calcium hydroxide-treated stover, Second Crop, receiving and growing diet, performance


Production of ethanol from corn as an alternative fuel source has significantly affected the pricing landscape for corn as an energy source for livestock. As ethanol usage has become more prevalent, corn prices have become more volatile, especially in critical corn-growing areas that have been affected by drought. Consequently, many beef cattle feeders have become interested in alternative energy sources in an effort to control cost of gain. Second Crop (ADM Corp., Decatur, IL) is a process in which calcium hydroxide is added to fibrous crop residues, such as wheat straw and corn stover. When applied to low-quality roughages, calcium hydroxide disrupts the chemical bonds between lignin and hemicellulose, thus improving digestibility of the fiber by ruminal microbes. Treatment of low-quality forage with the Second Crop process could improve the energy value of forages, effectively decreasing reliance on cereal grains as sources of supplemental energy.