Date of this Version
Published in 2013 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report.
Corn residue is used for forage and feed, but residue removal effects on soil properties and yield is a concern. Residue removal effects on corn yields and soil organic carbon is site specific. Removing 50% of the residue from rain fed sites reduced corn yield by 1.9 bu/ac, whereas removing 40% of the residue from irrigated sites increased corn yield by 15.4 bu/ac. However, removing 53% of the residue increased soil erosion by 30%. Agronomic practices such as reduced tillage, cover crops, or manure may offset residue removal impacts. Residue removal should be based on site-specific characteristics and management, but is feasible when sufficient residue is retained to protect soil from erosion and sustain soil biota.