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Aims: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DDGS) in diets of finishing lambs on ruminal fermentation, digestibility, in vitro gas emissions, growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality.
Background: Replacing cereal grains and oilseed meals with dried distillers grains can reduce feeding cost and utilise an abundant waste byproduct of the ethanol industry.
Methodology: Thirty native Mexican male lambs of four months old and 24 ± 2. 41 kg BW, were used in the experiment which lasted for 56-days using a complete randomized design (n = 10). Treatments were: 1) Control (0% DDGS); 2) (20% DDGS/DM basis) and 3) (40% DDGS/DM basis).
Results: DMI, ADG, final body weight (BW) and carcass characteristics were not different (P > 0.05) among the treatments. However, apparent digestibility (AD) of DM (ADDM), ADNDF, ADADF and in vitro digestibility of DM (IVDDM) after 9, 12 and 24 h of incubation showed a quadratic effect while increasing level of DDGS. Rumen fluid pH was greater and ruminal VFA concentration was lower for 20% DDGS treatment (quadratic effect P = 0.05). The proportion of acetate: propionate and concentration of ammonia nitrogen, were not different (P > 0.05) between treatments. Biogas production was maximal at 40% DDGS (linear effect, P = 0.03) while a quadratic effect on CO2 (P = 0.016) and CH4 (P = 0.023) were observed. No differences (P > 0.05) on the physicochemical composition and characteristics of the meat of lambs fed different levels of DDGS were found.
Conclusion: The 40% DM inclusion of corn DDGS in diets for growing Mexican native lambs maintains its productive performance without significantly affecting the ruminal fermentation, diet digestibility, carcass characteristics and meat quality. DDGS can partially replace grains, oilseed meals and forage due to its high protein content and energy level. If DDGS is low in cost compared to oilseed meals, it may be included in finishing lamb diets.
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