Researchers conducted two experiments on a herd of Angus and Simmental cows at the Orr Research Center in Baylis, Ill., and discovered many ways producers can save money. The cows calved between January and March and were evaluated from calving until breeding.

The first experiment compared new co-products developed from improved fractionation processes. The study compared free-choice cornstalk residue with 14.3 pounds of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), free-choice cornstalk residue with 9.7 pounds of corn bran and 4.8 pounds of DDGS, free-choice cornstalk residue with 11.2 pounds of corn bran and 3.3 pounds of high-protein (HP) DDGS (a low-fat distillers grain with 40 percent or more crude protein content), and free-choice hay.

"We wanted to find the most economical way to feed cows in the winter without sacrificing performance," Shike said. "Our study revealed that producers could save about $1 a day per cow when feeding a combination of cornstalk residue and co-products as compared to hay."

Feeding methods and delivery systems formed the basis of the second experiment. Researchers compared free-choice cornstalk residue and 14.3 pounds of DDGS, a total mixed ration of 14.1 pounds of ground cornstalk residue and 14.3 pounds of DDGS, a total mixed ration of 9.9 pounds of ground cornstalk residue and 16.5 pounds of HP-DDGS, and free-choice hay.

"Again our goal wasn't to find performance differences in this study," Shike said. "We fed diets that should achieve similar performance results. In this experiment, we wanted to find the most economical delivery method within various herd sizes ranging from 50 to 350 cows."