Value of Wet Distillers Grains in a Cattle Diet without Corn

  • Allen H. Trenkle (Iowa State University)


The potential of finishing cattle without grain was evaluated by comparing steers fed tub-ground grass hay and wet distillers grains (DGS) with steers fed a corn-based diet without DGS or the corn-based diet containing 40% DGS. The experiment was done with 24 head of 840 lb Angus steers fed each diet. The replacement of corn and protein supplement in the control diet with 40% wet DGS reduced feed intake and daily gain. The carcasses from steers fed DGS had reduced marbling and tended to have fewer Choice carcasses and lower carcass value determined with a marketing grid based on quality and yield grade. Substituting DGS for a portion of the corn and protein supplement in a corn-based diet resulted in reduced feed costs at all prices of corn evaluated ($2 to $4/bu). However the reduced feed cost of gain was more than offset by the decrease in carcass value. There was economic advantage of feeding the diet containing 40% DGS when corn price was greater then $3.50/bu and DGS was priced at 70% the cost of corn on a dry basis. Steers fed the hay and DGS diet gained less, had poorer feed conversion and required an additional 62 days to reach the same end live weight. These steers had acceptable grading carcasses (62% Choice) but less than carcasses from steers fed the control diet. Though feed costs and feed cost of gain were less for the steers fed hay and DGS, the cattle were not more profitable than either group of steers fed the corn-based diets at any price of corn ($2 to $4/bu) or wet DGS (1, 0.85 or 0.70 times the price of corn on a dry matter basis).

Keywords: ASL R2287

How to Cite:

Trenkle, A. H., (2008) “Value of Wet Distillers Grains in a Cattle Diet without Corn”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 5(1). doi:

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Published on
01 Jan 2008
Peer Reviewed