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Corn Stalks: Winter Grazing And 4 Important Costs Involved


Corn Stalks

Corn Stalks

A 15-year study by the University of Nebraska has shown that grazing corn stalks in the fall do not reduce subsequent soybean and corn plants’ yield.

For winter grazing, “said Bruce Anderson, feed specialist at UNL

cornstalks can save a dollar per day per cow compared to feeding expensive hay. 

The cost of grazing cornstalks is lower for the pasture cows because they harvest their fodder.

And the cost of producing the crops for cereal production is attributed to the production of row crops. 

Because many farmers already have a makeshift fence, Anderson says, livestock can cut grazing corn stalks into the ground to feed high-priced hay. 

Grazing corn He said that stalks are an essential part of grass feeds, which are valued because they are more affordable and more efficient than other feeds, such as hay from other crops.

Costs & Expenses of Corn Stalks

Therefore, the costs must be taken into account and affect the amount you can pay for cornstalks.

There is a fixed price for the rent of corn stalk, which is the basis for pricing, but grazing on the spot is not shared, and therefore one has to develop one’s own pricing.

Last ten years, I have been farming in Nebraska and was able to strike enough bales to cover the need for two heifers per lot easily.

About 1 hectare of corn stalks is needed to feed a cow for 30 days, or 1,000 pounds of hay per cow.

About 1 hectare of stalks must be fed to cows for 30 days, and about 1 hectare of corn stalks is needed for another 1 / 2 hectare for cows.

When there is so much maize, it is essential to keep a close eye on any cattle that graze on the cornstalks.

In years with a lot of corn cultivation and high humidity, you should also keep a close eye on all animals grazing on stalks.

Government Predictions

The government projects a 4 to 6 percent increase in on-farm expenses for this year. This is in line with inflation expectations.

However, if you’re a Midwest corn farmer, the national average is not important because you can plant more acres and seed prices are up 10 to 15%, fertilizer costs are 9 to 10 percent higher than in 1988, and chemical prices are rising after years of decline.

Due to last year’s drought, corn farmers have less grain than they usually do to sell to finance their new crop. Therefore, interest costs will rise, and demand for farm operating loans may be higher.

Ernie Chappel, president of First Bank of Fayette Country in Vandalia, said that “our farm customers will need more this year.” “A farmer will likely need at least $45,000 if he needed $40,000 to run his operations last year.”

This is more than 12 percent of an increase. It’s not a small amount for a sector trying to overcome the effects the drought has had on its farm operations.

This spring, there will be less money from the government to pay operating expenses. The Department of Agriculture pays farmers for the difference between a target and a national average price on program corn stalks crops under price support programs. A portion of the payment is made upfront when a farmer registers for the program.

The 1988 program for corn farmers who enrolled received 44 cents per bushel in advance deficiency payment. Due to the drought, supplies were reduced, and market prices rose.

Target Prices

The target price for this year has been decreased. The corn stalks program will pay 35.6 cents per bushel to farmers who sign up now.

The main driver of higher production corn stalks costs is the fact that more acres are being planted. Due to the drought and strong export demand, a surplus of feed grains has been reduced quickly.

The Department of Agriculture increased supply by reducing the amount of land that farmers must leave uncultivated to participate in support programs. The set-aside requirement for corn and other feed grains was reduced to 10% from 20% in 1988.

The estimates of how many acres of corn will be planted this spring range from 8 to 10 million, which is a significant increase from last year’s 67.5 million.

According to Royce Hinton (professor of farm management at the University of Illinois), figuring corn seed cost requires some “windage.”

Based on farm records and a yield of 135 bushels per acre on land rotation from soybeans, Hinton calculates that central Illinois farmers will pay $21 for corn seed this spring. This is an increment from $17 last year.

He explained that some farmers could see a larger percentage increase because seed companies will not be offering discounts as large as they did in the past for volume or cash payments.

The seed is sold in 80,000-kernel bags, which are enough to plant 3.4 acres.
Hinton stated that the list price for last year was $60 per bag. However, I know of farmers who paid $45 to $48 due to discounting. “Now the list price for a bag is $67-$74, but there aren’t as many discounts.”

Last summer’s drought resulted in a decrease in seed production, which forced seed companies to turn to South America for winter crops. Stockpiles from previous years will also be used to meet demand.

Hinton pointed out that the cost of seed for farmers could be decreased if they chose a second or third choice, as top-selling varieties don’t have the highest yielding.
Due to last year’s drought, chemicals may be a high variable cost.

Due to increased planted acres and 5-10% increases in fertilizer prices, both seed and fertilizer costs could rise by 16-20 percent.

Fuel and pesticide costs are expected to rise by 10 to 15% due to the increased number of acres being planted. While fuel prices could remain flat, agricultural chemical prices could rise by 5-10 percent.

In the light of increased interest expenses for the second year consecutively, it will not exceed 5%. This is due to near-stable interest rates and a small increase in farm debt.

A survey of 247 lenders in agriculture, including commercial banks, found that 48% expected greater demand for corn stalks crop production loans. Only 44% thought demand would remain the same as in 1988.

Nearly 68 percent of lenders in drought-prone areas expected crop production loans to rise, while 28% expected the volume to remain the same.

In areas where drought did not have an effect, 32 percent of lenders forecast greater loan demand.


A standard Vermeer Super M baler will bale corn stalks, but some unique designs for corn stalks are designed for custom operators who want to produce more in less time.

An Excel table helps you determine the specific corn yield required for a certain number of cows instead of remembering an equation.

Luckily, a tool from the University of Nebraska can assist. Called the “Corn Stalk Grazing Calculator,” One can download this Excel spreadsheet from:

The scenario goes like this. I do have 25 cows, weighing around 1,400 lbs each. And my neighbor has a 40-acre cornfield. He thinks of leasing to me. 

How many days of pasturing will these 40 ar of corn stalks provide? The spreadsheet will require few inputs:

  • Corn yield. This directly influences the number of leftovers at hand. I used 125 bu/acre.
  • Stalk harvest efficiency. The proposal is 50 %.
  • Nutritional value of leftover. I used the figures in Table 1 of this article.
  • Transport and management trip to observe the livestock. The livestock was near the neighbor, and the cost of freight and time to visit would be minimal.

Using this calculator, we can see that 40 acres could support 25 cows for 45 days.

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