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Grazing crop residues


Fri, Oct 21st, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Now that corn harvest is well underway, I have started to see beef cows grazing harvested corn fields. I started to say cornstalks, but 12% of the residue is husk, 27% is leaf, and 12% cob. So there is much more than just stalks, and I'm not counting any dropped ears of corn that are gleaned. Nutritionally, the leaf and husk both have high digestibility.

Iowa State University Beef Cattle data indicates that for each acre of corn stalks grazed, approximately ½ ton of hay will be saved. Crop residues are normally the least expensive feed source, because most expenses are charged against the row crop enterprise.

In the Midwest, corn crop residue will feed animals for an average of 65 to 111 days depending on weight gains needed to obtain the desired body condition. Low supplementation may be necessary in some cases.

Livestock select the residue with the highest digestibility first, so supplementation beyond trace minerals salt and vitamin A are not likely to be necessary the first month. As winter progresses and residue quality decreases, additional supplementation may be necessary.

Before grazing crop residue fields, it is important to check the labels of any pesticides used on the crop to see if they are cleared for grazing. Also, check the fencelines and waterways for poisonous plants.

Research conducted at several Midwestern universities show no difference in the performance of cattle that grazed Bt corn crop residue and those that grazed non-Bt corn crop residue. Research has also been conducted to determine if grazing crop residue has any affect on the yield the following year. Corn and soybeans have shown similar yields, particularly if grazed when soils are frozen.

Soybean stubble is low in quality and cannot provide adequate nutrition for beef cows or stockers. It should not be used as a feed source unless supplemented substantially.

The source of most of the information in this article came from two publications shared with me by Root River Grazing Specialist Dean Thomas. They are: "Extended Grazing and Reducing Stored Feed Needs", by Don Ball, Ed Ballard, Mark Kennedy, Garry Lacefield, and Dan Undersander; and "Improving and Sustaining Forage Production in Pastures," by Howard Moechnig. I have several free copies in both the Fillmore and Houston County Extension Offices or stop by the Fillmore SWCD Office and Dean will provide you with them.



64

Fillmore County pork wagon gets new look

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The Mensink family has been a big part of Fillmore County's pork production for many years. Craig Mensink of rural Preston has been farming on his land since 1977. His father raised pigs before that, and his grandfather bought the farm in 1945.
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Farm computer usage continues to climb

Fri, Oct 14th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

A recent report by the Agricultural Statistic Board reports that a total of 62 percent of U.S. farms now have Internet access, compared with 59 percent in 2009. Sixty-five percent of farms have access to a computer in 2011, up one percentage point f ..... 
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Mathison family to be honored as area finalist at State Soil and Water Conservation District Convention

Fri, Oct 7th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) has named Larry and Irene Mathison and Loren and Carrie Mathison as one of eight Area Finalists in the 2011 Outstanding Conservationist Award Program. The Mathisons will be ..... 
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Plan Your EAB Response

Fri, Oct 7th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

I believe most people in Southeast Minnesota are aware that Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed two new Emerald Ash Borer infestations. A beetle was found in a purple monitoring trap in Veterans Park in La Crescent, and another one was fou ..... 
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Become a Master Gardener- more than pulling weeds

Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Master Gardeners do love digging in the soil. But you may not realize the scope of their involvement in the community. Minnesota Master Gardeners assist University of Minnesota faculty with research projects and varietal trials, advice city official ..... 
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Compare your nitrogen sources by price

Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

This past week I came across the updated version of the Nutrient & Manure Management Tables, produced by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This jam-packed, one page, two-sided publication is loaded with v ..... 
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Compare your nitrogen sources by price

Fri, Sep 30th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

This past week I came across the updated version of the Nutrient & Manure Management Tables, produced by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This jam-packed, one page, two-sided publication is loaded with v ..... 
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Late-season drought brings soybean stress

Fri, Sep 16th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

The dry soil conditions experienced recently over much of Minnesota may limit soybean yields, according to Dave Nicolai, crops educator with University of Minnesota Extension.

"Some plants are ripening prematurely. Another symptom of moistur ..... 
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