Tips Winter Grazing Beef Cattle Corn

Posted September 28, 2018

Looking for a high quality and quantity feed choice for your beef cattle this winter? Corn is a great option. Read the following tips to learn more.

1. Hybrid selection

  • Choose a hybrid that is 150 to 300 CHU later than your corn heat unit area to reduce risk of acidosis and increase palatability
  • Seed multiple hybrids to cover an earlier or later season: Two or three hybrids spread over 100 to 200 CHU differences
  • Grazing corn should be at 30 to 50 percent milk line at first killing frost

2. Grazing management

Take a sample of the whole plant and have a feed test analysis completed.

  • Gradually introduce feed, especially for inexperienced cows
  • Full rumen entry recommended
  • Limit to small grazing paddocks (two to three hours of grazing) 
  • Separate less aggressive cattle
  • Graze the animals on a two to three-day rotation for proper nutrition
  • Provide a clean water supply and shelter
  • Ensure a proper mineral package based on the feed analysis
  • 10 to 20 percent feed residue is preferred to ensure adequate intake 
  • Document the crop stage at first killing frost and manage accordingly

3. Acres required

  • Expect between 150 to 300 cow-days per acre. For example, 100 cows grazing for 30 days will need: 100 cows x 30 days = 3,000 cow grazing days. Based on 100 cow-days per acre, you would require: 3,000 cow grazing days ÷ 100 cow-days per acre = 30 acres of corn

4. Fencing paddocks

  • Use electric fencing with a high-quality energizer to divide paddocks
  • Fence at least one paddock ahead of the cows for management ease
  • Cows will back graze the previous paddock to clean up residue

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