“Why do you feed your cattle corn?” Glad you asked! There are a lot of reasons we feed corn, and not just because we are the “cornhuskers!” (#GBR)
Our cattle spend the majority of their life kicking up their heels in green pastures, and they continue kicking up their heels when they reach adolescence and switch to eating a corn diet with free choice hay for dessert.
As an animal science major, I have taken many classes focusing on animal nutrition, animal care, and learning from the experts about why ranchers do what they do. In my animal nutrition class, we learned corns abundance of protein, energy, and how easy corn is to digest in the stomach systems of cattle. The way it affects the cattle’s body is to provide them with all their essential nutrients and more to help deposit fat inside of their muscles (also known as marbling). It makes tremendous beef through this process, and especially healthy cattle, which is what happens when you meet all nutritional requirements in a diet.
As for sustainability, corn is one of the best thing we can feed in Nebraska. With the abundance of the corn crop on our property, across the road, and all around us, it doesn’t require much more transportation to get it from the field to the feed bunk! We use what the land in our area provides for us. Plus, in the winter when grass isn’t available ( ❄️) we are able to use the corn that wasn’t picked up by the combine for the cattle to graze on.
I can go on all day about how great corn is for cattle and so fitting for our Nebraska Raised Beef! What questions do you have about corn-fed cattle vs. other feeding programs?
In May, we trailered all cows to pastures that aren’t by our home farm. We live in a predominantly farm land area, so our pastures are spread out across the county. In the winter, we bring all the cows home so we can assist in calving, if needed. But we don’t have enough pasture and grass to sustain all of our cows year-round. This is why they are brought to their summer home (fancy, right?) when the grass is strong enough to support them.
Do you feel lost with all the vocabulary surrounding beef? Like what does USDA Prime mean? What’s marbling? What’s dry aged?
Don’t worry, we got you covered if you are feeling confused with all the beef slang! Some of the most common words in the beef industry include marbling, tenderness, USDA grades, and dry-aged.