Distillers grains for grazing yearlings

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Aug 29, 2008
by WLJ

Distillers grains for grazing yearlings

Nebraska researchers wanted to know what use these products might have for growing cattle on pasture. They used yearling British-Continental crossbred steers initially weighing about 650 pounds. A treatment group (TRT) had free-choice access to dried distillers grains (DDG) on Sandhill pasture from early June to early August. Controls (CON) were not fed.

Consumption of DDG averaged 11 pounds/day. TRT gained 2.8 pounds/day and CON gained 1.9 pounds/day. Forage consumption was estimated to be about 30 percent less by TRT. So, for every CON animal, about 1.4 TRT animals could be run on the same pasture area. After grazing, all animals went to a feed yard. TRT were harvested 14 days before CON. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in final weight, average daily gain, or carcass characteristics.

There was a tendency for TRT to have more Choice (67 percent vs. 51 percent). The economic value of DDG was 17 percent over its cost for grazing and 11 percent over cost for finishing. The authors stressed that the use of DDG in this manner would depend on pasture cost, DDG cost, feeder cattle price, and fed cattle price. — Texas A&M University Ag Extension