Thursday, November 21, 2013

Effect of DDGS on Ram Reproduction

Dried distiller's grains with solubles (DDSG) have become a popular feedstuff, due to the expansion of the ethanol industry and the increase in the price of cereal grains. However, it is recommended that growing bulls and rams not be fed DDSG, due to the fear of a negative effect on reproduction. Researchers at North Dakota State University conducted a study to determine the effect of DDGS on the performance, carcass characteristics, and reproductive traits of growing rams.

One hundred and twenty crossbred (Suffolk x western white face) ram lambs received one of three ground diets:  1) 85% corn and 15% market lamb pellet; 2) 15% DDGS substituted for corn; or 3) 30% DDGs substituted for corn. Rams were weighed on consecutive days at the beginning and end of the trial and every 28 days. Scrotal circumference was measured on all rams at d 84, 96, and 117. Semen and blood samples were collected on a subset of the rams (n=48).

Dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) increased linearly with the addition of DDGS in the diet (similar to other research). Carcass traits were not affected by dietary treatment. Change in scrotal circumference, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm motility were not affected by dietary treatment. However, spermatozoa concentrations decreased linearly as DDGS increased in the diet.

More research is needed to determine the impact of DDGS on ram development.

North Dakota State University 2013 Research Report
Journal of Animal Science (December 2013) Abstract

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