Corn silage is a staple feed ingredient used here at P Cross Ranch. Corn is grown on marginal farm acres for grazing and on land closer to home for silage. Corn is very dependent on the moisture levels in the spring through until it is harvested. Silage is a high moisture forage when compared to hay. With the use of corn silage, we are able to utilize byproducts such as grain screenings, oat hulls, and lentil screenings in the backgrounding diets in the feedlot and still achieve the gains we are striving for.
The corn fields that are not silaged for the backgrounding diets are utilized for winter grazing for the cow herds. Standing corn provides high nutrients and easy to access feed for the cows, even when there are large amounts of snow. After grazing 600 head on the corn for over a month, we pulled them off to another field and supplemented with a silage based diet. However, now that the snow has melted off of this field, we were able to move the cattle back out to the standing corn to clean up any feedstuffs that the snow had been covering. Bred cows consume a significant amount of feed and mineral in the third trimester, therefore, any chance to save on silage and byproduct usage can have a significant effect on the overall cost of production for a cow herd.