Some Livestock Producers Replace Shelled Corn with Potatoes for Feed

With short feed supplies from the drought - livestock producers are turning to alternative forms of feed for their cattle - including potatoes. The Wisconsin potato crop wasn't significantly impacted by the drought because the lack of rainfall didn't really affect the crop - since most potato growers have their crops under irrigation pivots. The dry weather even helped control pests and disease. In fact - this year's U.S. potato crop is expected to be the largest in many years. University of Wisconsin Extension Ag Agent Ken Schroeder says there will be culling of some potatoes - and those culled potatoes have as much crude protein as shelled corn on a dry matter basis - which runs between 15 and 20-percent. That means it does take between 400 and 500 pounds of potatoes to equal 100 pounds of grain - on an energy basis.

Schroeder recommends producers feed potatoes as part of a total mixed ration for feedlot cattle along with forage, grain, minerals and vitamins slowly over a few weeks - beginning with three to four pounds as-fed per head each day - then increasing to 25 pounds per day for yearlings and 35 to 40 pounds for cows over 11-hundred pounds. Potatoes can be chopped, crushed or made into silage for cows - greatly reducing the risk of choking.

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