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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dry Or High Moisture Shelled Corn As a Supplement for Grazing Cows

Authors
item Wu, Zhiguo - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
item Massingill, Lee
item Walgenbach, Richard
item Satter, Larry

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 25, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The average milk price received by dairy producers has remained flat for the last 20 years. This has forced some producers to look at intensive rotational grazing as a means of reducing the cost of milk production, and as a way to stay in business. Keeping the cost of the supplemental feed low is essential to keeping overall costs low for grazing systems. There are many questions about how to best supplement grazing cows, because there is relatively little research on that topic with modern cows having the genetic potential for high levels of milk production. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative value of two types of shelled corn as supplemental feed for grazing cows. Grazing cows were fed either ground high-moisture shelled corn or dry cracked shelled corn as part of the supplemental feed for a period of 13 weeks. Corn made up 74.7 percent of the supplemental feed. Milk yield was 2.2 kg/day higher for cows fed ground high-moisture shelled corn than for those fed dry cracked shelled corn. Milk fat content was lower (3.28 vs. 3.67 percent), but protein content was higher (3.26 vs. 3.15 percent) for the high-moisture corn supplement. Results suggest that high-moisture corn can serve as a better supplement for grazing cows than dry corn, likely by providing more metabolizable energy and microbial protein due to more fermentable and digestible starch. This research will help dairy producers formulate cost-effective diets within the context of a grazing system.

Technical Abstract: Feeding shelled corn as the primary supplement in cracked dry form or ground high-moisture form to grazing cows was studied in an experiment utilizing 32 cows in late lactation. Each of the forms of corn accounted for 74.7 percent of the concentrate supplement, which was fed at 9 kg/d (DM). The experiment was 13 weeks, during which time cows grazed permanent native pasture containing mostly grasses and some clover. Milk yield was 2.2 kg/d higher for cows fed ground high-moisture shelled corn than for those fed dry cracked shelled corn. Milk fat content was lower (3.28 vs. 3.67 percent), but protein content was higher (3.26 vs. 3.15 percent) for the high-moisture corn supplement. Results suggest that high-moisture corn can serve as a better supplement for grazing cows than dry corn, likely by providing more metabolizable energy and microbial protein due to more fermentable and digestible starch.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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