Chanda Engel, NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center
Corn is a primary grain source for feeding cattle and is commonly processed by dry rolling in northern regions where the cold weather makes steam flaking a significant challenge. Tempering is a process in which water is added to corn prior to processing, to increase moisture content and improve rolling consistency. Typically, tempering is done with water but commercial surfactants are available and have been reported to have positive effects, when used with water. In addition, solubles from ethanol plants may be available to temper corn, as in addition to their moisture content they include additional protein and fat. \
This project was designed to investigate if there are advantages to animal performance, carcass performance, or profitability by adding water, a commercial surfactant, or corn distillers solubles to whole shell corn grain before processing through a roller mill. The project was completed using 150 predominantly Angus based feeder steers. Diet treatments were 1) dry-rolled corn, 2) water-temper rolled corn, 3) water + surfactant-temper rolled corn and 4) water plus condensed distillers solubles-temper rolled corn. Tempered corn treatments were soaked for a minimum of 12 hours prior to processing through and roller mill. Growing diets (60% concentrate, 55 Mcal NEg/lb) were formulated to be iso-nitrogenous and fed daily for two 28 day periods. Finishing diets were formulated with 85% concentrate (62 Mcal NEg/lb or higher) and fed until steers were ready for market (104 days on feed).
Overall, there were no differences observed between dry rolled or the three tempering treatments on animal weight gain, gain efficiency, dry matter intake, and carcass performance. However, while the overall carcass value and net profit per animal for the tempered treatments ($253/CWT and $1725.00, respectively) were similar, they tended to be greater than the dry rolled treatment ($245/CWT and $1632.00, respectively).