January 21, 2009

Distillers grains a good supplement for stocker cattle

Dr. Dale A. Blasi of Kansas State University recently spent a few minutes doing a Q/A with Cattlenetwork.com to talk about distillers grains and grazing stocker cattle.

You can find the full interview here.

Several good points are made, including the following:

Dr. Dale, let's look at the value of DDGS as a forage supplement to grazing stocker cattle. As forage quality changes throughout the grazing season, can DDGS continue to add anything to the mix?

A: "Yes, the results of several grass-based trials conducted at Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas indicate that DDGS provides the necessary protein, energy and minerals to promote consistent increases in daily gain and final body weights. Nebraska researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis of several grazing trials involving a variety of grass types, cattle sizes and grazing duration and concluded that supplementing DDGS to cattle grazing pasture linearly increased final body weight (P<0.01).

An interesting aspect of these research results is the conservative estimate of 0.76 pound reduced forage intake per pound of DDGS dry matter supplemented. For example, assuming 16 pounds of dry-matter intake for control cattle, the savings would be 24 percent of grass with supplementation of 5 pounds of dry matter from DDGS. Said another way, there is more standing grass left at the end of a grazing season which allows the operator to stock heavier and effectively reduce grazing costs per given land area or safely achieve grazing performance targets in light of unpredictable forage growing conditions.”

Much more info is available from the Nebraska Corn Board - through its series of distillers grains manuals. For example, there is one on storing wet distillers grains. Plus there's the Utilization of Corn Co-Products in the Dairy Industry and an updated Utilization of Corn Co-Products in the Beef Industry. All are available here.

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