Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



J. Anim. Sci. 2015.93:4977–4983 doi:10.2527/jas2015-9259


© 2015 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved


This study investigated effects of stocking rate on cattle performance, quality and quantity of corn residue, and impact of residue removal on grain yield for 5 yr at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln West Central Water Resources Field Laboratory near Brule, NE. Four removal treatments—1) no removal (control), 2) grazing at 2.5 animal unit month (AUM)/ ha, 3) grazing at 5.0 AUM/ha, and 4) baling—were applied to a center pivot–irrigated corn field (53 ha). The field was divided into eight 6.6-ha paddocks to which replicated treatments were assigned. Samples of residue were collected in October and March (before and after residue removal) using ten 0.5-m2 quadrats per treatment replication. Residue was separated into 5 plant parts—stem, cob, leaf, husk, and grain—and analyzed for nutrient content. Esophageally fistulated cattle were used to measure diet quality. Cattle assigned to the 2.5 AUM/ha stocking rate treatment gained more BW (P < 0.01) and BCS (P < 0.01) than cattle assigned to the 5.0 AUM/ha treatment. Leaf contained the most (P < 0.01) CP and husk had the greatest (P < 0.01) in vitro OM disappearance (IVOMD) but the CP and IVOMD of individual plant parts did not differ (P > 0.69) between sampling dates. Amount of total residue was reduced (P < 0.05) by baling and both grazing treatments between October and March but was not different (P > 0.05) in control paddocks between sampling dates. As a proportion of the total residue, stem increased (P < 0.01) and husk decreased (P < 0.01) between October and March. Diet CP content was similar (P = 0.10) between sampling dates for the 2 grazing treatments but IVOMD was greater after grazing in the 2.5 AUM/ha grazing treatment (P = 0.04). Subsequent grain yields were not different (P = 0.16) across all 4 residue removal treatments. At the proper stocking rate, corn residue grazing results in acceptable animal performance without negatively impacting subsequent corn grain production.