Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Animal Science 2002. 80:1105–1111. Copyright © 2002 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Beef finishing and dairy lactation experiments were conducted to evaluate the nutritional value of distillers grains (DG) from sorghum or corn fermentation, in both wet (35.4% DM) and dry (92.2% DM) form (dairy trial only). In the finishing experiment, 60 yearling steers were used in a completely randomized design with three diets that were fed for 127 d: 1) control diet with 86% (DM basis) dry-rolled corn and no DG; 2) 30% of ration DM as wet corn DG in place of dry-rolled corn; and 3) 30% of ration DM as wet sorghum DG in place of dry-rolled corn. All diets contained a minimum of 6.8% degradable intake protein and 13.0% CP. Steers fed DG had 10% greater ADG (< 0.01) and 8% greater efficiency of gain (P < 0.01) than steers fed the control diet. Wet corn and sorghum DG resulted in similar ADG and efficiency of gain. Hot carcass weights, fat thickness, and yield grades were greater for steers fed DG than for controls (P < 0.07). Improvements in ADG and feed efficiency observed when DG replaced dry-rolled corn indicated that the NEg content of wet DG is approximately 29% greater than that of dry-rolled corn. In the dairy lactation experiment, 16 lactating Holstein cows (eight multiparous, including four fistulated) were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with 4-wk periods. Corn and sorghum DG were fed at 15% of the ration DM in either wet or dry form. Diets were fed as total mixed rations that contained 50% of a 1:1 mixture of alfalfa and corn silages, 24.3% ground corn, and 9.1% soybean meal (DM basis). There was no effect of source or form of DG on DMI, ruminal pH and VFA, or in situ digestion kinetics of NDF from DG. Efficiency of milk production was unaffected by diet. Corn and sorghum DG resulted in relatively similar performance when fed to beef or dairy cattle in this study.