Baled corn stalks – really?

Corn stalks are pretty low on the feed nutrition scale, but where there is a will there is a way

By Lee Hart

I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone feeding baled corn stalks to cattle in winter. Grazing standing corn, yes. Turning cattle into clean up standing corn stover after cobs have been harvested, yes. But actually cutting and baling stover after the combine has gone through, that is new one to me.

Grainews livestock nutrition columnist Peter Vitti, in a column for our upcoming November 3 issue, talks about the pros and cons of feeding baled corn stalks. I get the impression, from a nutritional standpoint, that feeding baled corn stalks is sort of one notch above feeding a block of wood to cattle. The stalks have few leaves and there obviously there are no cobs left so there really isn’t much there other than a fibrous stalk.

By contrast if you turn cows into standing stover there is actually a fair bit of nutritional crop residue (including leaves and cobs on the ground) that cattle will eat.

In any event if you do happen have baled corn stalks — baling it works in your farm operation — Vitti says there is a way to adjust the ration so the baled corn stalks can be used as a feed filler and carry cattle through part of the winter.

So that’s just the teaser. Read all about it in the November 3, 2020 Grainews. And while you’re there, Bruce Derksen, a retired feedlot penchecker from Lacombe, AB shares thoughts on how to decide whether to background calves.

What else is coming in November? According to market analyst Jerry Klassen prices will get better in beef markets, especially once a COVID-19 vaccine is found and gets the world back into restaurants — increases demand. In the very short term expect this fall calf prices to be down through November.

And on that note, Rancher Diary columnist Heather Smith Thomas sold their calves in October— prices weren’t too bad Idaho. And in Saskatchewan, Heather Eppich and family got the combining done, but you can read and see what happens when moose and horses come up against fences.

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]

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Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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