Feeding corn to beef cows

Feeding corn to beef cows

Farm and Ranch Guide
Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:47 AM CST

BROOKINGS, S.D. – A new publication from South Dakota State University discusses corn as an economic alternative to forages for wintering beef cows.

SDSU Extension Extra 2048, “Feeding corn to beef cows,” is available online at this link: http://agbiopubs.sdstate.edu/articles/ExEx2048.pdf Or inquire at your county Extension office.

SDSU Extension Beef Specialist Cody Wright wrote the four-page publication. Wright discusses corn in beef cow diets as a forage supplement, as well as corn as a forage substitute. The document pays special attention to limit-fed diets, delivery methods, and to the question of how much corn can be included in beef cow diets.

Wright cautioned that the high starch content of corn can reduce the cow’s ability to use forage by as much as 10 to 30 percent as the amount of corn in the diet increases.

A good rule of thumb, Wright said, is to supplement corn at no more than 0.25 percent of body weight. This equates to 2.5 pounds of corn for a 1,000-lb cow, 3 pounds for a 1,200-pound cow, and 3.5 pounds for a 1,400-pound cow. These recommendations are based on whole shelled corn.

Ear corn can be supplemented at slightly higher levels because of reduced energy concentration associated with the cob: 2.75, 3.25, and 3.75 pounds per day for 1,000-, 1,200-, and 1,400-pound cows, respectively. Depending on forage quality and the stage of production and body condition of the cows, supplemental protein may also be required.

Consult the publication or call your Extension livestock educator for more details about using corn as a supplement, or as a substitute for forage.

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