Date of this Version
The Professional Animal Scientist 23 (2007):170–173
Seventy-nine crossbred steers and heifers born in June or August were stratified by weight, calving group, and sex and assigned to treatment or control. Yearlings in the treatment group (TRT; n = 40) grazed native summer Sandhill range and had access to ad libitum dried distillers grains (DDG) pellet in a creep feeder for 54 d of a 63-d grazing period. Control (CON; n = 39) yearlings grazed in an adjacent pasture without DDG. Immediately after the grazing period, yearlings were placed in a feedlot and fed to a similar finish end point. Individual forage and DDG intake estimates and animal ADG and carcass characteristics were used to determine the value of DDG to TRT yearlings at the end of the grazing period and at harvest. Intake of DDG averaged 4.99 kg/d DM. Summer ADG was greater (P < 0.01) for TRT (1.27 kg/ d) than CON (0.88 kg/d). Yearlings previously allowed access to DDG gained more (P < 0.01) during the first 30 d in the feedlot (1.32 vs. 1.10 kg/d for TRT and CON, respectively).
Yearlings allowed access to DDG were harvested 14 d before CON (138 d on feed). Final weight, feedlot ADG, and carcass characteristics were similar between TRT and CON. There was a tendency (P = 0.15) for TRT cattle to have a higher percentage grading choice, (67 vs. 51% for TRT and CON, respectively). The value of DDG to yearlings grazing Sandhill range was greater than the estimated cost at both the grazing and harvest endpoints.