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Corn silage needs protein for top gains

Corn silage is an energy-rich feedstuff, but lighter cattle can actually need added rumen undegradable protein.

If you want to get the most from a grower ration based on corn silage, you'll need to add the right amount and type of protein.

In fact, you can actually set up a programmed growing/backgrounding system on silage to produce whatever performance you want, from small gains to possibly 4 pounds average daily gain, says Andrea Watson, University of Nebraska animal scientist.

Several research trials in Nebraska and elsewhere have shown one of the most important factors in boosting gain, for those who want to, is to have a large proportion of the protein be rumen undegradable protein (RUP), also known as rumen bypass protein.

Watson explains protein used for growth by calves, and therefore critical in growing diets, is composed of feed protein that escapes degradation in the rumen (RUP) but is available in the lower intestinal tract, along with microbes that pass out of the rumen and also are a good source of protein for the growing calf. The latter form of protein is called microbial crude protein (MCP) by nutritionists.

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