Winter has struck here in the U.S. and winter feeding programs are underway. With harvest behind us, many cornfields sit untouched, with cornstalk residue left behind. When fed properly, this residue can be a great feed resource.
Corn stalks are a low-cost and resourceful way to provide fiber, roughage, and energy to cows throughout the winter. Since cows are selective grazers, they will start first by consuming any leaves or husks remaining. Additionally, cattle will gravitate towards any grain left behind, as it tastes the best. Usually, very little grain can be found in the field after harvest, but if winds were high during harvest, higher concentrations of grain could be on the ground. While this usually isn’t an issue, it is good practice to evaluate what is left behind prior to turning cows out to make sure there isn’t enough remaining to cause bloat. Next, they will move on to the less palatable and less nutritive portions- the cobs and stalks.
Cattle can consume stalks covered in up to 6-inches of snow but are unable to break through if covered in ice. In situations such as this, cattle will need to be provided with hay to meet their nutritional demands. Additionally, stocking rates will determine how much supplementation may or may not be required.
Depending on the stage of production, the majority of energy requirements can be met through grazing corn stalks. Protein, however, is about 5.0-6.0% on average, so additional protein supplementation may be needed to meet requirements and enhance forage digestion.
Feeding a feed source you’ve already invested in, such as grazing stalks, is a very cost-efficient way of providing feed. The more nutrients cattle are able to take in with what you already have, the better off your pocketbook will be.
This concept was a key factor in the development of AgriGro’s product, NutriZyme®. NutriZyme® is a water and/or feed additive that helps boost digestion to maximize nutrient uptake. This additive positively affects ruminal microbial selection to enhance health, digestion, and subsequently performance in your animals. Place your AgriGro order today and give it a try!
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