Evaluation of corn germ from ethanol production as an alternative fat source in dairy cow diets.



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Journal of Dairy Science








Sixteen multiparous cows (12 Holstein and 4 Brown Swiss, 132 ± 20 d in milk) were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with 4-wk periods to determine the effects of feeding corn germ on dairy cow performance. Diets were formulated with increasing concentrations of corn germ (Dakota Germ, Poet Nutrition, Sioux Falls, SD) at 0, 7, 14, and 21% of the diet dry matter (DM). All diets had a 55:45 forage to concentrate ratio, where forage was 55% corn silage and 45% alfalfa hay. Dietary fat increased from 4.8% in the control diet to 8.2% at the greatest inclusion level of corn germ. The addition of corn germ resulted in a quadratic response in DM intake with numerically greater intake at 14% of diet DM. Feeding corn germ at 7 and 14% of diet DM increased milk yield and energy-corrected milk as well as fat percentage and yield. Milk protein yield tended to decrease as the concentration of corn germ increased in the diet. Dietary treatments had no effect on feed efficiency, which averaged 1.40 kg of energy-corrected milk/kg of DMI. Increasing the dietary concentration of corn germ resulted in a linear increase in milk fat concentrations of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids at the expense of saturated fatty acids. Milk fat concentration and yield of cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid were increased with increased dietary concentrations of corn germ. Although milk fat concentrations of both total trans-18:1 and cis-18:1 fatty acids increased linearly, a marked numeric increase in the concentration of trans-10 C18:1 was observed in milk from cows fed the 21% corn germ diet. A similar response was observed in plasma concentration of trans-10 C18:1. Feeding increasing concentrations of corn germ had no effect on plasma concentrations of glucose, triglyceride, or β-hydroxybutyrate; however, the concentration of nonesterified fatty acids increased linearly, with plasma cholesterol concentration demonstrating a similar trend. Germ removed from corn grain before ethanol production provides an alternative source of fat for energy in lactating dairy cows when fed at 7 and 14% of diet DM. Our results suggest that fat from corn germ may be relatively protected with no adverse effect on DM intake, milk production, and milk composition when fed up to 14% of diet DM.