Tips and guidelines for using crop residue for your cowherd
Kansas has an abundance of crop residue available for grazing in late fall and winter. However, the location of fields in relation to cattle, the lack of shelter or appropriate fencing, and water availability often prevent grazing of many fields. Despite these limitations, crop residue grazing has become an integral part of many cattle operations, primarily as a feed resource for maintaining the breeding herd during winter or putting weight on cull cows.
Weather can be the most important factor in successfully grazing crop residue. Snow cover can reduce or eliminate access to crop residue. Mud may make grazing difficult and may result in decreased performance and greater waste of forage due to trampling. Corn stalk fields grazed shortly after harvest are higher in nutrient content than fields grazed 60 days after harvest. This indicates that there is some weathering loss of nutrients. The greatest nutrient loss appears in the husk and leaf and the loss is primarily a loss in energy content.
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