Interpretive Summary: Evaluation of the effects of corn silage maturity and kernel processing on steer growth performance and carcass traits
By: Forest L Francis, Erin R Gubbels, Thomas G Hamilton, Julie A Walker, Warren C Rusche, Zachary K Smith
Kernel processing of corn silage has yielded inconsistent results on diet digestibility and growth performance in beef cattle. These are likely a function of a variety of factors such as differing dry matter concentration of corn silage at harvest, diet inclusion levels, and length of cut. Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect that kernel processing of corn silage has on production responses in growing (65% dietary dry matter inclusion) and finishing beef steers (20% dietary dry matter inclusion). Data from the growing steer experiment when corn silage was included in the diet at 65% (dry matter basis) indicate that kernel processing of corn silage enhances dry matter intake and daily weight gain of beef steers with no appreciable influence on DM conversion efficiency. Data from the finishing steer experiment indicate that harvest maturity and kernel processing of corn silage have minimal effects on animal growth performance and carcass traits in finishing steers when corn silage is fed at 20% inclusion (dry matter basis). Variable responses could be related to differences in inclusion level, differences in effective roughage level fed, and a variety of other factors. Overall, these results suggest that corn silage fed to growing calves should be kernel processed to enhance dry matter intake and daily weight gain, while kernel processed corn silage fed to finishing steers does not appreciably influence daily gain, efficiency of gain, or carcass parameters.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.