dormant range, protein supplementation, distillers grains, heifer development


Costs of feed, labor, and equipment to develop heifers in a traditional confined feeding system are relatively high. Producers can greatly reduce input costs by developing heifers on dormant native range; however, heifers are unable to consume sufficient protein from the forage base. Suboptimal protein intake will reduce forage digestion and result in poor performance. Supplemental protein is required during these times to increase forage intake and digestion. The most efficient way of providing supplemental protein to heifers consuming lowquality (<7% crude protein) forage is by feeding high-protein supplements (>30% crude protein). Producers traditionally have used high-quality oilseed meals to supplement the necessary protein, but expansion of the ethanol industry has made dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) a potentially less expensive supplement option for producers in corn- and sorghum-producing areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of daily supplementation of DDGS vs. a mixture of soybean meal and finely ground sorghum grain on performance of replacement heifers grazing low-quality dormant native range.