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Finishing cattle performance and carcass quality when fed high protein dried distillers grains

The research objective of this experiment was to replace 35% of dry rolled corn in traditional corn-based feedlot diets with a high protein dried distillers grains and view its effects on steer performance, carcass characteristics, and subsequent meat quality characteristics, shelf-life stability, and consumer acceptance.

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Executive Summary

New or modified feed ingredients are becoming available from new or modified ethanol production processes. Specifically, some ethanol plants have begun to produce high protein dried distillers grains by separating the corn oil from the stillage. The resulting coproduct contains more protein and less fat than traditional distillers grains plus solubles. There is little research to show how these new coproducts impact livestock performance and meat quality. This research provides feedlot managers and livestock producers with more information about these new feed products. Ethanol facilities may also benefit from this research by having access to more data on feed performance for high protein dried distillers grains.

This research addresses the issue of high dietary fat levels that have been found with livestock rations containing wet or dried distillers grains with solubles. These increased levels of polyunsaturated fats can limit the acceptable inclusion for distillers grains in certain livestock diets. The benefits of high protein dried distillers grains may be increased utilization and lower feed costs. This research explores the utilization of low oil distillers grains in beef cattle. Higher inclusion rates in dairy rations may also be warranted, but were not the focus of this research. The inclusion of high protein dried distillers grains at the highest rate had a detrimental effect on meat quality, although the decrease in meat quality was small. Further studies are needed to understand the cause of the decrease in meat quality and the specific feeding practices which may eliminate any impact on meat quality from the inclusion of high
protein dried distillers grains in beef rations.

A special thank you is given to Dr. Ryan Cox. This study represents the culmination of a successful partnership between the AURI Meat Products and Analytical Chemistry Laboratories in Marshall and the Animal Science and Extension programs at the University of Minnesota. The support of the Minnesota Corn Growers Research & Promotion Council is gratefully acknowledged.

For questions or additional information, please contact the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute at 800.279.5010.

Al Doering
AURI Senior Associate Scientist – Coproducts

Carissa Nath
AURI Meat Scientist