Effects of feed intake and dietary level of wet corn gluten feed on feedlot performance, digestibility of nutrients, and carcass characteristics of growing-finishing beef heifers
Hussein, H.S.; Berger, L.L.
Journal of Animal Science 73(11): 3246-3252
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812 PMID: 8586580 DOI: 10.2527/1995.73113246x
The objective was to compare the relative energy value of wet corn gluten feed (WCGF) to that of corn in a feedlot situation when diets were initially offered ad libitum (AL) or at restricted feed intake (RFI; 80% of AL). In a completely randomized block (pen location) design experiment, 144 beef heifers (204.1 +/- 18.2 kg) were used (six treatments; three pens of eight heifers/treatment). Treatments were levels of WCGF (on DM basis) in corn silage-based diets (AL; 25 or 50% WCGF) or high-moisture corn-based diets (RFI; 0, 25, 50, or 75% WCGF) during the growing phase (127 d). During finishing (84 d), all diets were offered AL and contained 5% corn silage by replacing corn silage with high-moisture corn in diets that were offered AL. Heifers that were initially at AL had similar (P > .1) feedlot performance (during growing and during the whole trial), digestibility of nutrients (OM, NDF, CP, and GE), and carcass characteristics. During finishing, however, these heifers had better (P = .06) ADG and gain:feed when 25% WCGF was fed. Heifers that were initially at RFI showed a linear decrease (P < .01) in ADG and gain:feed during growing with increasing dietary level of WCGF. However, increasing dietary level of WCGF resulted in a quadratic (P = .02) response in ADG and gain:feed during finishing and also in a quadratic (P = .07) response in ADG and a linear (P = .005) decrease in gain:feed during the whole trial. These quadratic responses indicated that the best performance was achieved at the 25 and 50% levels of WCGF. The decrease in cumulative gain:feed was only 3.5% at the 25 and 50% levels of WCGF but it was 11.4% at the 75% level. Increasing the level of WCGF in diets of heifers that were initially at restricted feed intake did not affect (P > .1) digestibility of nutrients but it improved some carcass characteristics linearly, decreasing fat thickness (P = .04), liver abscess (P = .02), and yield grade (P = .13). Results suggest that WCGF can substitute up to 25 or 50% of dietary DM without negative effects on feedlot performance, digestibility of nutrients, or carcass characteristics. In addition, restricting feeding during growing may be strategy that improves the utilization of WCGF at these levels.