Corn Use as Livestock Feed in Iowa

  • Peter J. Lammers (Iowa State University)
  • Mark S. Honeyman (Iowa State University)


Historically, feeding livestock has been a major use of corn in Iowa, a major corn growing state. Recently cornbased ethanol plants have become a major user of Iowa corn. Competition for corn has increased. Questions about the amount of corn fed to Iowa livestock have been raised. The objective of this study was to estimate the amount of corn fed to livestock in Iowa.

Current livestock production numbers for Iowa were multiplied by probable corn consumption per head of livestock to generate corn usage by species values. The corn consumption for livestock was based on ISU Extension budgets.

The total amount of corn fed to livestock in Iowa was estimated at 607 million bushels (Table 1). According to Iowa Agricultural Statistics the total bushels of corn produced in Iowa in 2006 was 2 billion bushels. Therefore, Iowa livestock consumed about 30% of the 2006 corn crop. Iowa finishing pigs were the largest class of livestock consuming corn, approximately 340 million bushels, which is about 16.6% of the Iowa corn crop, or 55% of all the corn fed to livestock in Iowa. If sows and litters are included, corn feeding for swine in Iowa is about 370 million bushels or 18% of the Iowa corn crop, or 60% of all corn fed to Iowa livestock. In short, Iowa pigs consume 1 of every 5 or 6 bushels of corn produced in Iowa and consume more corn than all other Iowa livestock feeding combined.

Based on these calculations, in 2006 about 70% of the Iowa crop was not fed to Iowa livestock, rather it was exported out of the state, processed into ethanol, corn sweetener, or other products such as pet food or other miscellaneous uses. This analysis shows that there is ample Iowa corn to feed Iowa livestock.

Keywords: ASL R2462

How to Cite:

Lammers, P. J. & Honeyman, M. S., (2009) “Corn Use as Livestock Feed in Iowa”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 6(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ans_air-180814-998

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Published on
01 Jan 2009
Peer Reviewed