Corn Addition in Fiber-Based Supplements to Grazing Cattle

  • Sara J. Morine (Iowa State University)
  • Mary E. Drewnoski (University of Idaho)
  • Stephanie L. Hansen (Iowa State University)


Producers typically supplement energy to growing cattle on forage-based diets to improve cattle performance. However, high starch content of the energy-based supplements has been shown to have negative effects on forage intake and fiber digestion when fed in large amounts. The addition of small amounts of corn may further increase performance beyond that of fiber-based supplements alone. The addition of starch may have a positive associative effect with fiber digestion on overall ruminal digestion by stimulating greater bacterial growth. Fiber digestion was not negatively affected in a previous study where steers were fed ad-libitum bromegrass hay alone or were supplemented at 1% BW with soyhulls or a mixture of soyhulls and corn. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of inclusion of corn at 20 or 40% in a soyhull-based supplement on growing cattle weight gain when supplemented at 1% of body weight. Under the conditions of the study, the results suggest that adding cracked corn at 20 or 40% of a fiber-based energy supplement does not affect forage intake and may have potential to increase growth of grazing cattle when dietary protein is not limiting

Keywords: Animal Science

How to Cite:

Morine, S. J., Drewnoski, M. E. & Hansen, S. L., (2014) “Corn Addition in Fiber-Based Supplements to Grazing Cattle”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 11(1). doi:

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Published on
01 Jan 2014
Peer Reviewed