PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT: Original Research| Volume 39, ISSUE 2, P79-93, April 2023

Download started.


Effects of 3-day versus 9-day whole-plant corn allocation and hay supplementation on performance, grazing preference, and ruminal fermentation of beef cows

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.



      This study was designed to evaluate the effects of a 3-d vs. 9-d whole-plant corn allocation period and hay supplementation on performance, grazing prefer- ence, and ruminal fermentation of beef cows.

      Materials and Methods

      Whole-plant corn grazing with beef cows was managed during the winters of 2015 to 2016 (yr 1) and 2016 to 2017 (yr 2). Ninety-six Angus- based crossbred cows, including an additional 16 ruminal- ly cannulated cows for a total of 112 head, were allocated in 4 replicated systems for 84 and 88 d in yr 1 and 2, respectively. A completely randomized block design with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was used: hay supplement or no hay supplement, with 3-d or 9-d alloca- tion period of corn forage.

      Results and Discussion

      Cow body weight, average daily gain, body condition score, rib fat, and rump fat were not affected by supplemental hay, allocation period, or their interaction. Cows fed no hay had greater corn intake than cows fed hay. Supplemental hay resulted in decreased grazing preference for stem, husk, and leaf. Al- location period affected grazing preference for husk. Mean ruminal pH, maximum pH, and duration and area (pH × min) that ruminal pH was <5.5 were not affected by supplemental hay, allocation period, or their interaction. Total short-chain fatty acid concentrations and molar pro- portions of acetate, butyrate, isobutyrate, and valerate and ammonia concentration were not affected by treat- ment. However, supplemental hay decreased the molar proportion of proprionate compared with that of cows not provided supplemental hay. An interaction was observed where cows fed no supplemental hay and cows with a 9-d allocation period had a greater molar proportion of isova- lerate compared with cows fed hay and cows with a 3-d allocation period, respectively.

      Implications and Applications

      Cow performance was not affected by hay supplementation nor allocation period. However, hay supplementation mitigated low ru- men pH risk and fecal starch loss and may reduce the risk of acidosis when grazing whole-plant corn with beef cows.

      Key words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • AAFRD (Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development)
        CowBytes Beef Ration Balancer, v. 5.32.
        Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, 2011
        • Aasen A.
        • Baron V.S.
        • Clayton G.W.
        • Dick A.C.
        • D. McCart- ney.
        Swath grazing potential of spring cereals, field pea and mixtures with other species.
        Can. J. Plant Sci. 2004; 84: 1051-1058
        • AOAC
        Official Methods of Analysis.
        19th ed. Assoc. Off. Anal. Chem. 2012
        • Baron V.S.
        • Najda H.G.
        • McCartney D.H.
        • Bjorge M.
        • Lastiwka G.W.
        Winter weathering effects on corn grown for grazing in a short-season area.
        Can. J. Plant Sci. 2003; 83: 333-341
        • Broderick G.A.
        • Kang J.H.
        Automated simultaneous determination of ammonia and total amino acids in ruminal fluid and in vitro media.
        J. Dairy Sci. 1980; 63: 64-75
        • CCAC (Canadian Council of Animal Care)
        CCAC guidelines on the care and use of farm animals in research, teaching, and testing.
        • Chibisa G.E.
        • Gorka P.
        • Penner G.B.
        • Berthiaume R.
        • Mutsvangwa T.
        Effects of partial replacement of dietary starch from barley or corn with lactose on ruminal function, short-chain fatty acid absorption, nitrogen utilization, and production performance of dairy cows.
        J. Dairy Sci. 2015; 98: 2627-2640
        • DeVries T.J.
        • Schwaiger T.
        • Beauchemin K.A.
        • Penner G.B.
        Impact of severity of ruminal acidosis on feed-sorting behav- iour of beef cattle.
        Anim. Prod. Sci. 2014; 54: 1238-1242
        • Fernandez-Rivera S.
        • Klopfenstein T.J.
        Yield and qual- ity components of corn crop residues and utilization of these residues by grazing cattle.
        J. Anim. Sci. 1989; 67: 597-605
        • Fernandez-Rivera S.
        • Klopfenstein T.J.
        Diet composi- tion and daily gain of growing cattle grazing dryland and irrigated cornstalks at several stocking rates.
        J. Anim. Sci. 1989; 67: 590-596
        • Goatcher W.D.
        • Church D.C.
        Review of some nutritional aspects of the sense of taste.
        J. Anim. Sci. 1970; 31: 973-981
        • Hall M.B.
        Determination of starch, including maltooligosac- charides, in animal feeds: Comparison of methods and a method rec- ommended for AOAC collaborative study.
        J. AOAC Int. 2009; 92: 42-49
        • Jancewicz L.J.
        • Swift M.L.
        • Penner G.B.
        • Beauchemin K.A.
        • Koening K.M.
        • Chibisa G.E.
        • He M.L.
        • McKinnon J.J.
        • Yang W.-Z.
        • McAllister T.A.
        Development of near-infrared spectroscopy calibrations to estimate fecal composition and nutrient digestibility in beef cattle.
        Can. J. Anim. Sci. 2017; 97: 51-64
        • Jasmer G.
        • Holechek J.
        Determining grazing intensity on rangeland.
        J. Soil Water Conserv. 1984; 39: 32-35
        • Jose D.
        • Larson K.
        • McKinnon J.J.
        • Penner G.B.
        • Damiran D.
        • Lardner H.A.
        Effects of winter-feeding system on beef cow per- formance, ruminal fermentation, and system costs.
        Appl. Anim. Sci. 2020; 36: 731-744
        • Jungnitsch P.F.
        • Schoenau J.J.
        • Lardner H.A.
        • Jefferson P.G.
        Winter feeding beef cattle on the western Canadian prairies: impacts on soil nitrogen and phosphorus cycling and forage growth.
        Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 2011; 141: 143-152
        • Kelln B.M.
        • Lardner H.A.
        • McKinnon J.J.
        • Campbell J.R.
        • Larson K.
        • Damiran D.
        Effect of winter feeding system on beef cow performance, reproductive efficiency, and system costs.
        Prof. Anim. Sci. 2011; 27: 410-421
        • Khorasani G.R.
        • Okine E.K.
        • Kennelly J.J.
        Forage source alters nutrient supply to the intestine without influencing milk yield.
        J. Dairy Sci. 1996; 79: 862-872
        • Kleen J.L.
        • Hooijer G.A.
        • Rehage G.A.
        • J. P. T. Noordhuizen.
        Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA): A review. J.
        Vet. Med. A Physiol. Pathol. Clin. Med. 2003; 50: 406-414
        • Klopfenstein T.
        • Roth L.
        • Fernandez-Rivera S.
        • Lewis M.
        Corn residues in beef production systems.
        J. Anim. Sci. 1987; 65: 1139-1148
        • Lamm W.D.
        • Ward J.K.
        Compositional changes in corn crop residues grazed by gestating beef cows.
        J. Anim. Sci. 1981; 52: 954-958
        • Lardner H.A.
        • Wright S.B.M.
        • Cohen R.D.H.
        Leaf de- velopment of eight grass species following grazing.
        Can. J. Plant Sci. 2002; 82: 747-750
        • Lardner B.
        • Larson K.
        • Pearce L.
        Winter grazing beef cows with standing corn. WBDC Fact Sheet #2012-02. Western Beef De- velopment Centre.
        Date: 2012
        Date accessed: August 15, 2022
        • Lardner H.A.
        • Pearce L.
        • Damiran D.
        Evaluation of low heat unit corn hybrids compared to barley for forage yield and quality on the Canadian Prairies.
        Sustain. Agric. Res. 2017; 6: 90-102
        • Larson K.
        2014 Western Canadian cow-calf survey aggregate results.
        WBDC, 2015
        • Lauer J.
        Methods for calculating corn yield. Field Crops 28:47–33.
        Univ. of Wisconsin, 2002
        • Lowman B.G.
        • Scott N.A.
        • Somerville S.H.
        Condition scoring of cattle.
        Bulletin East of Scotland College of Agriculture, Edinburgh School of Agriculture1976
        • Marx T.
        Body condition scoring your cow herd.
        Government of Alberta$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/beef8822
        Date: 2004
        Date accessed: March 2, 2019
        • May W.E.
        • Klein L.H.
        • Lafond G.P.
        • McConnell J.T.
        • Phelps S.M.
        The suitability of cool- and warm-season annual cereal species for winter grazing in Saskatchewan.
        Can. J. Plant Sci. 2007; 87: 739-752
        • McCartney D.
        • Fraser J.
        • Ohama A.
        Potential of warm-sea- son annual forages and Brassica crops for grazing: A Canadian review.
        Can. J. Anim. Sci. 2009; 89: 431-440
        • McMillan S.
        • Penner G.
        • McKinnon J.
        • Larson K.
        • Anez-Osuna F.
        • Damiran D.
        • Lardner H.A.
        Use of extensive winter feed- ing systems for backgrounding beef calves and the effect on finishing.
        Prof. Anim. Sci. 2018; 34: 19-31
        • NASEM (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine)
        Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle.
        8th rev. ed. National Academies Press, 2016
        • O’Keefe C.
        • Penner G.B.
        • McKinnon J.J.
        • Larson K.
        • Damiran D.
        • Lardner H.A.B.
        Effect of stage of maturity at harvest of cereal crops on biomass and quality, estimated forage dry matter intake, beef cow performance, and system economics.
        Appl. Anim. Sci. 2022; 38: 607-619
        • Penner G.B.
        • Beauchemin K.A.
        • Mutsvangwa T.
        An evaluation of the accuracy and precision of a stand-alone submersible continuous ruminal pH measurement system.
        J. Dairy Sci. 2006; 89: 2132-2140
        • Plaizier J.C.
        • Krause D.O.
        • Gozho G.N.
        • McBride B.W.
        Subacute ruminal acidosis in dairy cows: The physiological causes, in- cidence and consequences.
        Vet. J. 2008; 176: 21-31
        • Rosser C.L.
        • Beattie A.D.
        • Block H.C.
        • McKinnon J.J.
        • Lardner H.A.
        • Górka P.
        • Penner G.B.
        Effect of the frequency of forage allocation and harvest maturity of whole-crop oat forage on dry matter intake and ruminal fermentation for beef heifers.
        Prof. Anim. Sci. 2017; 33: 85-91
        • Saskatchewan Soil Survey
        The soils of Prairie Rose rural municipality No. 309, Saskatchewan.
        Saskatchewan Institute of Pedology. University of Saskatchewan, 1992
        • SMA (Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture)
        Grazing standing corn—Reducing the risk of acidosis.
        • Valentine J.F.
        Grazing Management.
        Academic Press, 1990
        • Vanzant E.S.
        • Cochran R.C.
        Performance and forage utilization by beef cattle receiving increasing amounts of alfalfa hay as a supplement to low-quality, tallgrass-prairie forage.
        J. Anim. Sci. 1994; 72: 1059-1067
        • Volesky J.D.
        • Adams D.C.
        • Clark R.T.
        Windrow grazing and baled-hay feeding strategies for wintering calves.
        J. Range Manage. 2002; 55: 23-32
        • Willms W.D.
        • Rode L.M.
        • Freeze B.S.
        Winter perfor- mance of Hereford cows on fescue prairie and in drylot as influenced by fall grazing.
        Can. J. Anim. Sci. 1993; 73: 881-889