Carrington Research Extension Center


| Share

Beef on Rye: Not Your Conventional Reuben!


In the fall of 2015, 30 acres of Rymin winter rye was planted at the CREC.  The objective was to harvest the rye for silage in the spring and feed it to yearling steers in a research trial evaluation comparing rye silage to corn silage.  As planned the rye was cut, wilted, chopped, and bagged for silage on June 16, 2016.  The rye yielded 3.5 tons/acre of dry matter and averaged 39% dry matter.  The bagged silage was allowed to cure for three weeks before feed-out began.  The corn silage was also grown at the CREC and was harvested in the fall of 2015 and stored in a bunker silo. 

The 97 day feeding trial utilized 71 head of Angus and Angus cross steers, from the Angus University Feed-out program, with an average initial weight of 990 lbs.  To fairly compare corn and rye silage, the amount of corn grain to forage in the corn silage was estimated to be approximately 50% forage and 50% corn.   The nutritional profile of both silages can be viewed in Table 1.   The silage and corn inclusion levels were adjusted in the rye and corn silage treatment diets to offset the amount of corn grain estimated in the corn silage.  The Rye silage and corn silage treatment diets were formulated to be similar in crude protein (14%) and energy (net energy for gain; 0.61 Mcal/lb; table 2).   




The rye silage and corn silage treatments resulted in similar final body weights (1490 lbs), dry matter intakes (29 lbs/hd/day), overall average daily gains (5.0 lbs/hd/day), and overall gain to feed (0.17 lbs gain/lb of feed; Table 3).  Rye and corn silage treatment diets also resulted in similar carcass characteristics (Table 4). 



This trial demonstrates rye silage is a forage source that can be effectively used in steer finishing diets with corn and modified distillers grains.  Winter rye is a crop that can fill the gap for forage needs between corn silage harvests.  Additionally, previous work at the CREC has documented the flexibility of winter rye for use in double cropping systems in North Dakota.   ( ). 

For additional information on winter rye:

For variety trial information:

Chanda Engel

Livestock Research Specialist


Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.