Producers looking for options to reduce feed costs may consider grazing corn stalks. Feed, which comprises over 50% of the annual production costs, is the largest expense of a cow/calf operation.
All Corn Content
Crop rotation has long been considered an important farm practice. In 2013 producers had to stray from their well thought out crop rotations when the winter wheat crop in South Dakota failed.
In 2007, researchers at South Dakota State University indicated that volunteer corn is much less competitive in corn than soybean. The South Dakota study (Alms et al. 2007) evaluated the full season effect of a range of volunteer corn densities (800-14,000 plants/acre) on both corn and soybean and reported yield losses that ranged from 0% to 13% in corn and 0% to 54% in soybean.
Many Midwest producers have limited options for their primary forage source this year and, must utilize ear-less corn stalks as silage for their in livestock feeding systems. Despite the lack of ears on stalks in some areas the resultant corn stover silage is still expected to contain 80% of expected level of energy under normal growing conditions.