Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Dairy Sci. (2010) 93:3166–3175 © 2010 Journal of Dairy Science Used by Permission doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2962


The objectives of this experiment were to determine the effects of forage type on nutrient digestibility, purine derivative excretion, nitrogen utilization, and milk production in dairy cattle consuming rations containing high levels of wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS). Primiparous (n = 8) and multiparous (n = 20) Holstein cows were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square. Animals were fed 1 of 4 treatments during each 21-d period: 1) CONT-CS, 0% WDGS and high corn silage; 2) CONT-AS, 0% WDGS and high alfalfa silage; 3) WDGS-CS, 25% WDGS and high corn silage; and 4) WDGS-AS, 25% WDGS and high alfalfa silage (dry matter basis). Intake and milk data were collected daily and averaged for d 15 to 21 of each period. Dry matter intake was lower for CONT-CS than for CONT-AS, WDGS-CS, and WDGS-AS (22.5, 24.6, 24.6, and 24.8 kg/d, respectively). Digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, and N were not affected by treatment, averaging 59.6, 62.3, 40.1, and 58.6%, respectively. Excretion of urinary purine derivatives was greatest for WDGS-AS, followed by WDGS-CS, and then CONT-CS and CONT-AS. Thus, by calculation, estimated microbial protein flow was highest for WDGS-AS (2,189.9 g/d) followed by WDGS-CS (1,996.2 g/d), CONT-AS (1,640.0 g/d), and CONT-CS (1,627.0 g/d). Mass of fecal N was not different among treatments (averaging 287.1 ± 14.8 g/d), but urinary and manure N were reduced for rations with WDGS compared with those not including WDGS. Observed 4% fat-corrected milk was greatest for WDGS-AS, followed by WDGS-CS, and then CONT-CS and CONTAS (30.7, 29.7, 28.3, and 27.2 kg/d, respectively). Milk protein yield was greatest for WDGS-AS (1.00 kg/d), followed by WDGS-CS, and then CONT-AS and CONT-CS (0.96, 0.91, 0.86 kg/d, respectively). This research demonstrated that rations can be balanced for dairy cattle to include up to 25% WDGS and result in increased microbial protein synthesis, milk production, and milk protein yield.