Feeding Cattle In A High Dollar Corn Market

The year 2020 has come and gone, and it has been a year unlike any other. The ups and downs in the cattle market have taken their toll on farmers and ranchers at one point or another. 

No one expected corn to reach $5 per bushel, but here we are. If you’re selling corn this year, the corn board could currently look like a gift. But if you’re one of the many farmers and ranchers trying to grow cattle on corn, this market can look especially grim. 

It has caused us to really sit down and evaluate our feeding programs. Why do we feed corn? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages? Are there other alternatives we can use in a market such as this?

Advantages

  • High energy & digestibility: Corn is highly digestible in the rumen and is energy-dense, which allows cattle to lay down condition fairly quickly. 
  • Marbling: Calves fed moderate levels of grain early in life begin laying down intramuscular fat, also known as marbling
  • Palatability: Corn is extremely palatable to cattle of all ages.

Disadvantages

  • Starch levels: Corn is high starch, which negatively affects forage digestion
  • Low protein content: Protein sources are often required to accompany corn due to inadequate protein levels. 
  • Further processing: More often than not, corn will need to be further processed, which adds extra costs. Processing such as rolling, grinding, or steam flaking, does not usually result in greater average daily gain but it can improve feed efficiency.

Corn Alternatives

There are a variety of non-corn grain energy options available on the market. Some of these are lower in starch, with similar energy values, such as distillers and beet pulp. These feed alternatives can be very palatable and can be much more cost-efficient in times like these today. One of the most important factors to consider when selecting an alternative feed is its efficiency. If cattle aren’t efficient on it, it can cost you more than you think. In addition to grain alternatives, feed additives can give an additional boost to digestibility and efficiency.

AgriGro’s Got Your Back

AgriGro is invested in your long term profitability. And for that, efficiency is key. Nutri-Zyme® is a feed and water additive that improves gut health and intake, which leads to better gain and overall improved health. With all of these factors in place, improved efficiency is inevitable. Learn more about AgriGro and Nutri-Zyme® today.

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