Translational Animal Science, 2021
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Abstract A total of 300 pigs (DNA 400 × 200, Columbus, NE), initially 11.1 kg, were used in a study to evaluate the effects of increasing amounts of high-protein distillers dried grains (HP DDG) on growth performance and to estimate its energy value relative to corn. Pigs were weaned, placed in pens with 5 pigs each, and fed a common diet for 21 d after weaning. Then, pens were assigned to treatments in a randomized complete block design. There were 5 treatments with 12 replicates per treatment. Treatments consisted of 0, 10, 20, 30, or 40% HP DDG, formulated by changing only the amounts of corn and feed-grade amino acids. Pigs were weighed weekly for 21 d to evaluate average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and gain-to-feed ratio (G:F). Caloric efficiency was obtained by multiplying ADFI by kcal of net energy (NE) per kg of diet and dividing by ADG. The NE values for corn and soybean meal were obtained from NRC (2012), and initial estimates for HP DDG NE were derived from the Noblet et al. (1994) equation. The energy of HP DDG was estimated based on caloric efficiency relative to the diet without HP DDG. Pigs fed diets with increasing HP DDG had a linear decrease (P < 0.01) in ADG, ADFI, and final body weight. There was a tendency for a quadratic response (P = 0.051) in G:F, with the greatest G:F observed for pigs fed diets with 40% HP DDG. There was a linear reduction (P < 0.05) in caloric efficiency with increasing amounts of HP DDG, indicating the initial NE estimate of HP DDG was underestimated. The use of caloric efficiency to estimate the energy value of HP DDG presents several limitations. This approach assumes that the NE values of corn and soybean meal are accurate and does not take into account possible changes in body composition, which can influence the G:F response as leaner pigs are more efficient. In conclusion, increasing HP DDG in the diet linearly decreased ADG and ADFI. Using caloric efficiency to estimate energy content relative to corn, the HP DDG used in this study was estimated to be 97.3% of the energy value of corn. Direct or indirect calorimetry is needed to confirm this value.