Corn silage in beef cattle diets
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Feeding corn silage to beef cattle is obviously not a new idea. For a variety of reasons though, many producers have not used this feed resource for several years. This year, many acres of corn were chopped or baled for silage. This is excellent feed for beef cattle, but does require a different approach than hay feeding.
Information from Iowa State University states that because drought damaged corn silage is often stored in make-shift or temporary facilities, a great deal of spoilage can occur due to poor packing, insufficient silage pack depth, and poor oxygen exclusion. Storage losses can be as high as 40 percent for uncovered stacks or piles. Make sure spoiled feed is discarded and only good quality material is used when feeding out of temporary storage structures.
Oxygen is the enemy of silage, and oxygen exposure results in increased spoilage. Silage should be kept fresh by feeding 3 to 4 inches of silage from the face of the silo daily. This limits nutrient losses in the silo due to oxygen exposure.