Corn

The challenges and rewards of feeding byproducts

Corn gluten feed, brewers grain and whole cottonseed are some examples of options to stretch forage inventories when challenging weather conditions impair the optimal production, harvesting, and storage of forages.

Feeding byproducts from production, postharvest and processing of foods and other agro-industrial products to dairy cows has been routine practice for decades. Byproducts streamline diet formulation and constitute, on average, 30% of Midwestern dairy diets.

But this practice has been of utmost importance to dairy operations these last couple of years. Besides providing options to adjust dietary nutrients, feeding byproducts reduces feed costs and aids navigating through low forage inventories.  

Forage shortage

Corn gluten feed, brewers grain, whole cottonseed, wheat middlings and straw, cottonseed and soy hulls are some examples of options to stretch forage inventories when challenging weather conditions impair the optimal production, harvesting, and storage of forages. These byproduct feeds have considerable amounts of NDF and help fulfill fiber requirements of dairy cows.

But depending on their physical form, these feeds may lack physically effective fiber. Physically effective fiber stimulates chewing and salivation, rumination, gut motility and health, and is the structural basis of the ruminal mat. If the effectiveness of the fiber is too low, adjusting the amounts of rapidly fermentable carbohydrates fed is advised to reduce potential rumen health issues and milk fat depression.             


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