Production of dairy cows fed distillers dried grains with solubles in low- and high-forage diets

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Journal of Dairy Science










The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of dietary forage and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) concentration on the performance of lactating dairy cows. Twelve Holstein cows were blocked by parity and milk production and assigned to replicated 4 × 4 Latin squares with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Diets were formulated to contain low forage [LF; 17% forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF)] or high forage (HF; 24.5% forage NDF) and DDGS at 0 or 18% of diet dry matter. The forage portion of the diet consisted of 80% corn silage and 20% alfalfa hay (dry matter basis). A portion of the ground corn and all of the expeller soybean meal and extruded soybeans from 0% DDGS diets were replaced with DDGS to formulate 18% DDGS diets. Overall, we found no interactions of forage × DDGS concentrations for any of the production measures. We observed no effect of diet on dry matter intake. Milk yield was greater when cows were fed LF diets compared with HF diets (43.3 vs. 41.5 kg/d). Milk fat concentration (3.03 vs. 3.38%) was lower for cows fed LF diets compared with HF diets, whereas protein concentration (3.11 vs. 2.98%) and yield (1.34 vs. 1.24 kg/d) were greater for cows fed LF diets compared with HF diets. Yields of fat, total solids, energy-corrected milk, and feed efficiency were not affected by diets. Cows partitioned equally for milk, maintenance, and body reserves. Replacing starch from ground corn and protein from soybean feeds with DDGS at either 17 or 24.5% of forage NDF concentration in the diet was cost-effective and did not affect the production performance of lactating dairy cows.