Editor’s note: The following information is an excerpt from an article written by Bill Weiss, professor and extension dairy specialist at The Ohio State University.
“Historically corn grain has been the cheapest source of starch in the Midwest; however, in the era of high corn prices, other starch sources should be evaluated. Wheat and barley contain 65 to 75% starch, and their starch is usually more digestible than starch from corn grain. Usually, but not always, they are more expensive sources of starch and energy than corn. Because starch from wheat and barley is more digestible than corn starch, wheat and barley-based diets should be lower in starch than corn grain-based diets, which could also result in some feed cost savings. Hominy contains about 50 to 55% starch and can be a major starch source if the price is competitive. Hominy is higher in fat than corn grain which should limit its inclusion rate to a maximum of about 20% of dietary dry matter (this would provide 12 percentage units of starch). Corn silage, depending on hybrid and maturity, contains 20 to 40% starch. To obtain a diet with 25% starch and using average corn silage, an average Holstein cow would need to be fed about 5 pounds more corn per day when fed a diet with 55% forage comprised of 70:30 alfalfa:corn silage than if she was fed a diet with 30:70 alfalfa:corn silage.”
Please see “Should Major Diet Adjustments be Made Because of High Corn Prices?” for more advice on feeding corn when prices are high.
Source: December 2011 Buckeye Dairy News