News last update:6 Aug 2012

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 months.

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:
University of Illinois

Source: Agrinews

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