A new study shows post-weaned heifers get good gains when fed grain mixes containing dried distillers grains or urea.

During the study, researchers fed Holstein heifers one of three grain mixes, plus free-choice hay, from 13 weeks to 24 weeks of age. Heifers received a limited amount — 5 pounds — of their respective grain mix per day. All three treatment groups gained about 2.1 pounds per head per day, which indicates heifers can perform just as well on alternative proteins as they do on conventional corn and soybean blends. The grain mixes and resulting average daily gains are shown in the table at right.

The study, which took place at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and OutreachCenter in Waseca, was presented in July at the annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association.