Properly Processed Sorghum Can Be Used In Beef Feed Rations As A Replacement For Corn


   Sorghum has long been used as a feed grain in cattle production and performs well as a dependable, healthy ingredient for beef feed rations. While most producers and nutritionists choose corn as the primary grain, approximately 30 percent use sorghum as a secondary grain in the diets of beef cattle. Corn preference may reflect geographic availability rather than animal performance.
   Sorghum versus corn
   Research shows that sorghum grain can be used in beef feed rations as a replacement for corn. Sorghum and corn have comparable energy contents – and sorghum contains approximately 14 percent more crude protein than corn! Therefore, feeding sorghum grain as a replacement for corn will decrease the need for supplemental crude protein. 

   Processing sorghum
   Current research also indicates that processing sorghum grain may increase its feeding value for the livestock industry. Thermal processing using steam-flaking has a distinct advantage over other processing methods and is considered the optimal process technology for sorghum. With steam-flaking, the use of moisture, pressure and heat to lessen the bulk density of sorghum results in the disruption of the grain’s starch-protein matrix to improve feed conversion. Steam-flaking can improve the feeding value of sorghum by increasing the digestibility of starch in the rumen and the entire digestive tract. 
   To be even more precise, the most recent research denotes ideal flake density for sorghum grain at 23 to 26 pounds per bushel. Flaking to this density will improve feed efficiency by 12 to 15 percent over dry-rolling and result in a feeding value similar to that of corn. Using properly processed sorghum grain or by-products as feed for cattle typically results in similar animal performance as compared to corn.
   More detailed information about research on the feed value of sorghum for beef production can be found at For other agricultural animals, visit . ∆
   DOUG BICE: Market Development Director, United Sorghum Checkoff Program
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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