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Todd M. Owens

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science

First Advisor

Arnold R. Hippen


Competition for com for fuel ethanol production and resulting increases in prices for com, is driving dairy producers towards using alternative ingredients to increase production efficiencies. Feeding distillers grains from com ethanol production provides a low-cost, nutrient dense alternative to com, but concerns exist that when distillers grains are fed milk fat may be depressed. Likewise feeding an ionophore, monensin, will increase efficiency of milk production. Feeding monensin has also been associated with decreased milk fat production. Lastly, feeding large quantities of highly fermentable starch has been associated with milk fat depression. To better understand the interaction of these factors, an experiment was conducted feeding distillers grains and a highly fermentable starch source (high moisture com) to lactating dairy cows having monensin in their diets. In a 2 x 2 factorial design, dairy cows were fed normal or low-fat distillers grains and dry or high moisture com. All diets contained monensin and the experiment lasted for 6 weeks. Cows fed normal distillers grains demonstrated lesser concentrations of acetate and an increased proportion of acetate to propionate in rumens. Yields of milk were not changed by feeding distillers grains, but percentage of fat in milk was decreased with distillers grains. Cows fed high moisture com also had lesser concentrations of acetate in rumen fluid, but the acetate to propionate ratio was not effected by the type of com fed. Feeding wet com decreased milk yield as well as the percentage and yield of milk fat; however, concentrations of protein in milk were increased by feeding high moisture corn. The greatest negative effects on milk fat concentrations and yields were obtained when high moisture com was fed in combination with distillers grains. Feeding high-protein distillers grains increased the production of fat-corrected milk, while feeding high moisture corn may decreased production and efficiency of production of fat-corrected milk. Results indicate that both distillers grains and high moisture com may decrease milk fat production and that this effect is amplified when the two are fed in combination in dietscontaining monensin.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dairy cattle -- Feeding and feeds
Corn as feed
Distillers feeds
Fatty acids
Antibiotics in animal nutrition


Includes bibliographical references (pages 102-106)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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