Don’t look over corn stover

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

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.


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