Effect of substituting soybean meal and canola cake with dried distillers grains with solubles at 2 dietary crude protein levels on feed intake, milk production, and milk quality in dairy cows

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Dried distillers grain with solubles (DDGS) is an alternative source of feed protein for dairy cows. Previous studies found that DDGS, based on grains other than corn, can substitute for soybean meal and canola cake as a dietary protein source without reducing milk production or quality. As societal concerns exist, and in many areas strict regulation, regarding nitrogen excretion from dairy cows, the dairy industry has focused on reducing dietary protein level and nitrogen excretion. In the present study, we investigated the use of DDGS as a protein source, at a marginally low dietary crude protein (CP) levels, in a grass-clover and corn silage-based ration. The experiment involved 24 Holstein cows and 2 protein sources (DDGS or soybean-canola mixture) fed at 2 levels of CP (14 or 16%) in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of both protein source and protein level on feed intake, milk yield, and milk quality. The results indicated that feed intake, milk yield, and protein in milk increased when the protein level in the ration was 16% CP compared with 14%. We found no effect of substituting the soybean-canola mixture with DDGS. Moreover, no sensory problems were observed when comparing fresh milk with stored milk, and milk taste was unaffected by DDGS. Milk from cows fed DDGS had a slightly higher content of linoleic acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA 9–11), and lower content of C11 to C17 fatty acids than cows fed diets with the soybean-canola mixture. Cows fed the diets with 16% CP produced milk with higher oleic acids and lower palmitic acid content than cows fed 14% CP diets. To conclude, DDGS can substitute for a soybean-canola mixture without affecting feed intake, milk yield and quality, or sensory quality. Under the conditions of this experiment, feeding 16% CP compared with 14% CP in the ration can increase feed intake and milk production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)8928-8938
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

    Research areas

  • coproduct, dried distillers grains with solubles, protein level, dairy cow

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