The growing ethanol industry in the Southern Great Plains has recently increased the use of wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) in beef cattle finishing diets. Two experiments were conducted to evaluate odorous compound production in urine and feces of feedlot steers fed diets with different concentrations of WDGS and different grain processing methods. In both experiments, a Latin square design was used. In Exp. 1, a 2× 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was used and the factors consisted of corn processing method [steam-flaked corn (SFC) or dry-rolled corn (DRC)] and inclusion of corn-based WDGS (0 or 30% on a DM basis). Thus, the 4 treatment combinations consisted of: 1) SFCbased diet with 0% WDGS (SFC-0); 2) SFC-based diet with 30% WDGS (SFC-30); 3) DRC-based diet with 0% WDGS (DRC-0); and 4) DRC-based diet with 30% WDGS (DRC-30). In Exp. 2, all diets were based on SFC and the 4 treatments consisted of: 1) 0% WDGS (SFC- 0); 2) 15% WDGS (SFC-15); 3) 30% WDGS (SFC-30); and 4) 45% WDGS (SFC-45). In both experiments, diets were balanced for degradable intake protein and ether extract by the addition of cottonseed meal and fat. Fecal slurries were prepared from a 5-d composite of urine and feces collected from each treatment. The slurries were analyzed using a gas chromatograph for VFA, phenol, p-cresol, indole, skatole, hydrogen, methane (CH4), and total gas production. In Exp. 1, the DRC fecal slurries had greater initial total VFA concentration compared with the SFC-based slurries and accumulated a greater concentration of total gas throughout the incubation; however, the SFC-based manure resulted in more CH4 production. In Exp. 2, total VFA concentrations did not differ across all fecal slurries initially and on d 28; however, throughout the incubation, slurries with 0 and 15% WDGS had the greatest total VFA concentration. Overall, the presence of starch in the feces was likely the determining factor for the accumulation of odorous compounds in the fecal slurries initially, which was especially evident in diets including DRC, and once methanogenic microorganisms were established they likely converted VFA to CH4.
- Distillers grains