J.W. Wilson

Bulletin No.


Document Type



Department of Animal Husbandry


1. With the rapidly increasing price of lands we believe a preliminary feeding period one of the best methods to follow in fattening cattle for market.
2. Corn silage produced more than twice as much grain as sorghum silage when fed as the sole ration. It required over twice as much sorghum silage for a pound of gain as it did corn silage.
3. When three pounds of oil meal were added to both the sorghum and the corn silage rations, the gains were more than doubled over lots that received the silages alone and the cost of producing the extra gains was reduced in both cases by adding oilmeal.
4. Large gains secured during the first 91 days of both experiments were maintained when steers were put on fattening ration.
5. Where the corn plant will mature there is no benefit to be derived in growing sorghum for the silo.
6. A preliminary feeding period with some cheap feed is desirable and we know of no other plant that will produce this cheap feed better than corn.
7. By feeding the leguminous hays better gains were made than with silage alone, but not as cheap gains. At the end of the 91 days of preliminary feeding period, steers that received silage alone were in better condition than any of the lots receiving corn silage and hay. This was probably caused by the additional corn received in the ration.
8. The results indicate that alfalfa hay is the best of the legumes to feed with corn silage for a large gain. By tables III and IV, weights and gains, it will be noted that steers of lot IV made larger gains per head than any of the other lots. These extra gains were undoubtedly caused by feeding alfalfa during the preliminary period. However, the gains of the steers that received sweet clover hay during the preliminary period were nearly as large as those that received alfalfa hay. Just what the result would have been had we fattened these two lots on the same grain ration I am unable to state.
9. Corn silage as the sole roughage with the grains proved to be a suitable substitute for hay, as the average daily gain per head of the different steers, when we consider the length of the fattening period, are similar to gains made in other experiments where hays were fed.
10. Prairie hay did not prove to be of as much value when fed with corn silage, during the preliminary period in producing a large gain, as did the hays made from the legumes. This no doubt was caused by the absence of protein in the ration. See analysis of hays.
11. Sweet clover considered by so many as a troublesome weed, when made into hay before the stems become too woody and the hay run thru a cutter, proved to be nearly as valuable for feeding with corn silage during the preliminary period as alfalfa hay.


steer feed, cattle feed, silage, livestock feed



Publication Date









South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts