Corn residue an option for supplemental feed

corn stubble

WOOSTER, Ohio — Corn residue left over from harvesting can be a source of supplemental feed for livestock, according to a forage expert from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

This is especially true for producers who are facing lower hay crop inventories because of excessive rains during the beginning of the growing season this year, said Rory Lewandowski, agriculture and natural resources educator in Wayne County.

Grazing cows on harvested corn acres within the first 30 to 60 days after harvesting can be a way for producers to stretch their feed supplies.

“This was a tough forage year for many livestock producers,” Lewandowski said. “Many producers are finding that they didn’t get enough hay harvested with all the rain that impacted the crops during the earlier part of the growing season.”

Based on calculations by Rick Rasby, a beef specialist at the University of Nebraska, for every bushel of corn, there are about 45 pounds of residue on a dry matter basis. And for every bushel of corn there are about 16 pounds of husks and leaves on a dry matter basis, Lewandowski said.

Using those figures, a 170 bushels per acre corn crop will leave 7,650 pounds of dry matter of total residue, with the husks and leaves accounting for about 2,720 pounds of that total, Lewandowski calculates.

And typical harvest leaves about one bushel per acre of corn grain that the animals can graze, he added.

Cows in mid-gestation and ewes in the middle trimester or earlier of gestation typically do well with grazing corn residue, Lewandowski said.

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