Monday, September 17, 2012

Stretching Feed Supplies and Improving Nutrition

MU researcher and partners will share techniques to improve digestibility of corn stover and other feed alternatives at Sept. 20 evening program.

Mid-Missouri cattle producers can learn techniques to improve feed alternatives and strategies to stretch their hay supplies on Sept. 20 at the Beef Forage Field Day at MU’s Beef Research and Teaching Farm, just south of Columbia off Highway 63.

Sign-in begins at 5:30 p.m. and the outdoor program begins at 6 p.m. The Missouri Corn Growers Association is sponsoring a free meal following the workshop. Call the Beef Research Center at 573-882-2829 to register and reserve a meal.

Justin Sexten, University of Missouri beef nutritionist, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association are working together to explore alternative forages and to demonstrate how to improve digestibility of corn stover and lower-quality CRP hay by 15 percent while doubling the feeds’ protein content. “We’ll show what we have for getting cows through the winter,” Sexten said.

Incorporating a specific treatment process called ammoniation, producers can treat corn stover at a cost of approximately $25 per ton of forage. The added nutritional value makes it an economical choice in a season filled with climatic and economic challenges.

Sexten will also demonstrate treatment of processed corn stover with calcium hydroxide. Similar to ammoniation, stover digestibility is improved with this process and the protein content remains unchanged. The process is relatively unknown and has generated lots of questions. “We will be learning, but we do know it increases digestibility in the rumen.”

Different hay feeders will also be on hand and Sexten will discuss the different designs as they relate to minimizing hay waste.

Several people are trying strategies for the first time this year, such as bailing corn stover. Sexten said in addition to the demonstrations, he wants to answer producers’ questions.

“The livestock industry is our No. 1 customer,” said Gary Wheeler, vice president of operations and grower services for Missouri Corn. “Through free forage demonstrations, we are working to help connect corn growers with cattlemen for the good of all parties involved.”

Farmers interested in purchasing or selling corn stover, cornstalks or hay as a feedstock are encouraged to visit the following online forage directories:

(by Mike Burden, MU Senior Information Specialist)

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