Distillers grains that are processed for reduced oil content may be “a viable option” for replacement heifer rations, according to a new PurdueUniversity study.

Ryan Schroer, graduate student in the Department of Animal Sciences at PurdueUniversity, measured the intake and growth of heifers fed one of four diets:

  • Control: Soybean meal and no distillers grains.
  • Dried distillers grains fed at 20 percent of dry matter.
  • De-oiled dried distillers grains fed at 20 percent of diet dry matter.
  • De-oiled dried distillers grains fed at 36 percent of diet dry matter.

Heifers weighed about 350 pounds at the start of the study.

Schroer found no difference in dry matter intake between the diets. “Overall, average daily gain was not affected by the type or inclusion rate of distillers grains,” he says. Heifers in all four dietary treatments gained about 2.5 pounds per head per day. Feed efficiency, body condition score, hip heights and plasma urea nitrogen levels also were no different between treatment groups.

The study was presented in March at the American Dairy Science Association’s Midwestern sectional meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.