To evaluate the how rates of dried distillers’ grains supplementation can substitute for pasture, IowaStateUniversity researchers conducted two stocker grazing studies. In the first year, they compared three groups of growing heifers, grazed for 136 days and supplemented with 0, 0.5 or 1.1 percent of bodyweight with DDG. Stocking rates were in­creased 22 percent and 44 percent for the two respective supplemented treat­ments. Estimates of pasture consumption, based on sward height measurements, suggested no difference between the control group and the group supplemented the lower rate. The cattle fed the highest rate of DDG supplementa­tion appeared to consume less grass per head. Cattle on the three treatments gained 223, 304 and 830 pounds per acre, respectively, with increased productivity which was due to increased rate of gain for supplemented cattle and higher stocking rate. The cattle were fed a 100 percent-pelleted DDG pellet for the first half of the study, then switched to a typical DDG meal fed in bunks for the remainder of the study.

In the second stocker study, unsupplemented heifers were compared to those supplemented with 1.5 percent of bodyweight of Dakota Bran, a co-product consisting of corn bran and condensed distillers’ soluble. During the supplementation period, cattle fed the Dakota Bran gained 1.48 pounds per day compared with 0.79 pounds per day for control cattle. Calculations indicated that the supplemented cattle consumed 26.8 percent less pasture. Gain per acre increased by approximately 100 pounds and at a similar cost based on the costs at the time of the study.

Read IowaStateUniversity’s fact sheet on using ethanol co-products as supplements in grazing programs.