Can Cows Eat Corn? The Facts You Need To Know

Can cows eat corn? We at Schnupp’s Grain Roasting receive this question often. Hear the facts you need to know from Joel Stauffer and Nelson Zimmerman, as they explain the benefits and liabilities of feeding raw corn and roasted corn to cows. 

What is the problem with feeding corn to cattle?

The problem with feeding corn directly by bringing it out of the field and feeding it to the cattle is that the corn can have molds and toxins present. And these molds and toxins are going to harm the cattle.

What type of harm could come to the cattle from the molds and toxins?

When cows get fed raw corn, the corn can make their digestive systems not work properly. This means that the cow is going to have an irritated gut and that irritated gut is going to keep the cow from being able to produce milk like it should. It will also keep the cow from breeding back like it should. 

Simply put, raw corn will affect the cattle and not allow them to perform well. The cow will get sick and that poor health will manifest in many ways. 

Why should I feed roasted corn to my cattle?

The reason you should feed roasted corn to your cattle is when you roast it, the corn becomes more digestible. So, you’ll get about 12-13% better digestibility, but will actually feed 12-13% less of the roasted corn. 

Roasting the corn also removes the toxins and molds. So, when you put hot air onto the mold and toxins, it expands that toxin very rapidly and it makes it burst. You want to put that corn through a heat treatment to get rid of the molds and toxins. You will then see your cows begin to eat more and sustain a healthy weight. The corn actually tastes better because it’s roasted, kind of like the peanut flavor. 

When the toxins get reduced during the roasting process, the cows in turn also digest their food better. This allows the cows to live a healthier life and produce healthier offspring. These cows will have healthier reproductive systems, produce more milk, gain more healthy weight, and generally have a better bill of health. 

I had heard that if you feed roasted corn, it does something to the butter fat. Is that true?

Yes! Cows that eat roasted corn have more butter fat, and the cows butter fat will improve. Some of that is because you aren’t feeding as much soluble protein because you get more bypass proteins in the feed through the roasted, so often the butter fat is enhanced. When you feed bypass protein over soluble protein, when the cow digests that, the soluble protein she will extract from her body in the urine, and that is just real volatile and will just go up in the air, you lose it. That’s called ammonium nitrates or nitrogen. When she eats it, and it’s bypass protein, that goes into our small intestine and gets digested. And from there, it comes back out as organic nitrogen. That’s what your crops will use. So, by feeding roasted grain, you can actually improve the fertilizer going out on your field through the manure, too. 

How do you unlock these benefits? 

We mentioned the toxin bursting when you make the corn hot, and that’s because we heat it fast through a flame roaster. We don’t heat it slowly, like cooking it with hot air or electricity that takes longer. We heat the corn right through the flame, which heats it up so fast that toxin will burst, killing the toxin and rendering it harmless. 

Another thing to remember with roasting corn is that you want to cool the corn down very rapidly when you’re done. If you leave the corn hot for too long, it’s going to turn the starch into sugar, which is a good thing, the gelatinization of corn. But if you cook it for too long, it’ll actually cook the sugar out of the corn, making it less digestible again. 

Have other questions?

Roasting corn for your cattle can offer many benefits to their health and your farm’s operations. If you have other questions about roasting corn or how to feed your animals, we are here to help. Contact us today or give us a call at (717) 865-6611 to learn more. 

Here at Schnupp’s Grain Roasting, we build the Roast-A-Matic Grain Roasters. And we build four different models, the model 50, which does one and a half tons per hour. The model 200, which does five tons per hour. The model 400 that does 12 tons per hour. And the model 800, which does 20 tons per hour. 

We would love to discuss these different models of roasters with you to see what would work for your farm and get you that wonderful roasted corn. 

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