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  #1  
Old 11/21/03, 05:30 PM
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Soaked Corn for Livestock

On a recent thread there was a discussion of the cost/benefit difference between whole kernel and cracked corn. Is soaked whole kernel corn also a viable option? For example, you use a four bucket system. Put one day's corn ration in each bucket and then add enough water to cover the corn. After four days feed out one bucket and then put corn and water in it again. It then goes to the end of the line so after the initial four days, each bucket would have been soaking four days.

When I went out of town for a long weekend I filled a rubber hog pan with whole kernel corn for the turkeys. It rained the next day so the corn was soft when I returned. I fed it out to a heifer who seemed to relish it.

As I recall, this was once a common way to feed whole kernel corn to hogs. Seems like it would aid the digestion within cattle also.

Ken Scharabok

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Old 11/21/03, 07:14 PM
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Never tried it but if it starts to decompose or is not cleaned up and rots in the trough you are risking listeria. Whole corn is tough to digest for cattle, so if you can't get it cracked, soaking might work fine. Just keep things clean.

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  #3  
Old 11/21/03, 09:38 PM
 
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I would worry about growing something nasty in there, especially in hot, or variable weather. I would also wonder how much of the nutrients would be lost in the water. Just like canned corn loses some of it's nutrition in the juices.

My husband, a third (at least) generation farmer who's been farming for 40 years, has never heard of doing anything like that for cows. He did say that mixing ground feed for hogs with water (slop) does make them grow faster. He used to have feeders that did this automatically.

I doubt that any advantage gained in soaking corn would really be worth the extra labor. Just going on my own thinking....I would think that you would be losing nutrients, rather than gaining them.

Jena

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Old 11/22/03, 03:11 AM
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Jena:

I should have been more specific. Only enough water would be added to soak into the corn. Ideally, there would be no water left - it would all be absorbed by the corn so it is ready to be digested, instead of having to go through the soaking process inside the livestock.

Since only a couple of days are involved, I seriously doubt any rot or mildew would appear. If the corn is sprouting, it would have been left to soak too long.

How much extra work would it be? However, I can see where stirring it each day would help even out the soaking process.

Ken

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  #5  
Old 11/22/03, 08:19 AM
 
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If you really want to know...

Get your corn tested before it goes in the cow. Then feed them the regular way and have the manure tested. Then feed them with soaked corn and have the manure tested.

That's the surefire way to know if there's a difference in digestability.

Jena

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  #6  
Old 11/22/03, 10:37 AM
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If someone is feeding out a steer in a confined area perhaps they can do this experiment for us:

Feed whole kernel corn for a week and observe if the kernels appear to still be whole in the manure.

Skip feeding whole kernel corn for a week to let their digestive system clear out.

Feed whole kernel corn which has been soaked, and occasionally stirred, for at least three days and observe if the kernels appear to still be whole in the manure.

I admit it would not address feed value, just digestability.

Ken S. in WC TN

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Old 11/22/03, 04:05 PM
 
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I've seen this just lately when mine got into the deer corn--NO they don't digest it, it passes whole.

I never fed soaked corn. Cracked seems to be okay, but remember their rumens don't use the same buggies for corn that they do for cubes and hay. It takes a while for them to switch over.

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  #8  
Old 11/22/03, 08:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jena
I would also wonder how much of the nutrients would be lost in the water. Just like canned corn loses some of it's nutrition in the juices.
.....................
I would think that you would be losing nutrients, rather than gaining them.
Jena

Nutriant values are lower/ lost in canned food because of the heat/cooking not the water, soaking a seed begins the sprouting process all sprouted seeds are higher in over all nutrition than the dormant seed, the protein ration can change greatly in presprouted seed compaired to fully dormant seed. For just a few animals it would probably be easy to handle, for a lot, forget it.

For those of us that have just a few animals, and don't have a way to crack the corn in quanities needed for our animals, soaking would be helpful, I have done it for my chickens, there are times when I can get whole corn or other grain very cheap, but blender sized batches to crack it would be a waste of time and power,

Soaked grain will fill the tummy faster than dry, it can also be helpful in freezing weather when it is hard to keep water available, the water in the grain helps keep the animal hydrated inbetween water checks, (ice dumped and warm water from in the house brought in) try eating a bowl full of dry cereal and wait an hour or two before you drink anything.

In my experience of soaking grain for myself to eat, it dosen't take any longer than over night to soften them up. Then pour off the water, rinse, pour off the water again and check the smell, I have had some things go strange over night in summer heat. The smell will tell, any thing that smells after rising twice should be earthworm food. Even sprouts are good food, as long as there is no spoilage.
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  #9  
Old 12/03/03, 01:46 PM
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I've now been giving whole kernel corn soaked for four days to a heifer I have separated as she was due to calf in September. I see no evidence of the corn in her manure. I just put about 2" or so in the bottom of a five-gallon plastic bucket and put in enough water to just cover the kernels. When I put it in the feed trough there is usually just a bit of seepage. Nice corny smell. Kernels are not soft, but can be chewed up fairly easily - and, yes, I experiment on myself. It must be an acquired taste. I would say soaking allows for nearly 100% utilization of whatever feed value is in the corn.

Ken S. in WC TN

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  #10  
Old 12/04/03, 12:26 PM
 
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Location: Oklahoma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Scharabok
I've now been giving whole kernel corn soaked for four days to a heifer I have separated as she was due to calf in September. I see no evidence of the corn in her manure. I just put about 2" or so in the bottom of a five-gallon plastic bucket and put in enough water to just cover the kernels. When I put it in the feed trough there is usually just a bit of seepage. Nice corny smell. Kernels are not soft, but can be chewed up fairly easily - and, yes, I experiment on myself. It must be an acquired taste. I would say soaking allows for nearly 100% utilization of whatever feed value is in the corn.

Ken S. in WC TN
There was an Arabian Ranch in Texas that fed their (verrrry expensive) show stock sprouted wheat? for hay. It was like a hydroponic system: pierced trays with X amt of seed, dipped/watered I forget how each day. they had a rack about 7 trays high--fed a rack per day and started a replacement at the bottom each day for the barn. Fed it by the pound, just took a knife and cut out a square of sprouts X by X (I forget) for each horse. Talk about space conservation! As you know, it would have an ungodly high protein count, fresh green sprouts about 4-6" high, very satisfying especially in the winter. Cheap wheat seed, just time and water invested. Racks were lighted w/flourescent bulbs and kept in barn they fed. LOL that was a looong time ago. I'll see what names/info I can find from way back then. they were one of the top Arabian breeders at the time-don't even know if they're still in business.... fell in love with a colt of theirs--$35,000.... :waa:
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  #11  
Old 12/04/03, 02:04 PM
 
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Belle, that is interesting. I just started a thread on Hydroponic Grass. I am mulling over the idea that with a few Dexter Cows, I could feed green stuff all year!! Wheat seems like a good idea, anyone know anything about sprouting Barley? I only know that you put pearl barley in soup! LOL and that's all I know about Barley, but was researching it last night-reads like a miracle food!!

Carol K

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  #12  
Old 12/04/03, 04:15 PM
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I always thought sprouted grains were high in energy not protein. Isn't barley malted to increase it's sugar content for brewing? As a grain barley is a terrific feed protein level (around 12%) energy and paletability wise but has a few draw backs. It can be a little harsh on the digestive system and can if fed in large amounts (according to Hendersons veterinary guide for sheep farmers) cause a selenium deficency. Dunno how true that is I feed barley as a preference as it makes a milder tasting meat with white fat, instead of yellow. I do buffer it with bicarb though. We've had some animals get acidosis on barley. I wonder if the work of sprouting it is easier than ensiling the green plant? It's sure an interesting idea, I'm just not sure it's cost effective. Could you not grow higher value plants with the same effort? Maybe not!!

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  #13  
Old 12/05/03, 08:07 PM
 
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i have used this methode off and on over the years ,i dont always have shell corn since i purchase most of my grain ,and my help tends to forget to refill and soak after feeding ....or to feed....... and complains that it makes the corn heavyer...... but as i point out less water is needed to water when you use soaked feed. 20 years ago i worked at a grain terminal spills were common acumulated in isolated pokets and became spoiled /sprouted and smelled horrid soybeans/corn/wheat i hauled it home by the truck load and fed hogs with it they were the only hogs i ever raised that realy grew ... and the feed was free lol

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