A Producer Survey of Feeding Corn Co-Products
The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of corn co-products in beef systems in Iowa. A series of questions was developed and constructed into a survey format and distributed to 2,157 producers of varying production types throughout Iowa using a database compiled by ISU Extension Beef Field Specialists. A total of 349 (n=349) surveys were returned and evaluated. Of the surveys returned 243 producers indicated that they marketed fed cattle on an annual basis and 215 producers operated beef cow herds with some producers falling into both categories.
Overall it was determined that Iowa producers are taking advantage of including corn co-products into their nutrition programs. Large operations are more actively feeding co-products with 87% of beef cow operations over 200 head and over 90% of all producers marketing more than 500 head indicating they are currently feeding corn coproducts. The most commonly fed co-products were dry corn gluten feed, wet corn gluten feed, dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS), and modified distillers grains with solubles (MDGS).
When asked what the producers felt the primary advantages were for feeding corn co-products, the advantage of price was noted by an overwhelming majority (77%). Producers were also asked how their use of corn coproducts has been influenced and the most popular responses were that more co-products will be fed and that a comparison will be made between the price paid for each corn co-product on a delivered dry matter basis. With his in mind, it is reasonable to believe that Iowa beef producers are focusing on the most economical nutrition programs and that using corn co-products are a viable and economical resource for feeding beef cattle in Iowa.
However, some disadvantages were expressed by producers. The most common concerns were the storage issues of co-products, the problem of only needing a small amount of co-product at a time, and the increasing levels of sulfur common in corn co-products.