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Veteran Advisor

Re: From the floor July 22

There are quite a few feedlots local here, and a good number of them are addicted to feeding distillers grains.  Most of them raise at least SOME of their own corn, and ethanol by-products are being used to offset high priced feed.  For example, instead of the normal corn-hay ration that used to be fed, they are replacing up to half the corn with by-product, and since it is more nutrient dense, they can cut the hay with lesser valued feeds such as baled cornstalks and wheat straw.  When we used to raise much wheat, our cows wouldn't eat the straw, but just nose through it here and there.  People have found that you can tip a round bale of straw on its side, add in a certain amount of liquid by-product (steep) in each bale (not sure how much, but there is a certain amount depending on how much the bale weighs)  They let it soak into the straw overnight, then grind the straw bales, mix it in the ration, and the cattle eat it like candy.  If you have a mixer wagon, you can do similar with wet distillers grain, and cornstalk bales.

So, instead of the old ration of 20# of corn, plus hay for a fattening ration, they do 10-12# of corn, 5# of distillers grain, and instead of grass-alfalfa hay for the roughage, they can go 1/3 to 1/2 alfalfa, and the rest can be anything from grass to cornstalks to wheat straw.  Rations vary greatly depending on the feedlot, and what the nutritionalist has to work with.

The one common thread I keep hearing is that instead of operating 3 semis with 3 drivers, they can feed the same number of cattle with 2 semis and 2 drivers bringing in the feed, because they need less tonnage of by-product than corn, and can utilize more local feed such as stalks or straw.  One less semi & one less employee can add up to a lot of $$$ over a year.

By using by-products, they can make more profit per calf.  However, the feedlots that raise some of their own corn are talking about taking in less cattle, and not buying any additional corn, just more or less buying enough calves to eat the corn they raise, until the price of corn goes down.  Could make for interesting happenings come fall.


Edit, I had a typo when I wrote this, I since changed it to the right numbers.  Sorry for any confusion.

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Senior Contributor

Re: The fat rations you speak of

are pretty close.


Say a 50/50 ddg, wdg, gluten/corn mix for the energy protion of the ration. Add a touch of balancer to cut ddg sulfur, add 5 to 7# of roughage and be done with it.  Matter of fact with gluten in there, you can take 90% of the corn out. 


On your growing  ration it takes no corn, just roughage with a touch of wdgs or ddgs, gluten etc..



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