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Utilizing corn stalk bales in cattle nutrition
Kansas Ag Connection - 11/15/2023

The Kansas State University Beef Cattle Institute's beef cattle nutritionist, Phillip Lancaster, recently addressed the growing use of corn stalk bales as a feed resource on the Cattle Chat podcast. This alternative has gained attention due to hay shortages and reduced pasture availability for fall grazing.

Lancaster explained that while grazing on harvested corn fields can offer nutritional value to cattle, baling the stalks post-harvest results in a feed that is less palatable and more lignified, leading to higher wastage. He emphasized that when feeding cattle with corn stalk bales, producers should expect increased consumption of indigestible stalks compared to normal grazing.

To address the nutritional shortcomings of corn stalk bales, Lancaster advised that cattle, especially those entering their third trimester, should be supplemented with both protein and energy. This supplementation is crucial to meet their heightened maintenance requirements in winter.

Lancaster highlighted a potential health risk associated with bales made from failed corn crops. If nitrogen fertilizer was applied to the crops and the crops failed, the remaining plant material might contain high levels of nitrogen. In such cases, testing the bales for nitrates is essential to ensure cattle safety.

This discussion by Lancaster provides valuable insights for producers looking to adapt to feed resource challenges, offering practical solutions to maintain cattle health and nutrition effectively.

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