Distillers grains and distillers solubles are by-products of grain fermentation used to produce ethanol and contain greater concentrations of NDF and ADF, compared with other grains and concentrates they replace in feedlot diets. Typical finishing diets in the United States contain 8.3% and 9.0% roughage. Therefore, it is plausible that the dietary concentration of roughage can be altered when distillers grains are included in feedlot diets. The effects of roughage concentration in dry-rolled, corn-based diets containing wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) were evaluated in steers (n = 128; initial BW = 339 kg), using Calan gates. Each diet was based on dry-rolled corn and contained 25% WDGS with coarsely ground alfalfa hay (AH), replacing corn at 2% (AH-2), 6% (AH-6), 10% (AH-10), and 14% (AH-14) of DM. Feed offered was recorded daily, orts were measured weekly, and BW was measured on d 0, 1, 35, 70, 105, 140, 174, and 175. After commercial harvest and chilling, carcasses were evaluated on-line with a beef carcass grading camera to assess marbling and yield grade traits. The data were analyzed using the Mixed Procedure of SAS, in which contrast statements were used to separate linear and quadratic effects of AH inclusion. Decreasing concentrations of AH in the finishing diet resulted in a tendency for a quadratic response (P = 0.07) in final BW, where BW increased from 2 to 6% AH inclusion but then decreased from 6 to 14% inclusion. Similarly, ADG from d 0 to end responded quadratically (P < 0.01), in which ADG increased from 2 to 6% yet subsequently decreased from 6 to 14% AH inclusion. Dry matter intake from d 0 to end increased linearly (P = 0.02) as AH inclusion increased in the diet, whereas G:F increased from 2 to 6% AH inclusion and then decreased linearly (P < 0.01) from 6 to 14% AH inclusion. Concentration of AH in the finishing diet did not affect HCW, marbling score, or the proportion of cattle grading USDA choice (P ≥ 0.18). However, dressing percent and LM area did respond in a quadratic manner (P < 0.02), in which they decreased from 2 to 10% AH inclusion and increased from 10 to 14% AH in the diet. Yield grade and adjusted 12th rib fat responded quadratically (P < 0.01), in which both increased from 2 to 6% AH inclusion and decreased from 6 to 14% inclusion. Analysis of responses of G:F and ADG on AH predict the apex at 3% and 7% for G:F and ADG, respectively, when fed in diets containing 25% WDGS.
- Distillers grains
- Roughage level