Commodity Feedstuffs in Cow/Calf and Stocker Rations


  • Dale A. Blasi Stocker and Forages, Nutrition and Management, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506



Nutrition, feed input costs, Byproducts, grain processing industries, nutrient requirements, feeding guidelines, storage concerns


Nutrition is the largest non-ownership cost associated with beef production. The beef industry's Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) data on one million cows from 500 herds estimates that nutrition is responsible for 54% of total cash costs and 38% of total costs (Weaber, personal communication). Several options exist for astute managers intent on minimizing feed input costs. For example, if readily accessible and competitively priced, traditionally used byproducts such as soybean (SBM) or cottonseed meal, highly digestible fiber byproducts such as corn gluten feed (wet or dry; WCGF, DCGF), soybean hulls (SBH) and wheat middlings (WM) are a few of the many types available that efficient minded producers can use to reduce feed costs.

Byproducts of this nature originate from various milling industries in which the grain or oilseed undergoes extensive processing to extract the starch or oil for human or industrial use.

The annual production of WM, DCGF and WCGF, and SBH in the US approximates 7.4, 5.7 and 3.3 million tons, respectively. Other byproducts that are highly digestible include distillers dried grains, beet pulp and rice millfeed. In general, the protein and energy contents of these byproducts are complementary to lowquality forages and predominant forage-based growing rations when compared to traditional oilseed byproducts and grain.

Historically, grain processing industries such as wheat flour mills have marketed their byproducts primarily to commercial feed companies. As a general rule, the processing center derives approximately 10 - 15% of gross revenues from byproducts destined for livestock feeding4,5 hardly a significant reason for allowing the production and/or demand of byproducts to drive the entire process. However, increasing production costs and declining margins along with the opportunity to add value to the purchased crop commodity has encouraged grain and oilseed processors to rapidly adopt the notion of pelleting and directly marketing the resulting byproducts to beef producers. Pelleting byproducts at many grain processing and oilseed extraction centers has effectively reduced dust pollution, short term on-site storage concerns and accelerated the acceptance of byproducts by livestock producers through ease of transport and enhanced storage characteristics.42

Several factors should be considered first before byproducts are incorporated into an existing feeding program. First, the location of the processing facility must be well within the marketing radius of other competitively priced feedstuffs. Second, the nutrient composition of the byproducts should complement the intended animal's nutrient requirements. Third, besides unit cost and availability, the nutrient composition of the byproduct should be relatively consistent from load to load. This review article will address the factors which affect nutrient utilization, feeding guidelines and storage concerns with byproducts of this nature.

Author Biography

Dale A. Blasi, Stocker and Forages, Nutrition and Management, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506

Associate Professor and Beef Extension Specialist,






Cow-Calf Sessions