Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2009. 87:2323–2332. Copyright © 2009 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


A finishing trial and a digestion trial were conducted to evaluate the effects of corn hybrid and processing method on nutrient digestibility, finishing performance, and carcass characteristics. A 2 × 5 factorial arrangement of treatments was used for both trials. Factors included 2 processing methods, dry-rolled (DRC) or high-moisture (HMC), and 5 commercially available corn hybrids. The finishing trial (Exp. 1) utilized 475 yearling steers (379 ± 15 kg initial BW), stratified by BW into 2 blocks then assigned randomly to 1 of 60 pens (8 steers/pen). Treatments were assigned randomly to pens with 6 pens/treatment. Diets consisted of 67.5% corn (each hybrid processed as DRC or HMC), 20% wet corn gluten feed, 7.5% alfalfa hay, and 5% supplement. The digestion trial (Exp. 2) used 2 ruminally and duodenally fistulated Holstein steers (560 kg of BW) and the mobile bag technique. Bags were ruminally incubated for 22 h. For total tract digestibility, bags were subjected to a simulated abomasal pepsin digestion, inserted into the duodenum, and collected in the feces. No significant interactions between corn hybrid and processing method were observed in Exp. 1; therefore, only main effects are presented. Feeding HMC decreased (P < 0.01) DMI and increased (P < 0.01) G:F compared with cattle fed DRC. Hybrid tended to affect (P = 0.12) G:F, but did not affect (P > 0.36) any other variable. For Exp. 2, feeding HMC increased (P < 0.01) DM and starch digestibility compared with DRC, but to varying degrees depending on the hybrid. Correlating the results of the 2 trials across processing methods, strong relationships were observed between G:F and postruminal starch digestibility (r = 0.84) and total-tract starch digestibility (r = 0.73). When evaluated within processing method, these relationships weakened and were not significant. The results of these trials indicate that processing method had a larger effect on performance and digestibility than hybrid, and no interaction was observed between processing method and hybrid, suggesting hybrid effects were consistent across processing methods.