The objective of this study was to examine the effects of including corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in the diet at the expense of corn and soybean meal on enteric CH4 emissions, ruminal fermentation characteristics, digestion (in sacco and apparent total-tract digestibility), N balance, and milk production of dairy cows.

Twelve lactating Holstein cows were used in a triplicated 4×4 Latin square design (35-day periods) and fed (ad libitum intake) a total mixed ration containing (dry matter basis) 0, 10, 20 or 30 percent DDGS. Dry matter intake increased linearly, whereas apparent-total tract digestibility of dry matter and gross energy declined linearly as DDGS level in the diet increased. Increasing the proportion of DDGS in the diet decreased the acetate:propionate ratio, but this decrease was the result of reduced acetate concentration rather than increased propionate concentration. Milk yield increased linearly (up to +4kg/d) with increasing levels of DDGS in the diet and a tendency was observed for a quadratic increase in energy-corrected milk as the proportion of DDGS in the diet increased. Methane production decreased linearly with increasing levels of DDGS in the diet (495, 490, 477, and 475g/d for 0, 10, 20, and 30 percent DDGS diets, respectively).

When adjusted for gross energy intake, CH4 losses also decreased linearly as DDGS proportion increased in the diet by 5, 8 and 14percent for 10, 20, and 30 percent DDGS diets, respectively. Similar decreases (up to 12 percent at 30percent DDGS) were also observed when CH4 production was corrected for digestible energy intake. When expressed relative to energy-corrected milk, CH4 production declined linearly as the amount of DDGS increased in the diet. Total N excretion (urinary and fecal; g/d) increased as the amount of DDGS in the diet increased. Efficiency of N utilization (milk N secretion as a proportion of N intake) declined linearly with increasing inclusion of DDGS in the diet. However, productive N increased linearly with increasing proportions of DDGS in the diet, suggesting better efficiency of N use by the animal.

Results from this study show that feeding DDGS to dairy cows can help to mitigate enteric CH4 emissions without negatively affecting intake and milk production.

Source: Journal of Dairy Science