Nutrient levels in corn silage can vary considerably depending on the varieties used, growing conditions, stage at which it is harvested and storage conditions. Cattle feeders who use silage in finishing rations can benefit from using nutrient analysis to determine ideal feeding levels.

University of Nebraska Extension specialists note that corn silage usually contains 7.5 to 9 percent crude protein on a dry matter basis. Immature and drought damaged corn are usually higher in protein content, up to 11 percent or 12 percent. Low yields tend to be associated with above average protein content and high yields with below average protein.

For high grain finishing rations, they suggest a minimum of approximately 10 percent silage dry matter in the ration. The ration should contain about 11.5 percent protein, 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent calcium and 0.3 percent phosphorus. After the cattle are well adjusted to the finishing ration and weigh over 800 to 850 pounds, the protein level can be reduced to 10.5 percent.