As a grazing animal, cattle are best suited to grazing using open spaces that have lush grains that are capable of sustaining the number of animals that are feeding, but also with the freedom to roam since cattle were originally free ranging animals.
However, this is not a practical situation considering the fact that you will not have enough space for your cattle to roam freely and graze at their own pace and keep the ground around your property healthy and capable of maintaining quality growth. In warmer climates, it is possible to keep grazing all year long, but in colder climates, it is usually a matter of using open field space to create hay and straw that can be stored for the winter months.
Why has there been a move towards using corn to feed cattle?
As you consider the complications of raising cattle in the modern context, I’m sure that you can see some great reasons why you might want to move away from the traditional feeding methods for cattle. Let us take a closer look at various reasons why farmers are moving more towards a corn based diet for their cattle.
1. Corn provides a higher return on energy leading to faster growth.
When you compare corn to other forms of cattle feed, you will find that corn has a lower protein level, but it will also have a higher return on energy. This may not seem like an important item, but keep in mind that in the modern mindset of raising cattle, one of the biggest concerns is quick growth and development. The faster an animal can be raised to maturity, the sooner it will be ready to provide food or milk for the market. One of the most important factors for this is the amount of energy that is available from the food that the animal ingests. A higher energy level will result in faster growth and development. Another important factor in this is that any excess energy will be stored for future use and can prove beneficial for the provision of food after that point. A diet that has corn as a part of it will lead to faster growth and development which will mean a faster return on your investment in each of the animals that you are raising.
2. Corn is readily available all year round.
While you cannot grow corn in all seasons in all places, the United States has a strong interest in the growth of corn and because of this, corn is readily available not only for purchase, but it is an option that you can choose to grow for yourself since corn is one of the easiest options for long term storage as a food source for your cattle. With corn as a part of your cattle diet, you will have an easy source of food that will help to accelerate the growth of your cattle as well as help you with the space you need to have available for grazing.
3. You will need less space for grazing.
As we already discussed, grazing is an important part of making sure that your cattle are well maintained. Grazing is a part of their historical experience, but if you are using corn to help supplement the diet that you are supplying to your cattle, then you do not need to have as much grazing space dedicated to your cattle because they will be supplied with the nutrients that they need to grow and develop from the corn that you are giving them. This will free up more of your land space for other concerns and plans. This can be a huge advantage to your farm and property.
4. You will need less space for storage.
Storing hay and straw is difficult and requires a large amount of space. Not only will you need a large barn just to store this food, but you will need to make sure that the building is in good condition during inclement weather as well as being aware of pest problems you might have in the area in order to cut down on food loss from mice and rats that may find their way into your barn. Infestations of this sort can damage the quality of the straw and hay as well as may cause infection to your animals if droppings from the rodents gets into the feed as well. This can cause extensive damage to your entire herd of livestock.
What do I need to keep in mind if I decide to feed my cattle with corn?
If you are ready to consider using corn to feed your cattle, then you need o have some important tips on getting started in this process. One of the biggest issues is making sure that the corn that you are growing is protected from your cattle because they will be interested in take in that delicious corn when it is right near where they are grazing. You will want to make sure that you have a good solid electric fence in the way so that your corn is protected from cattle casually grazing on it. This will make sure that you have a hearty supply of corn available for your cattle during the winter months.
Just like you have to watch how much freshly popped popcorn you consume – this is especially true if you use a theatre style popcorn machine – you will also want to monitor your cattle to make sure that they do not experience grain overload. Corn does have that potential.
You will also want to make sure that your corn feed is supplemented with some of the nutrients that are missing from corn that they would normally get from grazing. These areas include calcium and potassium. If you make sure that you keep these levels high enough, then you will not have any issue with using corn to feed your cattle.
Should you consider corn to help feed your cattle?
Now that we have talked about the benefits of using corn to feed your cattle, it should seem evident that this is a great way to help your farm to provide a nutritious diet to your animals so that you can feed them as well as making sure that they are able to grow and develop at a faster pace that will make sure that you get a great return on your investment as well as providing a high quality feed for your animals. This is a cost effective method that will allow you to keep your costs down and make sure that you get what you need for and from your cattle.
Move your cattle to a corn diet today.
While it will take some time to shift your farm from a grazing site to a corn based diet, there is no reason to hold off on your move to make this happen. If you wait, you will lose time on your adjustment so that you will miss out on all of these great benefits.
Start planning today on how you will be able to change the focus of your farm from farming to the corn diet that you will want to make sure that you cattle are well fed and gain the benefits of that diet in their lives.