Our Feeding Program
When it comes to producing great tasting beef, careful selection of feed ingredients is key. Following grazing on open pastures, cattle used to produce Ontario Corn Fed Beef are fed diets that are 80% corn and corn products for a minimum of 100 days at the end of the finishing period. Corn ingredients are most often sourced locally as more than 16,000 farmers in our province grow corn. The other 20% of the diet will typically consist of hay, silage, and grain and oilseed crops, such as barley, oats, wheat and soybeans. All feed ingredients must satisfy Canadian regulations as well as Ontario Corn Fed Beef (OCFB) composition requirements. Samples of feed along with feed labels and tags are retained by our farmers as required by the OCFB Quality Assurance Program.
Corn-Based Feed Ingredients
Corn is a grass where the seeds (kernels) and other parts of the plant including the leaves and husks can be used to feed cattle. Corn is naturally high in energy and gives Ontario Corn Fed Beef its rich, full flavour.
Corn is often incorporated into OCFB cattle diets as silage. Silage is made by cutting up the corn plant into small pieces and then letting it ferment for at least a month using naturally present bacteria. Corn is harvested for silage after the ear is well developed but while the leaves are still green to ensure maximum feeding value. When corn is used as kernels it is often made easier to digest by using processes such as rolling or grinding to open the kernel and by softening it with steam.
Balanced Animal Nutrition
A balanced diet or ration is one that has all the required nutrients in the right proportions and amounts. To achieve this balance farmers often work with specialists known as animal nutritionists. Nutritionists understand how the time of harvest and different growing conditions can influence a plants nutrient content. The nutritionist will also consider the animals requirement for protein, energy, fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. The age, weight and gender of the animal are also important to consider in order to achieve balanced nutrition.