Feeding reduced-fat dried distillers grains with solubles to lactating Holstein dairy cows does not alter milk composition or cause late blowing in cheese

J Dairy Sci. 2018 Jul;101(7):5838-5850. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13699. Epub 2018 Apr 11.


Feeding dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to lactating dairy cows has been implicated as a cause of late blowing defects in the production of Swiss-style cheeses. Our objectives were (1) to test the effect of feeding reduced-fat DDGS (RF-DDGS; ∼6% fat) to lactating dairy cows on the composition of milk and on the suitability of the milk for production of baby Swiss cheese and (2) to evaluate the effect of diet on cow lactation performance. Lactating Holstein dairy cows were fed both dietary treatments in a 2 × 2 crossover design. Cows were housed in a 48-cow freestall pen equipped with individual feeding gates to record feed intake. The control diet was a corn, corn silage, and alfalfa hay diet supplemented with mechanically expelled soybean meal. The experimental diet was the same base ration, but 20% (dry matter basis) RF-DDGS were included in place of the expelled soybean meal. The RF-DDGS diet was additionally supplemented with rumen-protected lysine; diets were formulated to be isoenergetic and isonitrogenous. Cows were allowed ad libitum access to feed and water, fed twice daily, and milked 3 times daily. For cheese production, milk was collected and pooled 6 times for each dietary treatment. There was no treatment effect on milk yield (35.66 and 35.39 kg/d), milk fat production (1.27 and 1.25 kg/d), milk fat percentage (3.65 and 3.61%), milk protein production (1.05 and 1.08 kg/d), lactose percentage (4.62 and 4.64%), milk total solids (12.19 and 12.28%), and somatic cell count (232.57 and 287.22 × 103 cells/mL) for control and RF-DDGS, respectively. However, dry matter intake was increased by treatment, which implied a reduction in feed efficiency. Milk protein percentage also increased (3.01 and 3.11%), whereas milk urea nitrogen decreased (14.18 and 12.99 mg/dL), indicating that protein utilization may be more efficient when cows are fed RF-DDGS. No differences in cheese were observed by a trained panel except cheese appearance; control cheese eyes were significantly, but not practically, larger than the RF-DDGS cheese. These results indicate that RF-DDGS can be effectively used in the rations of lactating Holstein cows with no deleterious effects on milk production and composition and metrics of the physiology of the cow (i.e., blood glucose and nonesterified fatty acids); however, feeding RF-DDGS increased dry matter intake, which decreased feed efficiency. Finally, feeding RF-DDGS did not negatively influence quality and suitability of milk for production of baby Swiss cheese.

Keywords: dried distillers grains with solubles; efficiency; milk fat; protein utilization; sensory.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / metabolism*
  • Cheese
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Lactation / metabolism
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Rumen / metabolism