Q: How do I decide when to move or start feeding cows grazing corn stalks?

With the open winter in most of Nebraska one might think that cows can graze the same field that they were turn-out on in mid-October or so. This may or may not be true. The amount of residue left in the field for cattle to graze is dependent on the corn yield. I have attached a couple of resources for you that will help and illustrate this. Our data suggests, for spring calving cows stocked at recommended stocking rates based on corn yield, that we have not observed a response to supplementation (protein). These cows were supplemented mineral/vitamins. The cows in these trials ranged from 3-year-old and older. In addition, in these trials we moved cows to the calving pasture about 20 to 30 days before calving. Also, cows averaged a condition score of 5.0 (using the 1 to 9 BCS scale) at calving.

The cornstalk grazing calculator is based on corn yield and will give you an idea of the number of days an acre of reside will feed a cow of a specific weight. The calculator assumes that only half the reside is removed and the rest is left to enhance the organic matter of the soil. For 150 bu/acre corn yield an acre of corn residue will feed a 1200 pound cow about 45 days.



Source: Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska