North Dakota State Univ. researchers conducted a trial to evaluate the effect of low-density (low-test wt.) corn, resulting from insufficient growing degree days, on the performance of growing steers. A total of sixty beef steers (633 lb) were allotted to one of four dietary treatments in which low-density corn replaced 0, 33, 67, or 100 percent of high-density corn in a growing diet, which consisted of 42% dry-rolled corn, 35% corn silage, 15% mixed hay, and 8% supplement. The high-density corn weighed 56.0 lbs/bu., whereas the low-density corn weighed only 39.1 lbs/bu. The steers were fed individually once a day for 96 days.
Low-density corn inclusion in the diets did not significantly affect dry matter intake, average daily gain, or final weight. However, increasing the percentage of low-density corn significantly improved feed conversion. Dietary NEg also increased significantly as the percentage of low-density corn increased in the diet. The authors concluded that low-density corn is an excellent substitute for high-density corn in a growing diet for beef cattle (Larson et al. 2006. North Dakota State Univ. Beef Cattle and Range Report).
Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE