Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Dairy Science

First Advisor

Jill L. Anderson


Buffer, Dairy heifer, Dairy steers, Distillers grain, Growth performance


Forage quality is an important factor affecting intake and utilization of forage, thus making it imperative to evaluate the methods used to determine the nutritive values of forage in order to predict animal performance. Additionally, fibrous feeds for ruminants are less subject to competitive demand. The plant cell wall is the largest hindrance to complete digestion of feeds, particularly forages and by-products and to the utilization of the nutrients and energy they contain, necessitating effective strategies for increasing the rate and efficiency of utilization of forage fiber and the energy therein. It is critically important to increase fiber digestion for productivity and environmental reasons. Two studies were conducted in an attempt to make recommendations based on the methods used for forage analysis and rumen fermentation of dietary inclusion of buffer in diets high in distillers grains. The first study compared five forages: Hay (Hay), Conventional Corn Silage (CCS), Conventional Haylage (CHL), Hybrid Corn Silage (HCS), and Hybrid Haylage (HHL) in an in situ (dry/wet) and in vitro trials for differences in dry matter and fiber degradability. Results showed different methods vary in digestibility values, but difference among forage followed similar patterns among method. Further research will be warranted to standardize procedures to be used for methods to evaluate forage quality. The second study evaluated the effects of High buffer (HiBuffer) and Low buffer (LoBuffer) inclusion on nutrient digestibility, rumen parameters, and blood metabolites in steers limit-fed diets high in distillers grains. Five dairy cannulated steers (Brown Swiss and Holstein) 303.4± 45 d of age were used in a cross over design experiment within a 2-week period. Two treatment diets containing 40% DDGS with High (HiBuffer) or Low (LoBuffer) buffer inclusion concentrations were fed. Results show differences in DMI and G:F, while BW and ADG were similar among treatments. The rumen total VFA, acetate: propionate, and pH were similar among treatments. For blood metabolites there were treatment effects for glucose and cholesterol, while plasma urea nitrogen concentrations were similar among treatments. Total tract digestion of nutrients was similar among treatments. Result demonstrates that buffer inclusion had limited impact on utilization of DDGS. However, future research is warranted to determine the precise amount of buffer inclusion and DDGS feeding rate.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dairy cattle -- Feeding and feeds.
Rumen fermentation.
Distillers feeds.
Fiber in animal nutrition.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright