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Feeding fat from distillers dried grains with solubles to dairy heifers: I. Effects on growth performance and total-tract digestibility of nutrients

J.L. Anderson, K.F. Kalscheur, A.D. Garcia, D.J. Schingoethe
Journal of dairy science 2015 v.98 no.8 pp. 5699-5708
Holstein, average daily gain, body condition, body length, body weight, corn, corn silage, crude protein, dairy heifers, dietary energy sources, dietary fat, digestibility, digestion, distillers grains, dry matter intake, energy, grass hay, growth performance, heart, hips, minerals, neutral detergent fiber, nutrients, organic matter, soybean products, starch, vitamins
The objective of this study was to determine if increased dietary fat from dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in diets of growing heifers affected dry matter intake, average daily gain (ADG), growth performance, and nutrient digestibility. Thirty-three Holstein heifers (133±18 d old) were used in a 24-wk randomized complete block design. Treatments were (1) control (CON) containing ground corn and soybean products, (2) low-fat (LFDG) containing low-fat, high-protein DDGS and ground corn, and (3) high-fat (HFDG) with traditional DDGS. All diets contained 39.8% grass hay, 24.8% corn silage, and 1.5% vitamins and minerals. The HFDG diet was formulated to contain 4.8% fat compared with 2.8% in the CON and LFDG diets, which were greater in nonfibrous carbohydrate. Diets had a net energy gain of 1.0Mcal/kg of dry matter and were limit-fed at 2.45% of body weight. Heifers were weighed every 2wk and rations were adjusted accordingly. Heart girth, hip and wither heights, body length, and body condition score were recorded every 2wk. Total-tract digestion of nutrients was evaluated during wk16 using fecal grab sampling and an external marker. No treatments by time interactions were found. Dry matter intakes, body weights, ADG, and gain-to-feed ratio were similar among treatments; however, ADG averaged 0.96kg/d among treatments, which is greater than recommended. All body frame measurements and body condition scores were similar among treatments. Total-tract digestibilities of dry matter and organic matter were not different among treatments. However, crude protein and neutral detergent fiber digestibility were increased in the HFDG diet compared with the CON and LFDG diets. These results demonstrate that using DDGS or low-fat DDGS with corn in growing heifer rations can maintain performance. Utilizing the fat in DDGS as a dietary energy source in replacement of starch from corn did not influence growth performance or negatively affect nutrient digestion.