Whole-plant forage, grain or non-heading sorghum silages, cornlage, and feed flavor supplements for growing calves
W hole-plant forage, grain or non-heading sorghum silages, cornlage, and feed flavor supplements for growing calves
K . Bolsen 0
H. Ilg 0
M. Hinds 0
J. Hoover 0
0 Keywords Cattlemen's Day, 1983; Report of progress (Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station); 427; Beef; Forage; Grain; Sorghum silages; Calves , USA
Follow this and additional works at: http://newprairiepress.org/kaesrr Part of the Other Animal Sciences Commons Recommended Citation
See next page for additional authors
Thi s report is brought to you for free and open access by New Prairie Press. It has
been accepted for inclusion in Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station Research
Reports by an authorized administrator of New Prairie Press. Copyright 1983
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension
Service. Contents of this publication may be freely reproduced for educational
purposes. All other rights reserved. Brand names appearing in this publication are for
product identification purposes only. K-State Research and Extension is an equal
opportunity provider and employer.
W hole-plant forage, grain or non-heading sorghum silages, cornlage, and
feed flavor supplements for growing calves
Four whole-plant silages produced in 1981 and 1982 were evaluated using 176 calves in two growing trials.
Based on comparative rates and efficiencies of gain, feeding values were 115, 100, 78.5, and 62 for the
cornlage, grain sorghum, forage sorghum, and non-heading sorghum silages, respectively. The poor er values
for the forage and non-heading silages were due, in part, to low feed intakes. Rolling the grain and forage
sorghum silages to break 85% to 95% of the kernels did not improve their value, and the good performance by
calves suggests that the whole grain was well utilized.. A feed flavor supplement, Omniflavor, did not improve
performance in trial 1 but did increase rates and efficiencies of gain in trial 2.
Creative Commons License
Thi s work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
K. Bolsen, H. Ilg, M. Hinds, J. Hoover, and Ronald V. Pope
Thi s Research Report article is available in Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station Research Reports: http://newprairiepress.org/
Whole-plant Forage, Grain or Non-heading Sorghum
Silages, Cornlage, and Feed Flavor Supplements
for Growing Calves 1,2
Keith Bolsen, Harvey Ilg, Ron Pope, Mark hinds, and Jim Hoover
Four whole-plant silages produced in 1981 and 1982 were evaluated using
176 calves in two growing trials. Based on comparative rates and efficiencies of
gain, feeding values were 115, 100, 78.5, and 62 for the cornlage, grain sorghum,
forage sorghum, and non-heading sorghum silages, respectively. The poorer values
for the forage and non-heading silages were due, in part, to low feed intakes.
Rolling the grain and forage sorghum silages to break 85% to 95% of the kernels
did not improve their value, and the good performance by calves suggests that
the whole grain was well utilized.. A feed flavor supplement, Omniflavor, did not
improve performance in trial 1 but did increase rates and efficiencies of gain in
Sorghum silages are often the major energy feeds in cattle growing rations,
but limited information is available concerning nutritional values of today’s
improved hybrids. Also, we had not previously compared non-heading sorghum,
grain producing forage sorghum, or grain sorghum-types with corn silage. This
was one objective of these trials.
Previously, r e s e a r c h a t t h e H a y s B r a n c h E x p t . S t a t i o n s h o w e d t h a t
processing forage sorghum silage did not improve its feeding value. However,
research at Manhattan showed that the value of grain sorghum head-chop silage
was significantly improved by processing to break 95% of the kernels. A second
objective was to compare processed and unprocessed sorghum silages.
Cattle feeders frequently see low dry matter intakes with sorghum silages,
especially those that are high in moisture or low in digestibility. Flavor
compounds are sometimes used in the feed industry to improve palatability or
acceptability of a feed. A third objective was to evaluate the effect of a
commercial feed flavor on intake and utilization of silage rations by growing
1 The feed flavor was Ultra Sweet Livestock Omniflavor, produced by
Agrimerica, Inc., Northbrook, IL 60062.
2 Partial financial assistance was provided by Agrimerica, Inc. and A.O. Smith
Harvestore Products, Arlington Heights, IL 60006.
Trial 1. Three whole-plant silages were made in the fall of 1981: 1)
Dekalb FS-25A+forage sorghum; 2) Ferry-Morse 81 grain sorghum; and 3)
Ferry-Morse 3020 corn. The harvest dates, dry matters (DM), and grain yields of
the three crops are shown in Table 15.1.
Trial 1: 1981
Forage sorghum Sept. 23, 25, and 28
Grain sorghum Sept. 16 and 17
Corn Sept. 1, 4, and 7
Trial 2: 1982
Non-heading Oct. 4
Forage sorghum Sept. 23
Grain sorghum Sept. 20
1 Adjusted to 30% dry matter.
All crops were direct-cut using a Field Queen forage harvester equipped
with a 2-inch recutter screen. About 80 to 85% of the sorghum and corn kernels
remained whole. Both sorghums were ensiled in 16 x 50 ft concrete stave silos.
The corn was ensiled in a 14 x 40 ft Harvestore® . The cornlage was also used in
another trial (see page 54 of this Progress Report). All three structures were
opened during the 1st week of January, 1982.
Five silage rations were compared: each of the three silages fed without
further processing (whole), and the forage and grain sorghum silages fed after
processing through a Roskamp roller mill to break 85 to 90% of the kernels
(processed). Each silage ration was fed to 16 Hereford, Simmental, or Hereford x
Angus steer and heifer calves (four pens of four calves per ration). In addition,
two pens per silage ration received a supplement containing feed flavor
(Omniflavor) at 4.0 lb per ton of complete ration (DM basis). Another two pens,
received a control supplement. Each silage was full-fed with 2.0 lb of supplement
per calf daily. Rations were formulated to provide 12.5% crude protein (DM
basis), 150 mg of monensin per calf daily, and equal amounts of calcium,
phosphorus, and vitamin A. The growing trial was 84 days (January 20 to April
For the 6 weeks before the trial began, all the calves were fed
free-choice prairie hay and 3 lb of rolled milo plus soybean meal concentrate.
All calves were weighed individually on 2 consecutive days after 16 hr without
feed or water, at the start and at the end of the trial, Prior to the final
weighings, all calves were fed the same amount of feed (about 10 lb of DM).
Intermediate weights were taken before the A.M. feeding on days 28 and 56. The
calves were implanted with 36 mg of Ralgro at the start of the trial.
Samples of each silage were taken twice weekly. Feed intake was recorded
daily for each of the 20 pens and the quantity of silage fed adjusted daily to
assure that fresh feed was always in the bunks. Feed not consumed was removed,
weighed, and discarded as necessary.
Trial 2. Three whole-plant silages were made in the fall of 1982: 1) G
1990 non heading hybrid forage sorghum (non-heading sorghum); 2) Pioneer 947
forage sorghum (forage sorghum); and 3) Dekalb E 67 red grain sorghum (grain
sorghum). The harvest dates, DM contents, grain, and forage yields are shown in
All crops were harvested as described in trial 1. The non-heading sorghum
and forage sorghum were ensiled in 10 x 50 ft, and the grain sorghum in a 16 x
50 ft concrete stave silo. The silos were opened on November 18 and 19, 1982.
Four silage rations were compared: each of the three silages fed without
further processing, and grain sorghum silage fed after rolling to break about 95%
of the kernels. Each silage ration was fed to 16 Angus, Angus x Hereford, Angus
x Simmental, and Hereford x Simmental steer calves (four pens of four calves per
ration). In addition, t w o p e n s p e r s i l a g e ration received an Omniflavor
supplement (4.4 lb per ton of ration DM for the first 2 weeks, then 2.2 lb per
ton for the remaining 6 weeks). Another two pens received a control supplement.
The growing trial was 56 days (November 20, 1982 to January 15, 1983).
Four pens of four calves were also fed each of two additional Pioneer 947
forage sorghum silages, one treated with a silage additive and one urea-treated.
Two pens from each silage received the Omniflavor supplement, and two pens the
control. Rations were formulated, fed, and calves weighed as in Trial 1, except
calves were fed hay and concentrate for only 3 weeks before the trial began.
In both trials, statistical analysis showed no interaction between the silage
rations and supplement treatments. Therefore, results for silages and supplements
are presented seperately within each trial.
Results and Discussion
The seven silages in the two trials were well preserved and free of visable
mold, spoilage, or seepage.
Trial 1. Performance of calves receiving the three whole-plant silages are
shown in Table 15.2. Cornlage produced the fastest gains and highest intakes
(P<.O5); forage sorghum, the slowest gains and lowest intakes (P<.O5). Grain
sorghum silage and cornlage had better feed efficiencies than the forage sorghum
silage. For both forage and grain sorghums, calves fed the processed silages
gained slightly f a s t e r a n d c o n s u m e d s l i g h t l y m o r e f e e d t h a n t h o s e f e d
unprocessed silages (Table 15.3). Processing increased feed efficiencies by only
4.4 and 1.2% for the forage and grain sorghum silages, respectively.
Eighty-four day performances by calves fed the control and Omniflavor
supplements were nearly identical (Table 15.4). As the trial progressed, calves
receiving Omniflavor tended to consume less feed than those not receiving it
and, thus, had slightly better feed conversions.
Trial 2. Performances by calves fed the four silages are shown in Table
15.5. The two grain sorghum silages gave the fastest gains and highest intakes
(P<.O5); non-heading sorghum silage, the slowest gain and lowest intake (P<.O5).
Performance by calves fed forage sorghum silage was intermediate, except calves
fed forage sorghum made 3.3% more efficient gains than those fed grain sorghum
silage. Processing the grain sorghum silage did not improve calf performance.
The Omniflavor supplements improved rates and efficiencies of gain over
the controls throughout the trial (Table 15.6). Although feed intakes were
similar, calves fed Omniflavor were 8.5 and 6.9% more efficient at 28 and 56
Processing the sorghum silages in these two trials did not significantly
improve their nutritional values. Although cattle feeders often express concern
about how effectively the sorghum grain is digested from whole-plant silages, the
good performance by calves in these trials suggests that the grain was well
utilized. Also, high DM intakes (except for the non-heading silage) and mild
weather contributed to fast and efficient gains. Some compensatory gain may
have occurred, since the pre-trial hay + grain rations were rather low in energy.
But weighing procedures used should have prevented excessive fill from biasing
the gains upward.
The grain and forage yields of the crops are shown in Table 15.1. Silage
yields were not obtained in 1981. The two growing seasons were favorable in
Manhattan and contributed to the high grain content in the whole-plant silages.
Grain made up 31.4 and 47.9% of the silage dry matter in the forage and grain
sorghum silages in 1982.
Relative feeding values for the whole-plant silages were compared by
assigning a value of 100 to the grain sorghum silages, based on comparative rates
and efficiencies of gain. Cornlage had a relative feeding value of 115 and this
probably reflects its higher grain content. Forage sorghum silage had a feeding
value of 78.5 in trial 1 and 94.0 in trial 2. A major contributing factor was a
20% lower feed intake. The non-heading sorghum silage had a feeding value of
only 62.0, which was likely the result of its extremely low feed intake and very
high moisture content. Calves fed the non-heading silage consumed 29 and 43%
less DM than those fed forage and grain sorghum silages, respectively.
The feed flavor, Omniflavor, did not improve calf performance in trial 1
but did increase rates and efficiencies of gain in trial 2. In previous trials with
feeder lambs, feed flavor supplements have consistently improved feed efficiency
without affecting feed intake (Report of Progress 387, Kansas Agriculture Expt.
Station). The slightly reduced intake of the Omniflavor rations in trial 1 may
have been because the flavor was used at a higher average rate than in trial 2.
Additional trials are needed to determine the effect of combinations of feed
flavors and their use rates on performance of growing cattle fed silage-based
a b cValues with different superscripts differ significantly (P .05).
1 100% dry matter basis.
2Based on comparative rates and efficiencies of gain, with performance by
calves fed grain sorghum silage given a value of 100.
100% dry matter basis.
a b cValues with different superscripts differ significantly (P<.05).
1 10 pens of four calves/pen were fed each supplement.
2 100% dry matter basis.
G r a i n
Forage sorghum whole
s o r g h u m
0 to 28 days
a b cValues with different superscripts differ significantly (P<.05).
1100% dry matter basis.
Based on comparative rates and efficiencies of gain, with performance by calves
fed grain sorghum silage given a value of 100.
12 pens of four calves/pen were fed each supplement.
100% dry matter basis.
S i l a g e 2.07a 14.45a 9.5 0 to 56 days Omniflavor 1.71 7 . 52