Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Published in 2009 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report (Lincoln, NE: December, 2008). Copyright © 2008 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


Six ruminally cannulated steers were used in a 6 x 6 Latin square with treatments arranged as a 2 x 3 factorial with alfalfa hay or cornstalks included at a normal, low or zero level on an equal neutral detergent fiber (NDF) basis. The base finishing diet contained 30% wet distillers grains plus solubles (WDGS). No source x level interactions were observed. Roughage source had no effect on nutrient intake, dry matter (DM) and organic matter (OM) digestibility or ruminal pH. Digestibility of NDF tended to be higher for alfalfa hay compared to cornstalks. Ruminal pH, DMI and NDF intake increased linearly while nutrient digestibility decreased linearly as roughage level increased. These data indicate that in finishing diets containing 30% wet distillers grains plus solubles (WDGS) roughages can be exchanged on an equal NDF basis and it is not beneficial to completely eliminate roughage sources from the diet.