Benefits of Higher Energy Finishing Diets

Randy Rosenboom, Field Specialist

If there is one good thing to come out of feeding $8 corn, it’s that even cattle feeders that grow their own corn became acutely aware of the value of feed conversion. Everyone knew that F/G was important, but when the price of every single ingredient was high, it really hit home. When corn initially got high priced, many co-products were still a couple dollars cheaper than corn on an equal moisture basis. This past year, that came to an end.

With cheaper corn and co-products slow to come down, many producers have asked about feeding more corn and a higher energy final diet than they have fed in the past. Most of the yards I work with have stopped at a 63 NEg diet. This year, we are adding only enough co-products to get to 13% CP and pushing the final ration to 65 mcal NEg.

Shown below is a table that illustrates the value of a higher energy diet. While differences are not huge, when you start multiplying the advantage times a couple thousand head, it adds up fast.

Table 1

The difference in profitability between column 1 and 2 is approx $8-9/hd. I have shown the final column to illustrate how much DMI you can lose and maintain the same performance and profitability. Some producers are not capable of managing a 65 diet. So you can see, if you lose no more than 2 pounds dry matter, you did not hurt overall performance by going to a 65.

Obviously, the higher priced feed is, the more the difference will be. Also, most of my producers are not selling steers at 1400 pounds, but at 1500 and up. So for them, the advantage is even more dramatic. Grain and byproduct prices differ widely across the KNG market area, so you should evaluate these differences as they pertain to your own district.