Economic feasibility of extruded dried distillers grains cube as a supplement for beef steers grazing introduced mixed-grass pastures



      Our objectives were to evaluate the effects of dried distillers grains (DDG) cubes (MasterHand Milling) on performance, and to assess the economics of steers grazing introduced pastures (n = 9 pastures; 7.2 ± 2.90 ha) in summer 2020 (n = 155 d) and 2021 (n = 182 d).

      Materials and Methods

      Each year, crossbred steers (n = 140) were assigned to pastures, and pastures were assigned to 1 of 3 treatments (n = 3 pastures per treatment): (1) fertilized control (FC)—no supplement was given to steers on N-fertilized pastures (112 kg of N/ha); (2) fertilized supplement (FS)—steers were supplemented DDG cubes at 1.2 kg/d prorated for 3-d/wk feeding on N-fertilized pastures; or (3) supplement (SP)—steers were supplemented DDG cubes at 0.75% of BW/d prorated for 5-d/wk feeding on unfertilized pastures. Economic feasibility was determined each year using an enterprise budget analysis.

      Results and Discussion

      Both FS and SP had greater (P ≤ 0.01) mid-summer and final BW than FC steers. However, FS steers had greater total season supplemental efficiency (P = 0.03) than SP. Cost of gain was the least (P < 0.01) for FC animals and the greatest for SP (P < 0.01). Supplementation increased gross returns (P < 0.01), but FC had the greatest net returns (P < 0.01).

      Implications and Applications

      Our results suggest that DDG cubes are a suitable supplement and can replace N fertilizer for steers grazing introduced pastures, but the producer must determine the management strategy most profitable to meet their production goals.

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