Home > Feed/Corn Coproducts, Feedlot Operations, Livestock Health > Answering Your Questions: Feeding Hail Damaged Grain

Answering Your Questions: Feeding Hail Damaged Grain

September 22nd, 2009

loydan_2007_2in_72Late summer hail damage has left a lot of producers with moldy grain. Iowa Beef Center Beef Program Specialist Dan Loy answers a producer question on feeding this damaged grain to cattle.

Question: Is it okay to feed moldy grain to my cattle? Is there a certain amount that’s safe to mix into my rations?

Loy’s Answer: The answer to this question is not simple.  Any time mold is present there is the potential for grain to produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to cattle.  However, the presence of mold does not guarantee a problem.  Grain without visible mold can contain mycotoxins and extremely moldy grain can be very safe.  Generally cattle are more tolerant of mycotoxins than other species.  The most common problem with moldy grain is palatablity.  A common recommendation is to feed no more than 10% of the grain mix and then gradually increase that amount, closely watching acceptability.  To be completely safe grains can be screened  for major mycotoxins.  Talk to your local veterinarian for details of tests available through the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.

For more information about mycotoxins in hail damaged grain, check out the following Iowa State University resources:

Feed/Corn Coproducts, Feedlot Operations, Livestock Health , ,

  1. Dan Loy
    | #1

    Several years ago, a University of Minnesota study reported on corn grown to varying stages of maturity. This study produced corn with test weights of 35, 47, 55 and 58 lb. per bu. The digestibility of the 47 lb. corn was within 5% of the heavy corn. The lightest test weight corn (35 lb/bu.) was significantly lower in feeding value, but within 10%. More recently studies at South Dakota State and the University of Nebraska have compared normal corn to corn in the high 40’s in bushel weight and noted little difference in performance in finishing cattle. In sum, corn testing in the high 40’s, will likely be within 95% of normal corn in feeding value. Corn in the high 30’s and low 40’s will be within 90% of normal in feeding value, low enough though to justify adjustment in roughage levels or blending in order to maintain feedlot performance.

    The information mentioned above is on a pound-per –pound basis, so when pricing on a bushel basis be sure to make that adjustment. Even if corn at 46 pound per bushel was 100% the feeding value of normal 56 pound corn, it should be priced at 46/56*100=82% the price of normal corn. So if you assumed a 5% reduction in energy value on top of that the price per bushel should be 78% of normal corn.

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