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Corn Stalk Hay for cattle?

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shiloh

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I have the power to get a hold of some baled cornstalk for a fair price. I also already have some very good alfalfa bales that I have been feeding. But since the cornstalk is cheaper, i'm thinking about going to that for my cows. Would anybody recommend it? And I won't be feeding that as their only roughage. I am thinking about doing 1/2 alfalfa and 1/2 cornstalk. What do you think?
And would it be worth it to go ahead and feed my feeder steers alfalfa for the protein so they'll grow faster(i'm also doing grain)rather than the corn stalk.
I could just use the corn stalk as a 'maintainer' once the grown cows are at the place I want them to be. One of the main worries will be nitrates I know, but it has already been tested low for nitrates.
 

Faster horses

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I know nothing about feeding corn stalks, but spending the money
to get a forage analysis on both the corn stalks and the alfalfa will
tell you what nutrients they contain and how much to feed of each,
or if it will work to do it that way.
Sure saves a lot of guessing and then not have things turn out as
you hoped.

Talk to your county agent or your mineral supplier. They should be
able to help you get a sample to send in. We send ours to Stearns Labs,
not expensive ($12/sample I think) and fast turnaround. If you
want the address, just PM me.

Hope this helps!
 

leanin' H

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Corn stalks work to fill up a cow but usually from my experience doesn't have a lot of feed value. I would also recommend getting it tested. I have heard of a guy who baled stalks right after he cut the corn for grain. He then chopped it and mixed wet ethanol by-product with it and put it up like silage. It had really suprising numbers for TDN and protein. The other trouble with feeding stalks is getting the cows to eat it. Some guys spray soy sauce or syrup on it deluited with water. :D I have used it as bedding during tough winters and the cows will pick through what i spread out, but they don't get fat doing it. Good luck with whatever ya decide. :D
 

Larrry

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Corn stalks alone won't generally do it. Mixing with hay is an option, just like the distillers grain mixed in The analysis is the tool to use. One thing to watch for is if the corn stalks have dirt in them. I have seen some pretty dirty when guys try to get every stalk they can. Also try to get some with lotsa leaves.
 

loomixguy

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Call Dave Harrington @ H & H Feeds in Guymon, if he's close to you.
Better figure on grinding & mixing with something, too. Putting out the first half of my username would help a bunch as well. :wink: Get the tests, run the rations, and decide what works for you.
 

eatbeef

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Corn stalks are junk unless you are going to be feeding wet cake or silage to get rid of the dust. Usually they are full of dirt. Find out how they were put up. If they were raked into windrows dont buy no matter how cheap, they will have some root balls in the bales and alot of dirt. If they were windrowed with a swather or with a flail shredder they will be better. Sometimes least cost ration isnt always the cheapest in the big picture.
 

3 M L & C

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Condition of the bales is worth a lot. How much dirt is mixed in I mean. How much of the bale is leaves and the top of the plant or if they cut it at the ground. The newer corn varieties that are corn born resistant can have a baseball bat for a stalk down low. Even the best corn bale you will have a hard time getting cows to eat unless ground up and mixed with something else. There is a lot of irrigated corn where I live and an ethonal plant only 20 miles away so people bale stalks a lot around here and mix with wet distillers. But I don't know anyone who tries to feed without being ground.
 

Galloway2

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We feed alot of cornstalk bales. We run a flail stalk chopper and then rake with a V rake. We feed them by just setting the bale out, or in a ring feeder. The cows love em. They will leave a few stalks, but that is about it.

When we graze cornstalks, the field looks like you chopped in when done. The cows eat the stalks right down to the ground.
 

jigs

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find out if it is BT corn...those stalks are pure junk. I gave up running cows on BT fields in the fall, just nothing there for them... the stalks are there 3 years later so how can that be good for a cows belly
 

JDBalerman

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"And would it be worth it to go ahead and feed my feeder steers alfalfa for the protein so they'll grow faster(i'm also doing grain)rather than the corn stalk"

Be careful mixing good alfalfa hay and grain. Be ready for bloat. It can be a deadly combination.
JDB
 

3 M L & C

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Different corn varieties have different stalk qualities. Not all BT corn is bad grazing. We have been planting bt corn as long as its been out, probably close to 20 years. And only reacently has anyone really saw certain stuff that is "junk" for grazing. Some of the problems with grazing certain varieties is it might be a triple stack corn that is resistant to corn bore and root worm. The corn is bred to plant in a corn field from a previous year and stand till dry. The farms are getting bigger and farmers are selecting hybrids that will stand up in the field until they can get to them. Seed companies know this and are breeding plants acordingly. My point I guess is every field of corn is different and thus every stalk bale is different as well.
 

Denny

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The quality will vary depending on the age and condition of the combine that harvested it. I fed some 15 years ago that was chuck full of ears with corn on them.
 

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