Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2006
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Archibeque, S.L., Miller, D.N., Freetly, H.C., Ferrell, C.L. 2006. Feeding high-moisture corn instead of dry-rolled corn reduces odiferous compound production in manure of finishing beef cattle without decreasing performance. Journal of Animal Science. 84:1767-1777. Interpretive Summary: These data demonstrate that feeding a high-moisture corn-based diet in lieu of a dry-rolled corn finishing diet will reduce the production of malodorous compounds in both fresh fecal composites and in manure slurries that were incubated over time by reducing the amount of starch available in feces for microbial fermentation. This demonstrates a simple feeding practice with potential for reducing odor production from confined cattle feeding operations. However, more research is needed to evaluate other feedstuffs that have high starch digestibilities, but not necessarily less total starch, such as steam flaked corn.
Technical Abstract: We hypothesized that feeding steers ground high moisture ensiled (HM) corn in lieu of dry rolled (DR) corn would reduce both the amount of starch being excreted in the manure and the associated odiferous compound production. One hundred, forty-eight crossbred steers (363 +/- 33 kg) were fed either a DR- or HM-based diet in a feeding trial and eight Charolais-sired steers (447 +/- 22 kg) were used in a nutrient balance study. Steers fed HM corn tended to have a slightly lower DMI (P = 0.09), ADG (P = 0.06), and yield grade, but gain:feed, final carcass weight, and quality grade did not differ (P > 0.23) between treatments. Feeding HM corn reduced (P = 0.02) starch intake from 5,407 to 4,846 g/d, reduced (P < 0.01) fecal excretion of starch from 448 to 292 g/d, and improved (P = 0.03) starch digestibility from 91.7 to 94.1% compared to steers fed DR corn. Nitrogen intake was greater (P < 0.01) for steers fed DR than HM corn in both studies, but N retention did not differ (P = 0.55). Heat production, energy retention, and N retention did not differ between the two treatments (P > 0.55). In manure slurries incubated for 35d with soil and water, total VFA concentration was lower (P < 0.01) in manure from steers fed HM corn (1,625 micromol/gDM) compared to steers fed DR corn (3,041 micromol/gDM). Lower initial (d 0) starch concentrations and higher initial pH was also observed in the slurries from the HM manure. By d 3 of slurry incubation, there was an increase (P < 0.01) in free glucose and L-lactic acid in the DR slurries, but not in the HM slurries. During manure incubation, the alcohol and VFA content increased (P < 0.01) and pH declined in both manures, but to a lesser extent (P < 0.01) in the HM slurries. However, there was a greater (P < 0.01) increase in the branch-chain VFA in the HM slurries than in the DR slurries. These data suggest that feeding HM corn decreased fecal starch and production of some potentially odiferous compounds in a finishing cattle system with little impact on animal productivity as compared to DR corn.