Feeding cornstalks to beef cattle
Leftover corn residue makes an excellent feed supplement for beef cows,
according to Dan Faulkner from the University of Illinois, speaking at a beef
field day at the U of I Dixon Springs Agricultural Center.
"It makes really nice feed, especially when combined
with co-products", Faulkner said. However, according to U of I agronomist
Emerson Nafziger who is involved in some preliminary studies on the practice,
more studies are necessary to determine if removing more residue can lead to
increased yields. One thing is certain: Using corn residue as cattle feed is a
bargain. Faulkner said that one acre can supply a cow for two
Removing the stalks translates to about $30 per ton, but he noted
that that cost is based on custom harvest rates. Producers who harvest their own
save considerably more. And those with fenced-in fields can utilize the
nutrient-rich material virtually free by grazing it.
While the benefits
of leaving some corn residue are many, Faulkner and Emerson both stress that
whether the fields are harvested or grazed, not all will be removed. Cattle will
quit grazing when the material becomes excessively dry. "Even if you try to bale
it you don't take all of it," Faulkner said.Related website:
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