Animal Science, Department of


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Grabau, M. T., MacDonald, J. C., Carlson, Z. E., & Drewnoski, M. E. (2023). Impact of cattle grazing corn residue in spring on soil and subsequent soybean yield. Agronomy Journal, 1–9.


Open access.


The effects of spring corn (Zea mays) residue grazing and stocking density on soil physical properties and subsequent soybean (Glycine max) yield were evaluated in an experiment with three treatments: no grazing (NG), normal stocking density (NSD), and high stocking density (HSD). The study was conducted over 2 years with four replicates per treatment each year. Steers (277 ± 4.4 kg) were stocked at 7.5 steers/ha for NSD with a target grazing of 45 days starting in mid- February, and 22.5 steers/ha for HSD with a target grazing of 15 days in mid-March, such that the stocking rate was equal. Bulk density, penetration resistance, and surface roughness were measured pre- and post-planting. At 0-to-5- and 5-to-10-cm depths, bulk density and penetration resistance were greater (p < 0.01) for NSD than NG. There was no difference in bulk density (p ≥ 0.45) between grazed treatments. At 0–5 cm, penetration resistance was not different (p = 0.29) between grazed treatments. For 5–10 cm, penetration resistance was greater (p = 0.02) for HSD compared to NSD. Surface roughness was greater (p < 0.01) for NSD than NG, and greater (p < 0.01) for HSD than NSD. There was no difference (p ≥ 0.34) in soybean emergence among treatments. Soybean yield was less (p < 0.01) for NG than NSD, but did not differ (p = 0.06) between NSD and HSD. The results indicate that spring grazing may cause minor compaction without reducing subsequent soybean yield.