A series of 5 trials was conducted to determine the effect of distillers dried grains with solubles (DG) in calf diets. Trial 1 compared 0 or 49% DG in 18% crude protein (CP) starters (as-fed basis) fed to calves initially 2 to 3 d old for 56 d. Digestibility was estimated during d 52 to 56 using chromic oxide. Trial 2 compared 0 or 39% DG in 16% CP growers fed to calves from 8 to 12 wk of age from 28 d. Trial 3 compared 0, 10, or 20% DG in 18% CP starters fed to calves initially 2 to 3 d old for 56 d. Trial 4 compared 0 or 20% DG in 16% CP growers fed to calves from 8 to 12 wk of age from 28 d. As DG increased in all diets, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and fat increased and calculated metabolizable energy was similar but not equalized. In trials 1 and 3, calves (n = 48/trial) housed in individual pens were fed 26% CP, 17% fat milk replacer powder and weaned at 28 d. Trials 2 and 4 used calves (n = 48/trial) housed in group pens (6 calves/pen) that had been weaned for 28 d before the trials' start. Trial 5 (n = 18 calves) had the same starter treatments as trial 3 fed in combination with high or low milk replacer intake, with calves killed at 35 d to determine effects of DG and milk replacer intake on rumen development. In trial 1, average daily gain (ADG) was 6% greater and dry matter digestibility was 10% greater for calves fed 0% versus 49% DG. In trial 2, ADG (9%), feed efficiency (10%), and hip width change (19%) were greater for calves fed 0% versus 39% DG. Performance measures did not differ among starter treatments in Trials 3 and 5. In trial 4, ADG (4%), feed efficiency (5%), and hip width change (19%) were greater for calves fed 0% versus 20% DG. In trial 5, rumen development was not affected by DG inclusion, but was greater for calves fed milk replacer at 630 versus 940. g/d, which had greater starter intake. Overall, we conclude that high levels of distillers in calf starters and growers decrease growth of calves; however, starters with ≤20% DG allow for normal growth rates and rumen development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology