Dietary inclusion levels of ingredients in feedlot rations are largely based on economics, availability of feedstuffs.
Pleasant fall weather conditions and record or near-record corn yields have crop farmers smiling this year. This may be a different story, however, for cattle feeders, who cringe as corn prices skyrocket once again to potentially record highs.
Many feeders are wondering how high corn prices will go and how long they will stay at these high levels. Buying corn grain can comprise a large majority of feed costs for feedlot producers, especially if corn is the main ingredient in cattle diets. Increased feed costs result in diminished profit potential which may put an end to the recent streak of realized profits for cattle feeders.
Several years ago when corn prices first hit $5/bu., feeders were scrambling to find alternative, cost-effective feedstuffs to incorporate into finishing diets. At the time, many feeders first started utilizing corn milling co-products, predominantly distillers grains plus solubles (DGS), in place of portions of corn grain to reduce feed costs and improve profit potential.
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