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Corn Co-Products in Beef Cow Rations. John D. Lawrence, Iowa State University Darrell Mark, University of Nebraska. Types of Corn Co-Products. Corn gluten feed: wet mill Corn bran + steep Can be wet or dry Moderate crude protein, CP = 16-23% 80% of CP is DIP (ruminally degradable)

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corn co products in beef cow rations

Corn Co-Products in Beef Cow Rations

John D. Lawrence, Iowa State University

Darrell Mark, University of Nebraska

types of corn co products
Types of Corn Co-Products
  • Corn gluten feed: wet mill
    • Corn bran + steep
    • Can be wet or dry
    • Moderate crude protein, CP = 16-23%
      • 80% of CP is DIP (ruminally degradable)
    • Low fat, moderate fiber, TDN = 80
    • 101-115% of energy value of dry-rolled corn
    • Product variation is significant within and across plants due to amount of steep added back to the corn bran
types of corn co products1
Types of Corn Co-Products
  • Distillers Grains + Solubles: dry mill
    • Distillers Grains (65%) & Solubles (35%) (DM basis)
    • May be wet or dried
    • Higher crude protein, CP = 30%
      • 65% UIP (undegraded, “bypass”, protein
    • High fat (11%), TDN = 70-110
    • Concentrates nutrients 3-fold from corn
      • 0.8% P, 0.35-1.0% Sulfur (variable)
types of corn co products2
Types of Corn Co-Products
  • Condensed distillers soluables: dry mill
    • Also known as “syrup”
    • 35% dry matter but in liquid form
    • Higher crude protein, CP = 26%
    • High fat, low fiber, TDN = 110-115
  • Modified DGS are available
    • (35-65% DM)
  • Hybrid wet & dry plant combining corn bran and distillers solubles  bran cake
    • Example: Dakota Bran Cake
research in co product supplementation for cattle on forage
Research in Co-Product Supplementation For Cattle on Forage
  • If properly balanced there appears to be benefit using CGF or DGS to supplement cattle on forage diets
    • Little starch in CGF, so no negative effect on fiber digestion
    • Protein in forage highly degraded in rumen, so may need UIP supplementation
      • DGS is a good choice
    • Cattle on forage may need additional energy
      • DGS can provide this energy, along with the protein and phosphorous
      • One supplement reduces costs
limited research in co product supplementation for cows on forage
Limited Research in Co-Product Supplementation For Cows on Forage
  • Nebraska: DGS based supplement on winter range
  • Illinois: CGF and DGS similar to each other when supplementing corn stalks
  • Illinois: DGS had similar performance as corn-soybean meal for cows fed corn silage based diets
feeding levels
Feeding Levels
  • To meet protein and energy requirements for average cows in good condition fed as a supplement to corn stalks:
    • Last 1/3 of gestation, 3-5 lb. of DDS or 8-15 lb. of WDG per day
    • Early lactation, 6-8 lb. of DDG or 20-23 lb. of WDG per day
  • Fine-tune for the specific cow size, stage of production, condition score and weight gain

Dried Distillers Grains Fed with Corn Stalks to Meet

Protein & Energy Needs of Beef Cows by Month






Pounds per day


















Months After Calving

methods of feeding
Methods of Feeding
  • CGF and DGS
    • Wet or dry product
    • Total Mix Ration with forage
    • Limit feed to grazing animals daily or every other day
  • CDS
    • Free choice in open tanks or lick tanks like molasses on pasture and corn stalks
    • Mixed with forage at feeding or at storage
developing heifers
Developing Heifers
  • Control
    • Winter grazing & hay & protein supplement
  • Treatment
    • Winter grazing & WCGF supplement

Treatment saved $6.71 in costs

ddg supplement to steers on drought stressed pasture
DDG Supplement to Steers On Drought Stressed Pasture

Whole systems analysis finds better performance through grazing and feedyard

ddgs on brome pasture
DDGS on Brome Pasture

Control Fert DDGS

Grass ADG 1.37 1.37 1.95

Weight a 977 977 1065

Feedlot ADG 3.40 3.40 3.70

Weight 1368 1368 1491

aInitial wt = 767

  • Dry product is more costly, but stores well
  • Storing wet DGS product
    • Material exposed to air spoils in 7-14 days depending on temperature
    • Cowherds do not use fast enough for large loads
    • Has low pH and does not ensile but will keep in air-tight storage for long periods
    • Spoilage loss stored in silage bags (Walker et al)
      • 20% loss opened and fed day 78-112 post-sealing
      • 28% loss opened and fed day 190-257 post sealing
  • Storing wet DGS product
    • Often delivered in truck load lots
    • Can store wet DGS in bunker, silage bag or in pile covered with plastic to protect from air
    • Mix with tub-ground forage and stored in bunker or bag
  • Storing CDS
    • 70% water, protect from freezing
    • Can mix with tub-ground forage and stored in bunker or bag
storage could allow cattle producers to buy seasonal price lows
Storage Could Allow Cattle Producers To Buy Seasonal Price Lows

Seasonal Index of Dried Distillers Grains, Nebraska,



Seasonal Price Index

Seasonal Price Index + 1 Std Dev


Seasonal Price Index - 1 Std Dev


Price Index (% of Annual Average)

















Source: AMS & University of Nebraska-Lincoln

minimum levels of roughage to mix in wdgs for storage
Minimum Levels of Roughage To Mix in WDGS For Storage

Bagginga Bunker

Grass hay 15% 30-40

Wheat straw 12.5 25-32

Alfalfa hay 22.5 45-55?

DDGS 50 ---

ADMCGF 60 ---

a300 PSI.

Source: Erickson & Klopfenstein

  • Often low-cost high protein and energy feed
    • Particularly wet product near plant
  • Complements low quality forage
    • Winter feeding programs grazing crop residue
    • Feeding mature, poor quality grass hay
    • Drought stressed pastures
  • Extend summer pastures to carry more cattle on the same acres
  • Adding fat (DGS) to diets is shown to increase pregnancy rate in herds with low pregnancy rates
  • Reduced heifer wintering cost $10.47/head feeding DGS supplement on winter range in Nebraska compared to conventional hay based system
    • Savings from reduced hay and labor
    • Same pregnancy rates (97%)
  • Iowa Beef Cow Business Records report average winter feed cost per cow of $1.01 per day
  • Corn stalks and DGS can be much less
    • Baled corn stalks, $17-25 per ton
    • Dried distillers grains, $70 per ton
    • Before for processing, feeding loss, or vit & min
      • Late gestation cost would be $.38-.51 per day
      • Early lactation cost would be $.57-.72 per day
    • Wet distillers grains is lower cost than DDGS
    • Supplement grazed corn stalks will also lower cost
  • Distillers Grains for Beef Cows
  • A low cost vacuum storage method can preserve high moisture, distiller’s grains.Walker, Earing, and Mathews
    • %20A%20low%20cost%20vacuum%20storage--.pdf
  • The effect of vacuum stored high moisture distiller’s grains as a protein and energy supplement for beef cows Walker, Earing, and Mathews
    • %20The%20effect%20of%20vacuum--.pdf
  • Review of Recent Beef Cow Trials Feeding Distillers Grains
    • Nebraska Beef Cattle Reports: