3 years ago

Feeding distillers' grains, soybean hulls, or a mixture of both to cows as a forage replacement: Effects on intake, digestibility, and ruminal fermentation characteristics.

Coffey, Young, Smith, Kegley, Philipp, Rhein, Caldwell, Powell
Coproduct feedstuffs offer a unique and potentially profitable avenue for cattle feeding strategies. However, research is lacking in the evaluation of varying coproducts on ruminal fermentation and digestive characteristics when included as the major component of the diet of cows. Our objective was to determine the effect of coproduct feedstuffs as a forage replacement on digestive and fermentative characteristics of cows. Eight ruminally fistulated cows (672 ± 32.0 kg initial BW and approximately 9 yr of age) were stratified by BW and randomly allocated to 1 of 4 diets (2 cows∙diet∙period) in a 2-period study: soybean hulls (SH), distillers' dried grains with solubles (DG), an isoenergetic mixture of soybean hulls and distillers' dried grains with solubles (MX), or ad libitum hay plus 0.9 kg/d of an isoenergetic mixture of soybean hulls and distillers' dried grains with solubles (HY). Diets were formulated to meet the ME requirements of a similar, companion study. Coproduct amounts were increased over a 14-d period. This was followed by a 14-d adaptation to diet and facilities and 5 d of total fecal collections. On the final day of fecal collections, rumen fluid was sampled immediately prior to feeding and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 h after feeding for measurement of rumen VFA and ammonia concentrations. Intake of DM and OM was not different ( ≥ 0.28) among treatments, but digestibilities of DM, OM, NDF, and ADF were improved ( < 0.05) by coproduct feeding and by MX vs. the mean of SH and DG. Ruminal DM and OM fill were greater ( < 0.05) for cows offered HY than for cows offered the coproduct diets, greater for cows offered SH than for cows offered DG, and for the mean of SH and DG vs. MX. Ruminal retention time was greater ( < 0.05) for HY vs. the coproduct diets and for SH vs. DG. Apparent N absorption tended ( < 0.10) to be greater for cows offered the coproduct diets than for cows offered HY and greater for cows offered DG than for cows offered SH. Total VFA averaged across sampling times were greatest ( < 0.05) for cows offered SH, and ruminal ammonia N was greatest ( < 0.05) for cows offered either DG or MX at all sampling times. Based on these data, coproduct feedstuffs may be fed to meet the energy requirement of cows without negative effects on digestion or ruminal fermentation.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2017.1379

DOI: 10.2527/jas.2017.1379

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