Some animal operations are interested in corn stover as a feed leading many crop producers to ask - what is the nutrient value of my corn stover?

From a pure fertilizer value, corn stover contains a little phosphorus (P2O5) and moderate amounts of nitrogen (N) and potassium (K2O). The actual amounts of N, P2O5, and K2O contained in a ton of corn stover are 16, 6, and 25 pounds, respectively. A 160 bushel per acre corn crop will produce 4.5 tons of stover per acre removing 72 pounds of N, 25 pounds of P2O5, and 113 pounds of K2O. Thus stover does have some fertilizer value especially with regard to potassium that may require some additional fertilizer input in subsequent years, but soil testing should be conducted to validate the need for additional nutrients.

Corn stover also contains organic matter that when returned to the soil does have value, but it is difficult to put a dollar value on it. Continued removal of the above ground stover may have negative repercussions in the long-run in the form of decreased soil organic matter, especially if some organic residue is not returned to the soil.

Source: Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension Fertility Specialist