Corn is an attractive crop for cattle producers — as silage and as an extended or winter grazing option. But corn is also mighty pricey to grow, and can require new equipment to get it in the ground. Does grazing corn really pay?
To find out, Shaun Haney met with Dr. Bart Lardner, with the University of Saskatchewan and the Western Beef Development Centre, to talk the benefits of grazing corn, how to manage for rumen upset, and how best to get this crop started.
As Lardner explains in the Beef School episode below, corn is a fantastic grazing source that either meets or exceeds a cow’s nutritional needs even into the third trimester of pregnancy — it’s that good — but the trick is in limit feeding livestock so they don’t gorge themselves on cobs, leading to acidosis and wasted feed.
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Lardner also covers some key points for anyone thinking of trying grazing corn, such as starting small, and making sure you’ve done your homework ahead of variety selection, as it’s incredibly important that the corn doesn’t get over-mature before a killing frost.
From there, Lardner and Haney discuss residue management in the spring, whether or not you’ll need to supplement with fibre to reduce rumen problems, and why you may want to blend varieties with two different maturity ratings when it’s time to plant.