Keys for Successful Corn Stalk/Corn Residue Grazing

  Thanks to Brad Schick, Nebraska Extension Educator and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln BEEFWatch newsletter for this great article! Having corn stalks to graze is a great resource for livestock producers. For dry cows, it is a relatively inexpensive feed that can typically meet, or come very close to meeting nutritional needs. Grazing can also be an inexpensive way to clean up a corn field too, geting rid of corn remaining in the field and reducing volunteer corn the following year. But are cattle really grazing stalks? Yes and no. In everyday conversation, grazing corn stalks is what we call it, but the stalk is the last thing cattle eat. Cattle do eat stalks, particularly if they are left on a field too long, but they are primarily consuming leaf, husk, and leftover corn. The stem or stalk makes up about 48.5% of the residue, while the leaf blade and husk make up 39.6%. Cattle will consume leaf and husk if available. That diet will consist of 52 to 55% TDN (total digestible nutrients) and 5 to 5.5% crude protein. How Much Feed Is Out There? When thinking about how long to graze corn residue, the calculation to use is for every bushel of corn produced, there is 16 lbs of

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2 thoughts on “Keys for Successful Corn Stalk/Corn Residue Grazing

  1. I grazed corn stalks/stover for first time last year, I wondered for most of first 2 weeks, giving new area each day, then all of lye sudden the cows figured it out. They visibly increased the amount of leaves and husks they were eating, more exciting was to see them searching row by row for dropped ears. They advanced across the field like across a fresh pasture as I moved the poly wire, and stayed out until late December when it was wet enough to bring them off. Like winter grazing a back wire was not needed.

  2. What was old, is new. I cannot remember the agronomist who said that, but she was on point. Post harvest grazing was common around the world. It wipes out a lot of weeds, crushes insect pests weathering winter in stalks, and fertilizes fields. Follow with hogs and forget bindweed and other problems. Rye and clover, as well as other covers follow the hogs and you’re set to stop erosion and create a very soft soil for tilling, or more graze, or a heavy mulch if no-till.

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