Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2184



Summary and Implications

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate modified wet distillers grains (DGS) as a supplement for roughages. Wet DGS was superior to a mixture of corn and wet DGS as a supplement with tub-ground grass hay for growing steer calves in a 112-d study. Performance of steers fed the grass hay supplemented with DGS or the mixture of corn and DGS was superior to calves fed corn silage. However when DGS was priced the same as corn on a dry basis, cost of gain was less for steers fed corn silage. When DGS was prices at 75% or less the cost of corn, cost of gain was less for calves fed the hay and DGS. Only when DGS was prices at 50% the cost of corn and when cost of corn was above $3/bu was cost of gain less for calves fed hay and the mixture of corn and DGS compared to calves fed corn silage. In the second experiment steer calves weighing 690 lbs were fed a typical corn-based finishing diet for 186 days or a diet of tub-ground corn stalks supplemented with modified wet DGS for 210 days. Steers fed the stover-DGS diet did not gain as well as steers fed the corn-based diet and produced fewer USDA Choice grading carcasses (31% vs. 83%). Cost of gain was less for steers fed the stover-DGS diet at all costs of DGS up to equal to the cost of corn on a dry basis as well as prices of corn from $2 to $4/bu. Results of these two preliminary studies indicate that modified wet DGS is a suitable supplement for mid to lower quality roughages for feeding cattle and it is possible to produce acceptable grading beef without grain. For such programs to be financially successful the price of DGS relative to corn grain on a dry basis and final weight of the cattle are important considerations.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University