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

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      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.

      Key words:

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