Using Corn

 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

  • Livestock producers can use corn as produce pasture to supplement perennial pasture or increase the carrying capacity.
  • Planting early maturing silage type corn varieties for use in late season grazing has tremendous potential as productivity is very high and the upright nature of the plant allows cattle to harvest the stand when the snow gets deep.
  • The successful production of corn is highly dependent on the availability of cold tolerant varieties, adequate heat units, fertility and weed control. All four aspects are critical for successful production.
  • Factors such as the location of fields, shelter, fencing and water need to be considered.
  • An emergency feed supply during severe winter weather may be necessary. Also, supplemental forage can extend the corn grazing period and enhance animal performance.
  • Do not be in a hurry to provide supplemental feed or cattle will become lazy and not graze.
  • Be aware that livestock expend more energy to harvest their own feed compared to animals being fed.
  • Strip grazing or moving cattle from field to field provides a more uniform nutrient intake. Utilization per acre is greater when fields are strip grazed versus whole-field grazed.
  • Whole-field grazing allows cattle to consume the best feed first and allows cows to gain weight early on with weight being maintained or lost after the best feed has been harvested. To keep cows gaining or maintaining weight using unsupplemented crop residue, move them to fresh fields to ensure adequate quality.
  • The use of electric fencing to control animal access will improve utilization of the crop, reduce trampling and wastage.
  • In years of heavy snowfall, cattle may have better access to standing corn compared to swathed crops under snow.
  • Costs per ton of corn grown need to be calculated before choosing this management option.

Fact Sheets

2002 Grazing Corn Report

AgriProfit$ - Corn Grazing - available in PDF format only

Annual Crops for Grazing

Annual Total Corn Heat Units (1971-2000) - Alberta - available in PDF format only

Evaluation of Grazing Corn Varieties to Extend Grazing Season and Reduce Winter Feed Costs in Western Canada

Evaluation of Low Heat Unit Corn Hybrids for Backgrounding Beef Calves

Grazing Cattle on Corn

Grazing Corn in Saskatchewan - Tips for Making it Work

Grazing Cover Crops: Toxicity considerations

Grazing Standing Corn - Reducing the Risk of Acidosis

Oats, Triticale and Corn Winter Grazing Comparison - available in PDF format only

Using Corn to Extend the Grazing Season - available in PDF format only

Using Growing Degree Days to Predict Plant Growth - available in PDF format only

Winter Grazing Standing Corn With Beef Cows - YouTube

Research Papers

Changes in kernal characteristics during grain fillng in silage-specific and dual-purpose corn hybrids - available in PDF format only

Influence of population density, row spacing and hybrid on forage corn yield and nutritive value in a cool-season environment - available in PDF format only

Potential of warm-season annual forages and Brassica crops for grazing: A Canadian Review - available in PDF format only

The suitability of cool- and warm- season annual cereal species for winter grazing in Saskatchewan - available in PDF format only

Winter weathering effects on corn grown for grazing in a short season area

Evaluation of Low Heat Unit Corn Hybrids Compared to Barley for Forage Yield and Quality on the Canadian Prairies - available in PDF format

Let us know of more good research papers for this topic.
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Linda Hunt.
This information published to the web on March 1, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on February 16, 2018.

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