New research has shown that a substantial portion of the grain in cattle feed can be effectively replaced with corn stover – the plant’s stalks, cobs and leaves – when these harvest residues are treated with a common food ingredient known as hydrated lime, or pickling lime.
The alternative feeding strategy, which could improve feeders’ financial returns by lowering input costs without impacting the animals’ physical development, has been validated through recent studies conducted at Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska, Archer Daniels Midland says in a release.
“Using crop residues and coproducts, rather than higher-value grains, to help feed animals could enable the world to make more of the global harvest and help agriculture expand to meet all needs,” said Mike Baroni, vice-president of economic policy for Archer Daniels Midland Company.
In cattle-feeding trials, adding hydrated lime to corn stover rendered the plant material sufficiently digestible to constitute up to 25 per cent of cattle rations after the treated stover was combined with wet distillers grains and solubles. WDGS, a protein-rich feed ingredient, is a co-product of corn ethanol production.