Corn stalks extend grazing season for cows
In an effort to cut down on expenses of maintaining a cowherd, David Rziha of Tampa has been grazing his cows on corn stalks since November.
Throughout the past three cold spells, even when snow covered the ground and temperatures hovered at 10 degrees or so, cattle could be seen roaming around and eating residue left in harvested fields west of Lincolnville.
Using electric fencing to keep them in, Rziha pays Svitak Hay Farms a daily fee per cow to keep 84 cows on its fields.
The stalks look dried up, unpalatable, and devoid of nutrition, but Rziha said he adds to the cows’ mineral a product called Biuret, a derivative of urea, which they consume every day to make protein. The protein gives them the appetite to go out and eat the stalks.
Rziha plans to keep the cattle out on the fields as long as they continue eating the stalks. He watches the condition of their hair coats and if they look full. He expects eventually to bring them into a smaller area and start feeding hay. They will start calving in mid-April.
“With the price of equipment, it’s expensive to make hay in this modern economy, so we have to find ways to be more efficient,” Rziha explained. “I don’t know if we have figured it out, but we have to try.”
Last modified Jan. 24, 2018