on DDGS-A and DRC-A than by heifers supplemented daily. Hay intake was lower (P < 0.01) on supplementation days for DDGS-A and DRC-A than on nonsupplemented days. Heifers in alternate-day treatments had fewer (P < 0.01) and larger (P < 0.01) meals and spent less (P < 0.01) time eating than those supplemented daily. Average rumen pH was greater (P = 0.05) for control than supplemented heifers (6.30 vs. 6.19). Control heifers had greater (P = 0.04) rates and extents of NDF disappearance than supplemented heifers. Rate of hay NDF disappearance was lower (P = 0.02) for DRC than for DDGS. Supplementation decreased hay DMI and changed digestion kinetics. Supplementation frequency affected amount and pattern of DMI. Rate of hay NDF disappearance was greater for DDGS than DRC.