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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312502

Title: Ensiling characteristics of distillers wet grains with corn stalks and determination of the feeding potential for dairy heifers

item ANDERSON, JILL - South Dakota State University
item Kalscheur, Kenneth
item GARCIA, ALVARO - South Dakota State University
item SCHINGOETHE, DAVID - South Dakota State University
item CASPER, DAVID - South Dakota State University
item KLEINSCHMIT, DARYL - Agri-King, Inc

Submitted to: Professional Animal Scientist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2015
Publication Date: 8/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Anderson, J.L., Kalscheur, K., Garcia, A.D., Schingoethe, D.J., Casper, D.P., Kleinschmit, D.H. 2015. Ensiling characteristics of distillers wet grains with corn stalks and determination of the feeding potential for dairy heifers. Professional Animal Scientist. 31:359-367.

Interpretive Summary: Distillers wet grains with solubles (DWGS) is a high quality, economical, readily available feed in the upper midwest United States, but long-term storage can be an issue. Previous research has demonstrated that combining various feedstuffs with distillers grains may improve characteristics and stability of the ensiled mixture. Corn stalks are commonly available and may be a viable option for ensiling with DWGS resulting in a lower-cost feedstuff for growing dairy heifers. In addition, silage additives may aid in improving an ensiled DWGS-corn stalk mixture. This study evaluated the effectiveness of ensiling DWGS and corn stalks with or without ensiling additive and further evaluated the feeding potential of the ensiled feedstuffs in growing dairy heifer diets. Treating the DWGS and corn stalk blend with the silage additive did not have an effect on the ensiling characteristics measured, but did improve digestibility. Feeding the ensiled DWGS-corn stalk blends resulted in similar heifer growth performance and improved feed efficiency (gain to feed) compared to heifers fed the control diet containing no DWGS and corn stalks. This study was preliminary with limited scope; therefore, longer term research should be conducted to determine if the improved nutrient digestion translates into improved animal performance.

Technical Abstract: The characteristics and feeding potential of corn distillers wet grains with solubles (DWGS) ensiled with corn stalks (CS) were evaluated in a two-part experiment. A mix of 66.7 % DWGS and 33.3 % CS (as-fed) was ensiled in two plastic silage bags. One silage bag was left untreated (UNT) and the other was treated (TRT) with a silage additive. Silos were sampled for analysis on days 0, 7, 14, and 21. The ensiling study was followed by a 6-week randomized complete block design feeding study using 12 dairy heifers (initial BW of 225.7 ± 3.03 kg) with three diets. Treatment diets were: 1) control (CON) consisting of 30.3% grain mix and 69.7% alfalfa and orchard grass hay; 2) 99% UNT blend and 1% mineral mix; and 3) 99% TRT blend and 1% mineral mix on a DM basis. In the ensiling study, blends were similar in DM, CP, ADF, pH, lactic acid and acetic acid. In the feeding study, body frame measurements and ADG were similar among heifers fed all diets. Dry matter intakes were greater and gain to feed was less (P <0.01) for heifers fed CON compared to UNT and TRT diets. Total tract DM digestibility was greater (P < 0.05) for heifers fed CON and TRT compared to UNT. Digestibility of NDF, ADF, and CP were less for heifers fed CON and UNT diets compared to TRT. Ensiled DWGS with CS can make a quality feed for heifers.