Wet distiller's grain with solubles may offer an inexpensive alternative to traditional feed ingredients when fed to livestock. Agriculture Research Service studies indicate that WDGS, a common ethanol byproduct, could replace more costly traditional feed ingredients such as corn, soybean meal, urea, and mineral supplements. WDGS typically costs about 10% less than corn when used as livestock feed.
ARS scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska investigated for feedlot performance, energy utilization efficiency, post harvest meat characteristics, and cattle manure emissions. Study results indicated that cattle in the "finishing phase" and fed diets of 20 to 40% WDGS performed equal to or better than that of a group of cattle that did not receive the WDGS.
Researchers did see lower energy utilization efficiency in cattle fed 60% WDGS, a factor that could reduce feedlot performance. But the bottom line looked good. Looking at meat quality revealed feeding a diet of 20 or 40% WDGS produced carcasses that were the same or better for yield and quality traits than carcasses of cattle that did not eat the WDGS. Cattle fed 60% WDGS diets were lighter, leaner, less marbled, and had lower yield grades than cattle in the groups that consumed lower quantities of WDGS or none at all.