Replacement of starch from corn with non-forage fiber from distillers grains in diets of lactating dairy cows.



Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Dairy Science


E-Suppl. 1








Forty Holstein cows were used in a completely randomized design with a 2-wk covariate period followed by a 6-wk experimental period to evaluate incremental substitution of nonforage fiber provided by dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and soyhulls (SH) for starch provided by corn in the diet. Diets provided decreasing concentrations of starch: 29% starch with 0% DDGS; 26% starch with 7% DDGS; 23% starch with 14% DDGS; and 20% starch with 21% DDGS. Diets contained 27% corn silage, 22% alfalfa hay, and 51% concentrate mix and were formulated to be 17% crude protein, 4.7% fat, and 23% neutral detergent fiber from forage. Total neutral detergent fiber increased as DDGS and SH were included in the diet. Soyhulls were included in a linear fashion along with DDGS to replace soybean meal and expeller soybean meal, thereby maintaining a similar crude protein content across diets. Dry matter intake decreased linearly; consequently, feed efficiency tended to increase linearly as starch was replaced by nonforage fiber. There was no effect of diet on milk production or milk fat and protein percentage or yield. Milk fatty acid profiles were similar across diets. Other response variables, including 4% fat-corrected milk, total solids, and milk urea nitrogen, were unaffected by dietary treatments. Ruminal volatile fatty acid concentration did not differ between diets. Concentrations of blood glucose and β-hydroxybutyrate were similar across diets. Results from this research suggest that nonforage fiber from DDGS can partially substitute for starch from corn in dairy cow diets without affecting milk production and milk composition. Economic analysis of the diets showed that feeding DDGS and SH in substitution of corn was cost-effective. Results from this experiment indicate that DDGS and SH can replace corn as an energy source to decrease feed costs.