Performance and amino acid utilization of early lactation dairy cows fed regular or reduced-fat dried distillers grains with solubles



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Journal of Dairy Science








The objective of this study was to evaluate lactation response and AA utilization of early lactation cows fed 2 types of dried distillers grains with solubles (DG): regular (DDGS) or reduced-fat (RFDGS). Thirty-six Holstein cows 19.7 ± 2.6 d in milk at the start of the experiment were used in a randomized complete block design for 14 wk including a 2-wk covariate period. Treatments consisted of the following diets: 1) control (CON) diet containing 0% DG; 2) diet containing 22% DDGS; and 3) diet containing 20% RFDGS. Distillers grains replaced soybean meal, expeller soybean meal, and soyhulls from the CON diet. Diets were formulated to be similar in crude protein, ether extract, neutral detergent fiber, and net energy for lactation concentrations. Dry matter intake (24.7 kg/d) and milk yield (39.3 kg/d) were similar for all diets. Milk fat and lactose percentages were unaffected by diets; however, protein percentage was greater for cows fed the DG diets compared with the CON diet. Consequently, milk protein yield was also greater for the DG diets compared with CON. Milk urea nitrogen decreased for cows fed DG diets and averaged 11.8, 10.9, and 10.1 mg/dL, respectively, for CON, DDGS, and RFDGS. Feed efficiency tended to be greater and N efficiency was greater for cows fed DG compared with CON. Body weight (711 kg), body weight change (+0.49 kg/d), and body condition score (3.36) were similar for all diets, but cows fed CON tended to gain more body condition (+0.14) than cows fed DG diets. Amino acid utilization was evaluated at the peak of milk production corresponding to wk 9 of lactation. Arterial Lys concentration was lower with DG diets (70.4, 58.6, and 55.8 μM/L). Cows fed DG had greater arterial Met concentration (21.3 μM) compared with CON (14.9 μM). Arterio-venous difference of Lys was similar across diets, whereas that of Met was greater for the DG diets compared with the CON diet (10.3 vs. 13.0 μM/L). Extraction efficiency of Lys by the mammary gland was greater for DG diets than for CON (76.1 vs. 65.4%). Mammary uptake of Lys (2.56 g/kg of milk) was similar for all diets, and the uptake of Met tended to increase in cows fed DG diets. Plasma glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol were unaffected by treatment; however, cows fed DG diets had lower β-hydroxybutyrate and tended to have lower nonesterified fatty acid concentrations than cows fed the CON diet. Despite the apparent deficiency of Lys, milk protein percentage was increased in cows fed DG diets.