Don’t look over corn stover
Lack of pasture and hay production in many parts of Ontario last year resulted in tight hay supplies for many cattle producers.
However, there are other options for feeding cattle, notes the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Do not overlook corn stover, the leaves and stalks of maize. For long term health, cattle should consume at least 0.5 per cent of their body weight per day as forage. For example, a 1,400-pound cow needs a minimum of 7.7 pounds of hay or 22 pounds of corn silage, along with the concentrate feeds required in their diet.
Grazing the corn stover left in the field after grain harvesting may be an option. This would require buying and installing temporary electric fencing, providing a water source and trucking cattle to and from the field. Strip grazing is the most effective way to utilize the stover.
Assuming that the grain harvest produced 120 bu/acre, strip grazing the stover should provide 60 cow days of grazing per acre.
Depending on the size of the cobs and harvest conditions, there may be a significant amount of grain left in the field. In order to minimize the risk of bloat, farmers are advised to make sure cows are full of feed before first being turned out onto the corn stover field, provide some familiar dry hay for the first couple of days, and keep a close eye on them.
HEAT WAS ON: