Performance of Finishing Steers Fed Low, Moderate and High Levels of Wet Distillers Grains

  • Allen H. Trenkle (Iowa State University)


Two experiments were conducted with yearling steers and heifers to evaluate feeding two forms of wet distillers grains (DGS) at 0, 20, 40 and 60% of diet DM. Modified (52% DM) wet distillers grains (DGS) was fed in the first experiment and wet DGS (32% DM) was fed in the second. In each experiment 4 pens of steers and 4 pens of heifers (6 head per pen) were fed each level of DGS with DGS replacing a portion of corn and protein supplement in a control diet containing dry rolled corn, corn silage, tubground grass hay and supplement. Steers and heifers were implanted at the beginning of each experiment with Component TE-S and Component TE-H, respectively. Feeding 20% or 40% of diet DM as modified or wet DGS did not affect performance or carcass measurements of steers or heifers. Steers and heifers fed 60% DGS consumed less feed, gained less and when fed modified DGS were less efficient. However when fed wet DGS both steers and heifers fed 60% DGS were more efficient than cattle not fed DGS. Numerical marbling scores declined with increasing levels of DGS, but were not statistically different from the control cattle. Carcass ($/carcass) was less for cattle fed 60% DGS primarily because of reduced carcass weight. Economic analysis was done by comparing feed costs of gain at different prices for corn ($2.00 to $4.00/bu) and prices for DGS (1.0, 0.85 and 0.7 times the cost of corn on a dry basis). Feeding 20% or 40% modified or wet DGS reduced feed cost of gain compared with control cattle at all prices of corn and DGS. Feeding 60% modified DGS did not result in lower feed costs until price of DGS was 0.7 times the price of corn. Feed cost were less when feeding 60% wet DGS at all prices of corn and DGS. The results of these experiments indicate that steers and heifers respond similarly to feeding low to high levels of modified or wet DGS and that depending upon price, high levels of DGS can be economically fed to cattle.

Keywords: ASL R2286

How to Cite:

Trenkle, A. H., (2008) “Performance of Finishing Steers Fed Low, Moderate and High Levels of Wet Distillers Grains”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 5(1). doi:

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Published on
01 Jan 2008
Peer Reviewed