I have a steer that I'm going to have butchered in December, so I'm wanting to corn feed him for a few weeks. I hear that I should use cracked corn over whole corn, as it is assimilated better. How many pounds of the cracked corn a day should I be feeding him? I was thinking about 15 pounds, but is that too much or not enough? He is a tad over 700 pounds, and I had wanted to keep him longer so he could get bigger, but he has gotten so dang mean I need to get him to the butcher asap.
You can work up to 12-15 pounds, but do so gradually. I've found if my steers have good grass available, they usually won't eat that much. Usually what I ended up feeding was about 8-10 on mine. If he eats it all as you slowly increase it, just give him a bit more. My last steer would have eaten a boat load I think, he was really a growing.
Yes, it needs to be cracked, as whole will go right through them.
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When I finished out some calves last year and the year before, I found that I had the best result if they were given small amounts (I was feeding about 1% of their body weight) for long periods of time (I fed for 150 days) rather than large amounts (I fed one group 2% of their body weight) for short periods of time (the same group was on feed for ~60 days).
As to corn... I'm told that cracked, whole, crushed, rolled, ground, etc is all digested so similarly there's no difference. The GI tract just takes the nutrients it needs and leaves the rest. With cracked or ground corn, it's already so small you don't see it in the manure. With whole corn it's much more obvious. FWIW... cows aren't the only animals that whole corn looks the same when it comes out as when it goes in...
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I don't think feeding corn at this date would do you any good, if anything could do you some harm! Cattle have to be adjusted to corn slowly. 90 days is good if you want to feed and get benefit from corn.
If you feed enough to gain weight in a small amount of time, you will more likely just get an animal with a sick stomach that loses weight from not feeling good.
Ohh, okay. Well, the people that have Highlands that I know are finishing (buturing early Jan) with 30 lb. of grain, but they're wanting 600# hanging weight, so I'm assuming they're at about 1000 lb. now, which would mean they're getting 3# grain /100# body weight, so your animal at 700# would be a bit over 20# of grain.
I say save the bucks $$$$ and not feed the corn. We had a hanging weight of 500 lbs on a 18 mos old hereford, excellent marbling. A 592 hanging weight on a 28 mos, highlander with not as noticeable marbling but excellent flavor. ALL 100% grassfed, no corn with the tiny exception on some sweet corn stalks for 3 days prior to loading. 2-3 stalks a day per cow, gets them very easy to load. When I say excellent marbling, I also can say excellent taste also.
But with it alreading getting grain, straight corn isn't going to do much except a stomach ache. The fat layer is there.
I would take issue with what milkmaid said in her post. If you can see whole corn in the manure it is not being digested, merely passed through the system. Cracked corn has more surface area and is more completely digested. As far as dairy steers go I have always put them on as much corn as possible. I gave them free choice corn stalks, hit them with about 1 pound of protein, rumensin and tylosin. Now you can't do this if your going for the natural beef route. But if you are seeing a lot of corn in the manure you need to increase protein.
"In theory, processing grain should improve the digestibility and feed conversion of a feed by (1) reducing particle size that allows for more sites of attachment for rumen microbes and (2) some processing methods change the structure of the starch rendering the feed grain more digestible. However, as previously stated, further processing always comes with additional cost, and the improvement in grain digestibility and feed conversion must outweigh the cost for additional processing.
Corn is one grain that can be fed whole when it is being used a supplement. A study conducted at the University of Arkansas in the early 90's reported no difference in the growth performance of steers grazing bermudagrass pasture and supplemented with either whole or ground corn at one percent of body weight over an 84-day grazing period. "
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