Date of this Version
2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report
A 2 × 3 factorial digestion study evaluated three corn silage hybrids and kernel processing for finishing steers. The three hybrids included a control corn silage, a brown midrib, and a brown midrib with a softer endosperm. Both brown midrib hybrids had greater fiber digestibility than the traditional control corn silage hybrid. No differences were observed between brown midrib hybrids for all other nutrients. Cattle fed brown midrib hybrids had a lower average ruminal pH compared to the control suggesting more fermentation, but no differences in volatile fatty acid concentration or proportions. Kernel processing had no effect on apparent total tract nutrient digestibility for any nutrients measured in this study. Kernel processing did not impact any ruminal characteristics or metabolism by beef steers. In finishing diets including elevated levels of corn silage, brown midrib corn silage hybrids allow for improved fiber digestibility and more energy available to the animal for improved growth performance over cattle fed control corn silages. Kernel processing did not appear to affect any ruminal fermentation and digestibility parameters, despite an observed improvement in feed efficiency in a similar finishing trial.