Feed Lot

AUG 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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14 FEED•LOT  August 2017 I am often asked about earlage, including the value of it as a feed- stuff (which I can answer easily, it's g reat), the expected yield (which I c annot predict), and the mechani- cal aspects of harvesting (of which I have a reasonable understand- ing). Therefore, my research for this article is a compilation of field experience, many lab analyses and more than a few interviews with clients whom harvest earlage and have the practical knowledge. We'll begin with the easy topic, nutrition- al quality and use. Earlage is most accurately defined as the chopped and ensiled ear of corn, including a portion of the husk and all the cob and kernels of corn. The table below is an average of 20 earlage samples from the past year taken between eastern South Dakota and western Illinois. The samples in the table repre- sent a nearly ideal average product, a bout 40% moisture, with adequate s tarch and low fiber (NDF) con- tent. Based on this analysis, dietary inclusion of earlage will be about 60-65% of the as-fed diet for grow- ing cattle and 40-45% of the as-fed diet for finishing cattle, assuming 65% dry matter of the total diet. I utilize earlage as the sole source of corn for growing cattle and a major source of the corn, with additional shelled corn, for finishing cattle. We have also been experiment- ing with using earlage as the sole source of roughage in finishing di- ets, pushing earlage inclusion clos- er to 50-55% of the as fed diet, and the results appear very promising. When balanced correctly, earlage is a highly palatable feed- stuff for starting, growing and finishing both beef and dairy/beef types of feedlot cattle. Not only is the kernel highly energetic, but the ensiling process also makes t h e c o b s o m e w h a t d i - gestible and a good source of rumen starch. Earlage is especially useful for finish- ing dairy/beef cattle, as it appears to improve palatability of the total mixed ration, without mak- ing the diet too high in moisture. E arlage as a feedstuff is gaining i n popularity throughout the Corn Belt; however, questions about ear- lage production are abundant. The major questions appear to be when to harvest, how to harvest appro- priately, what is the expected yield and is it cost effective compared to high moisture corn or corn silage. Essentially, earlage should be harvested at black layer, similar to high moisture corn. At this stage, the kernel is about 30-35% moisture, with the plant matter being compa- rable, to slightly higher. There should be some green left in the bot- tom of the stalk when earlage is har- vested, to help ensure the 35-40% moisture earlage product. Data from Pioneer suggest that earlage is roughly 20% cob/husk and 80% corn on a dry matter basis. The numbers summarized above indi- cate this is a bit low; it appears ear- lage is closer to 85% corn and 15% roughage. Thus if earlage is made from 150 bushel yield corn, the ex- pected dry matter yield per acre will be about 4.5 tons per acre. If the ear- lage is harvested at 40% moisture, the total as fed yield per acre will be Using Earlage for Growing and Finishing Cattle STOCKER SPECIAL Measure Value Moisture 40.0% Crude Protein 7.8% NDF 17.4% Starch 60.8% NEg 69 Mcal/cwt FNDF 57.5% By DAN LARSON, PH.D., NUTRITIONIST Specializing In: • Turn-Key Feedyard Construction • Hog Site Construction • Complete Dairy Construction • Sprinkler System • CAD Design • GPS Survey • Slipform Concrete Feedbunks • Dirtwork of All Types • Laser-Equipped Machinery • All types of Fencing Phone: 800-536-2634 maxjantzexcavating.com

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