Animal Science, Department of


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Published in Journal of Dairy Science 92:401–413; doi:10.3168/jds.2008-1141 © American Dairy Science Association, 2009. Used by permission.


The objectives of this study were to evaluate the dynamics of gas production of several corn (co)products, to develop equations to predict the rate of ruminal fiber digestion, to estimate total digestible nutrients (TDN) and net energy for lactation (NEL), and to assess the stochasticity of chemical composition and nutritive value variability. Four corn milling (co)products were evaluated in this study: high protein dried distillers grains (HP-DDG), corn bran (BRAN) and dehydrated germ (GERM), and a dried distillers grains plus soluble produced with a low-heat drying process (BPX). Alfalfa hay was used as an internal standard feed in the in vitro fermentation dynamics analysis. Standard chemical analyses, in vitro digestibility, and in vitro gas production techniques were used to obtain the necessary physicochemical characterization of feeds. The in vitro dry matter digestibility at 24 and 48 h of incubation decreased exponentially as acid detergent insoluble nitrogen increased. However, the degree of in vitro dry matter digestibility reduction was more accentuated at 24 than at 48 h of incubation. The difference among these feeds regarding the dynamics of the anaerobic fermentation within different substrates (intact feed, and fiber and defatted residues) was evaluated. Results suggested that the proportion of fiber digested in the rumen was affected by the degree of sample processing and fat removal. Fractional fermentation rate (kf) of neutral detergent residue (without sodium sulfite) and defatted fiber residue for BRAN, GERM, HP-DDG, and BPX was estimated to be 0.0635 and 0.0852 h−1, 0.0803 and 0.0914 h−1, 0.118 and 0.117 h−1, and 0.0695 and 0.0844 h−1, respectively. The most influential variables affecting kfNDR of HP-DDG and BPX also affected the predicted TDN, suggesting that fiber quality is essential to ensure higher TDN values for these feeds. Our study indicated that it is possible to routinely quantify the rate of fiber digestion and this approach may be based on common analytical procedures namely estimates of neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, acid detergent insoluble nitrogen, ether extract, and acid detergent lignin. Our simulations of TDN values demonstrated that differences in fermentability and chemical composition of these corn (co)products might considerably affect the supply of energy to lactating dairy cow. The analytical methods developed in this study may serve as a valuable tool to assess nutrient quality and uniformity when samples differ in chemical composition.