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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Graham

Corn Based Diet

Corn is a cereal grain that is high in starch but low in protein compared to barley, oats, and wheat. However, the structures on the kernel make the starch difficult to access therefore, the bypass starch percentage is higher in corn. Even with the bypass starch, the net energy of maintenance and growth for corn is higher than for barley. A corn kernel is made up of the bran (pericarp), endosperm, and germ. The pericarp is made up of 82% fibre and can easily be broken down by chewing. The endosperm makes up the majority of the kernel weight with 8% protein and 88% starch. However, this starch is in tightly packed cells filled with starch granules in a protein matrix that is not easily digested by ruminants. Starch digestion occurs in the rumen by the diverse microflora including bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. The protein matrix of the corn endosperm can only be penetrated by rumen fungi species. The germ contains the most protein of the kernel at 18% protein. Protein in corn is slowly degraded and therefore, the majority of the protein digestion occurs in the small intestine of ruminants, unlike barley, wheat, and oats.

The boys are working hard in conjunction with Impact Energy Services to get a roller mill set up at the feedlot. The process of dry rolling involves whole kernels being pushed through two horizontal steel rollers. This will break the kernel into pieces without creating high levels of fines. Dry rolling is used for oats, barley, wheat, and corn in Canada. Rolling these cereal grains increases the starch digestibility and increases the dry matter intake due to particle size. With our corn silage pit dwindling, we are going to continue our corn-based ration by including dry-rolled corn.


University Notes


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