Feeding dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), a feed high in fat and protein, to lactating beef cows can alter milk production and composition, resulting in improved pre-weaning growth of progeny. This alteration in milk profile may consequently alter the growth and carcass composition of the offspring after weaning. Therefore, Angus×Simmental steers (n=48) whose dams were fed one of two diets supplemented with either DDGS or soybean meal (CON) from calving to mid-lactation were placed in a feedlot to determine the effects of maternal nutrition during lactation on progeny development and carcass composition. Cow–calf pairs were allotted to two treatments at birth based on cow and calf BW, breed and age. Maternal diets were isocaloric (3.97 MJ/kg NEg) and consisted of rye hay supplemented with DDGS at 1% of BW (19.4% CP; 8.76% fat) or rye hay and corn silage supplemented with CON (11.7% CP; 2.06% fat). After conclusion of the treatments at 129 days postpartum, cow–calf pairs were comingled and managed as one group until weaning at 219 days postpartum. Steers were then transitioned to a common diet composed of 60% DDGS, 34% corn silage and 6% vitamin/mineral supplement and were placed indoors in individual pens with slatted floors. An intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) was performed 134 days after feedlot entry on 16 steers (CON, n=7; DDGS, n=9) to determine the effect of maternal diet on glucose and insulin sensitivity. Steers were slaughtered at a target BW of 645 kg. Categorical and continuous data were analyzed using the GLIMMIX and MIXED procedures of SAS, respectively. Steers from DDGS dams tended to be heavier on day 85 of feedlot finishing (P=0.09) compared with steers from CON dams. However, there were no differences in final weight, average daily gain, dry matter intake or efficiency (gain:feed, P⩾0.18). Maternal treatments did not affect progeny days on feed (P=0.15), despite a mean difference of 9 days in favor of DDGS. Glucose and insulin concentrations and area under the curve of progeny as measured by IVGTT were not affected by maternal diet (P⩾0.16). Maternal DDGS supplementation decreased marbling score (P=0.04), but did not influence carcass grading percentage or any other carcass characteristic (P⩾0.17).