Cows and Cornstalks

Cows and cornstalks

With drought and derecho, learn how to protect your pregnant cows from overload in downed corn.

By Lee Arnold, Landus Livestock Production Specialist 

Corn stalks usually provide one of the most economical grazing opportunities for the cow-calf producer, but this year is different. With the ongoing drought and August's derecho, we have seen the whole corn plant's early death. In drought situations, we can have nitrate concerns in the stalk, but surprisingly, tests have been relatively low. As for the storm, it caused everything to blow down or "snap." Stalks lying on the ground will eventually mold, causing toxin concerns. You also have the problem of down corn and pregnant cows overloading, leading to abortions or cow mortality. 

When putting cows out on stalks, concerns would be molds, mycotoxins, and too much down corn. There are limited options for dealing with downed corn grazing. Strip grazing, though laborious, and putting feeder calves out on stalks, have shown some benefits for grazing down corn, but there is no magic bullet.

I am happy to sit down (or visit on the phone) to develop a plan together before turning out cattle into these cornfields. We'll consider several options to supplement cows' nutrition, balance rations, and diets, maximize potential use, and minimize problems associated with this year's challenges. 

The Landus feed team is here to help, and we understand first hand what our producers are faced with because, like me, most of us run our own livestock operations. Give me a call 712-830-9290.

Listen to Lee Arnold discussion corn stalks and cattle on last week's Bull Bear Banter podcast.