Document Type


Publication Date



Animal Husbandry Department

Circular Number

48 revised


Soft Corn, Corn, Cattle, Lambs, Hogs, Agronomy, Frost Damaged Corn


"To what class of livestock can I best feed my soft corn?" and "What is its value?" These are two questions frequently asked by farmers having a soft corn crop, one which they are not able to convert into silage or market at a satisfactory price. There have been about as many opinions as to its actual value per bushel as there were farmers who produced it. In an attempt to use the full growing season, many farmers have planted varieties of corn which need a longer growing period than exists in much of the State. Such varieties are more likely to be damaged by frost than the early-adapted ones, which are becoming more important in South Dakota as the acreage devoted to hybrid corn increases. Three times within the past 4 years (1942, 1944, and 1945) heavy frosts have caught a large amount of immature corn in the eastern part of the State. The answers to the soft corn questions were only partially available from previous experimental feeding trials at this and other State Agricultural Experiment Stations. There were no records of experiments in which soft, moldy corn was fed to lambs. Also, there were no experiments in which the different classes of livestock were fed from the same supply of soft corn at the same time. At the Illinois Station, where one feeding trial of soft corn was made with 2-year-old steers, the results indicated that ear corn silage was the most economical form for feeding soft corn; next in economy came shock corn, then broken ear corn, and finally "cattled-down" corn. Summing up the available research facts from all Stations wherein soft, immature corn, compared to mature corn, was fed to older cattle and hogs, the feed requirement for I 00 pounds gain was practically the same, when the soft corn was reduced to the moisture content of the mature corn. The experiments reported in this circular were conducted at the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station in 1942-43 and 1944-45 in order to obtain further information on the value of soft corn as a feed and on the livestock that could best utilize it.










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